Culture / Sporting Life

Jeremy Peña Overwhelmed by Marriage Proposals, Called ‘The Next Derek Jeter’ by National TV Voice — The Astros’ Young Star Is Already Houston’s Most Popular Athlete

From Carlos Correa Replacement to World Series MVP to Raising Cane's Drive-Thru Worker

BY // 11.13.22

Maybe the most striking thing about the Houston Astros’ victory parade — besides the sheer number of Houstonians who turned out — is the amount of marriage proposals rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña received. Dozens and dozens of women (maybe hundreds of women) held up signs asking Peña to marry them. Or at least go on a date with them.

Peña’s teammates could not help but notice. A number of them commented on it, having fun with the mania over the charismatic 25-year-old World Series MVP with the baby face. (Who already happens to have a girlfriend.)

“I saw like probably a 100,000 signs that said ‘Marry me Peña.’ So that thing was unreal,” Astros outfielder Mauricio Dubon says.

It turns out that all of Jeremy Peña’s would be suitors aren’t the only ones smitten.

MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds is anointing the Astros’ young star as baseball’s next matinee idol, comparing him to one of the most famous New York Yankees and New York bachelors ever.

“He’s The Next Derek Jeter in the game folks,” Reynolds says of Peña on air. “. . . Good looking. Young. Talented. Those are the kind of guys you put on a billboard.

“He’s a billboard player.”

Jeremy Peña being dubbed The Next Derek Jeter by a former Major League Baseball all-star turned TV commentator is just another indication of how spectacular this rookie’s rise has been. And how crazy popular he is now. There is no bigger breakout star from this just completed 2022 MLB season than the young shortstop who started the year as one of the Astros’ biggest question marks.

From everyone wondering how Peña can possibly fill the cleats of departed all-world shortstop Carlos Correa to the first rookie position player to ever win World Series MVP. But in many ways, it’s even more than just the baseball with Jeremy Peña. It’s about the charm, the shrug swagger that somehow never seems to even edge the border of obnoxiousness, the heart sign he flashes for his mom after getting a hit. . . and yes, the good looks.

Jeremy Peña has reached a level of crossover celebrity that Carlos Correa never seemed to reach by being himself. And staying so preternaturally polished.

Like Derek Jeter.

I first compared Peña to Jeter in a PaperCity article on May 4. But I made the comparison based on the Houston rookie’s remarkable grace and awareness, his way of dealing with the media and turning questions about himself into praise for his teammates. Skills that Jeter always showed under the fishbowl spotlight of the New York market. Harold Reynolds goes much further.

Reynolds is declaring Peña to be baseball’s next marquee crossover star, a Derek Jeter for a new generation. And it’s hard to argue with the MLB Network analyst’s reasoning right about now.

The Houston Astros celebrated their World Series Championship with a parade in downtown Houston, after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games
No Houston Astro is more popular than rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)

How quickly has Jeremy Peña become the biggest sports star in Houston?

It’s to the point where a planned Peña appearance at a local Raising Cane’s is creating near BTS  level bonkers buzz. Peña will be working the drive-thru at the Raising Cane’s located at 7009 Gulf Freeway this Monday, November 14 at noon,

Which pretty much guarantees lines of cars the likes you’ve never seen before. Anywhere Jeremy Peña goes these days in Houston can turn into a mad house.

“He’s The Next Derek Jeter in the game folks. . . . Good looking. Young. Talented. Those are the kind of guys you put on a billboard.” — MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds

It’s one of the more meteoric rises in sports you’ll ever see. That’s what winning the American League Championship Series MVP and the World Series MVP back-to-back as a rookie — and doing it with some seriously endearing charm — can do.

Harold Reynolds is all in. And he has plenty of company in Houston.