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Derek Jeter Goes Out Like A True Great

Andrew Seah |
February 13, 2014 | 10:15 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Jeter will retire after his 20th season with the Yankees. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Jeter will retire after his 20th season with the Yankees. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Just as fans welcome the New York Yankees’ latest star acquisition, this coming season will mark an extended goodbye to one of modern baseball’s greatest shortstops.  

After two decades in the famous pinstripes, Derek Jeter will be hanging up his bat, cleats, and gloves for the very last time. The 39-year-old announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the 2014 season would be his last in the major leagues. 

“I’ve experienced so many defining moments in my career: winning the World Series as a rookie shortstop, being named the Yankees captain, closing the old and opening the new Yankee Stadium,” the statement reads, “Through it all, I’ve never stopped chasing the next one. I want to finally stop the chase and take in the world.” 

According to a report by The New York Times, Jeter first phoned Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner earlier in the morning to inform him of the decision. 

The news came abruptly, almost as if Jeter meant to catch us all off-guard. But we’ve all witnessed his decline in recent years, especially in 2013, when the former Rookie of the Year struggled mightily with injuries. His body wasn't cooperating and it showed. Jeter seesawed back and forth on the disabled list in a fashion that was reminiscent of great athletes that could no longer bend their bodies with their wills. Quadricep strains, ankle fractures, on-and-off issues with his calf – they were all pseudonyms for Father Time. 

Maybe Jeter knew then. Since stealing bases weren’t an option anymore, it was time. Or that he had to hunt for base hits where it used to find him. Maybe Jeter – a career .312 batter – knew when he only played 17 games last season and hit a .190. 

“I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle,” said the 13-time All-Star.

“The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”

SEE ALSO: Derek Jeter's 3000th Hit: The Captain's Final Stand 

For the Yankees organization and its fans, this might all seem very familiar. They've already lost the steely-eyed and ever-reliable Mariano Rivera to retirement at the end of last season. And after this season, they will have to name a new captain – after 11 years of dedicated stewardship under Jeter. 

"We didn't know what was going to happen, but nobody knows his body better than him," Yankees President Randy Levine told USA TODAY Sports. "We respect his decision.

Jeter has won almost everything that baseball has had to offer. He’s a five-time World Series champion. He was the 2000 World Series MVP. And even though he has slipped greatly in recent years, no one forgets Jeter’s fastidiousness when fielding, en route to five Gold Glove awards. 

But if you’ve watched Jeter play, you’ll know that none of these statistics matter. Most will remember Jeter not for the records he broke or the awards he’s won, but for his attitude and professionalism, and those moments of outrageous audacity. 

Remember the flip play

Remember Mr. November

At his best, Jeter is electrifying. But lately he’s been more absent than present. His time in baseball is up, and he isn’t fighting it. He’s bowing out graciously and on his own terms.

Jeter’s statement on his Facebook page began with a simple thank you. 

We should be doing the same. 


Now for a hail of bullets on the Yankee shortstop: 

USA Today: Bob Nightengale writes about Jeter going out classily, on his own terms.  

ESPNNewYork: Ian O’Connor says the Yankees captain’s timing is perfect, as the warning signs were there for several seasons. 

New York Daily News: Jeter goes out just like the greats – Joe DiMaggio, Don Mattingly, Mariano Rivera – before him. 

Grantland: Excerpts from the captain’s private journal. 

Forbes: Is Derek Jeter the MVP of his generation? This guy seems to think so. 

Sports Illustrated: A timely reminder of Jeter’s best moments as shortstop. 



Reach Executive Producer Andrew Seah here



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