Purple Pennings with Emily Iannaconi
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 21:02
On February 12, 2014, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that the 2014 season will be his last in professional baseball.
I say this professionally, as a reporter would, but in actuality I could not believe the news. I knew that Jeter was old as far as baseball players go, and that it was only a matter of time until he retired, but I do not think that I am alone in saying that Jeter was a good thing that no one wanted to see end. I wanted my kids to be able to watch Number 2 out there at shortstop. He was and will always be one of the most respected players of the game, something I think that even all of you Boston fans can agree with.
Jeter, not wanting to direct more attention to himself than necessary, posted a fourteen paragraph statement on his official Facebook page, announcing his retirement. At 39 years old, Jeter says that he wants to “finally stop the chase and take in the world.” Having won 7 pennants, 5 World Series, and been selected to 13 All-Star games, Jeter has had his fair share of accomplishments. However, he decided that “when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”
In the beginning of his statement, Jeter says: “I know they say that when you dream, you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I’ve never had to wake up. Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee, but also because I am living my dream.” I don’t think that Yankee fans ever wanted to wake up either. I think we all hoped that Jeter could somehow always be out there, wearing the pinstripes for us.
Jeter assures fans that he “will remember it all: the cheers, the boos, every win, every loss, all the plane trips, the bus rides, the clubhouses, the walks through the tunnel and every drive to and from the Bronx.”
The first thing that Jeter says in his statement is: “I want to start by saying thank you.” In honor of remembering the Captain, I looked at an article by Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran. Here are what I consider to be Jeter’s top 10 moments, though there are many more.
At the start of the 1996 season, owner George Steinbrenner was not sure if rookie 21-year old Derek Jeter was ready to start at shortstop for the New York Yankees on Opening Day against the Cleveland Indians. He had had fielding problems in the minors and lacked the experience that a high-caliber player on the Yankees was expected to have. Steinbrenner almost approved a trade that would send Rivera to the Mariners for shortstop Felix Fermin, a trade that would send Jeter back to the minors. Steinbrenner ultimately decided to stick with Jeter however and the young, inexperienced shortstop made a number of impressive plays in the field and homered in his second at-bat, helping the Yankees to win the game.
Jeter would go on to win Rookie of the Year that season, along with a World Series title.
In the 2000 All-Star game in Atlanta, Jeter started at shortstop and batted 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, scored once, and drove in two runs. He would win All-Star Game MVP that year and would then go on, later in the season, to win the World Series MVP against the Mets, helping the Yankees win their third-straight championship.
Jeter still remains the only player ever to win the All-Star game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same season.
Let’s set the scene first. It is the first Subway Series since 1956. The Mets are poised to tie the series with the Yankee at 2-2 in Game 4. Jeter, at the time, had been batting second in the Yankees lineup. On the night of Game 4 however, manager Joe Torre moved Jeter to the lead-off spot. True to form, Jeter swung at the first pitch from Mets starter Bobby Jones, earning himself a home run that landed in the left field bleachers of what was then Shea Stadium. The Yankees would go on to win the game 3-2, and would win the World Series title in game 5.