Parting Thoughts as Jeter Plays Final Games of Career
Derek Jeter has it all. Five World Series rings to go along with a World Series MVP award (2000). Three thousand, four hundred and sixty one career hits (and counting), fourteen all-star selections, and an all-star game MVP (2000). Jeter has made millions and millions of dollars doing the only thing that he has ever wanted to do- play shortstop for the New York Yankees. This Thursday, he will play his final regular season game at Yankee stadium, and in all likelihood, play his final game ever Sunday night at Fenway Park against the long time rival Boston Red Sox.
Over the course of his 20 seasons in the major leagues, Derek Jeter has awed fans with his uncanny ability to deliver in big moments. From his home run against the Orioles in the 1996 ALDS, to his forever-famous “flip play” in game three of the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland A’s, the skinny 6-3 kid from Kalamazoo, MI, has proved he is always ready for the spotlight. Jeter is a career .310 hitter, with his average increasing to .321 in the World Series, a.k.a. the most important games of the year– if your team is fortunate enough to get that far. Jeter has not shied away from that stage either, earning the nickname “Mr. November” after hitting the game-winning home run to tie the World Series at two games apiece against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. Throughout his career, Jeter has, amazingly, played in only one game where the Yankees were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
After fracturing his ankle in the 2012 playoffs against the Detroit Tigers, many wondered whether Jeter could play another full season without getting injured again. While he was only able to play in 17 games last year, Jeter has been a consistent player in the lineup in 2014, focusing more on his leadership in the locker room more than ever. He spoke to the rest of his American League All-Star teammates at the game in Minnesota back in July before the annual contest. Jeter spoke about enjoying the moment, perhaps because then, more than ever, he was able to take a step back and appreciate just how special the moment was to him. All throughout his “farewell tour,” he has received numerous gifts from every team he has played against, as well as standing ovations from opposing crowds. Much like his former teammate and future Hall-of-Famer closer Mariano Rivera, Jeter has always been a fan favorite for his attitude, hustle and heart. He has put up solid numbers and played through the infamous “steroid era” without making a peep. Jeter is the son you want your daughter to bring home for dinner, as well as the teammate you want to play the biggest and most important game of your life alongside. There’s just something about Jeter that attracts players, coaches and fans.
As Derek Jeter’s final season winds down, one thing is clear. He is a once in a lifetime player in the game of baseball. Not because he holds insane MLB records, or because he absolutely dominates the game of baseball. He has been a solid and constant player from day one, and has put up numbers that are absolutely Hall of Fame worthy. There will not be another Derek Jeter for a long time. But what makes him a once in a lifetime player is because of how he has represented the game, how he has transcended it. Jeter has been the face of baseball since many of us can remember. He has played one of the toughest and more important positions on one of the most popular/hated/scrutinized sports teams of the last 30 years. Jeter has done it almost flawlessly. He has never been arrested, suspended or in trouble in any sort of way. He has never shown poor sportsmanship on the field or been anything other than a role model to all ages. He runs a “Turn 2” charity foundation that encourages young people to stray away from drugs and alcohol, and instead live a healthy lifestyle. If Jeter has proved one thing over the course of his illustrious career, it’s that there is a right way to play the game, and you can be very successful by doing it the right way.
We tip our hats to you one last time Mr. Jeter.
Derek Jeter Career Major Awards/Stats List
Career .310 batting average
5-time AL Gold Glove winner
5-time AL Silver Slugger winner
2009 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
2000 All-Star game MVP
2000 World Series MVP
1996 Rookie of the Year
1992 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year
New York Yankees all-time hits leader
Sporting News All-Decade Team
Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team
(Source: Baseball Almanac)
Derek Jeter top plays
Check out some of Jeter’s top moments from his final season in the Bronx:
Final all-star game- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdQxrY0HXdU
Derek Jeter day at Yankee Stadium- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLlUF5_bobM