KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Nine years ago, Dexter and Jessica Rauch fell in love with a house on Cumberland Street just outside of Kalamazoo — and that was before they found out it had a claim to fame.
“Once I put in the offer, they came out to do the inspection,” Jessica Rauch recalled. “(The inspector) was like, ‘What room was Derek’s?’ I was like, ‘I have no idea. Nobody lives here.’ There’s no furniture. I don’t know whose room (was whose). I was like, ‘Who’s Derek?’ He was like, ‘Well, Derek Jeter grew up here.’ I was like, ‘What?!'”
She and her husband, avid sports fans, were baffled that was the first they had heard of it.
“Why wouldn’t you publicize that while you’re selling it?” Jessica Rauch wondered.
“That could’ve sold the house automatically!” Dexter Rauch added.
Since then, they’ve had two children and are expecting a third. The house is their home and filled with their memories, but they still remember what it means to others. They fly a New York Yankees banner in the yard.
“To have a piece of someone who’s so legendary, it’s awesome,” Dexter Rauch said.
The house has become a sort of tourist destination for fans of the Yankees legend who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. The Rauches always offer a warm welcome.
“In the summer, we get a lot of people that drive by to see the house. There was a dumpster in our front yard,” Jessica Rauch said. “These guys were like, ‘We drove all the way from Canada on our way through to go to New York. We want to stop and see the house.’ We felt so bad because it looked horrible with the dumpster in the yard. We were all on the roof, reroofing, but, I mean, we don’t get tired of it at all. We’re more than happy to come look at the backyard if you want.”
“That’s what you get a lot of. People are like ‘Hey, can we see where he jumped the fence?'” Dexter Rauch added, saying he tells them, “‘Absolutely. Come on!'”
The Rauches say they’ll probably eventually sell the house. But for as long as they live there, they say Derek is welcome home anytime.