Garrison Lassiter–who hit below a .250 in High-A ball–says the Yankees kept him out of the major leagues to protect Derek Jeter’s career.
It’s an unusual lawsuit: driven by conspiracy-laden language, failed Yankees prospect Garrison Lassiter is suing the team for ruining his career.
According to NJ.com, Lassiter never played baseball above High-A. He landed five home runs across five minor-league seasons, batting just below a .250.
But Lassiter’s lawsuit has less to say about his own performance than the Yankees’ nefarious motives. Indeed, Lassiter’s complaint states that the real reason the Yankees kept him out was “to protect the career of Derek Jeter.”
The original suit, writes NJ.com, was filed in a North Carolina court in 2018 and dismissed last summer. Lassiter’s filing was 79 pages long, its claims supplemented by newspaper clippings and letters penned to MLB executives.
“Its [sic] blatantly obvious that Mr. Derek Jeter controlled the entire Yankees Organization,” Lassiter wrote in a 2018 letter, sent to Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “You’re an intelligent man. You graduated from Cornell. Why can an athlete like myself not play?”
Lassiter continued, paradoxically telling Daniels that he didn’t wish to play for a team which prized Jeter’s performance above his.
“I’ll never play for the New York Yankees,” Lassiter added. “I’m not interested in a Team that doesn’t understand the importance of giving respect to the Players that help the Organization win. These are the facts big dawg.”
The New York Post notes that Lassiter’s lawsuit doesn’t name Jeter—who retired two years before Lassiter was cut loose by the Yankees minor-league affiliate—as a defendant. This is despite Lassiter filing the lawsuit himself.
It seems, though, that Lassiter’s post-baseball career goals didn’t go according to plan, either. In a person statement attached to the suit, Lassiter mentions that he’d attended the Massachusetts School of Law before falling on “hard times.”
“Many nights I’ve slept in my Car and I’m put in a situation I do not like,” he wrote. “Without a Home and no Money to pay my bills, up to this point I have Educated myself by attending Law School, Earning a Masters Degree and an undergraduate specialization in Sports Administration.”
The Post observes that “Lassiter’s lack of legal experience shows in a convoluted detailing of the damages, which makes unclear exactly how much he was seeking.”
For instance, Lassiter requested $35 million in damages—both for the income he lost as a major league player, not only I baseball but in football and basketball, too.
Mark Newman, who ran the Yankees’ “farm” system through 2015, told NJ.com there’s a simple explanation for why Lassiter never played big-time ball or earned big-time bucks.
“Things didn’t work out,” Newman said. “Baseball’s a hard game. Professional baseball’s really hard. That was it.
“You look at his performance,” Newman said, “and Baseball Reference answers your questions.”