Before Derek Jeter ascends into the baseball heavens, he’ll play the final game of his storied career this afternoon at Fenway Park. Home of the rival Boston Red Sox. While they’ll hate to admit it, Boston fans will pay tribute to the focal point of sport’s greatest rivalry for the past 20 years. Cue the waterworks, we’re saying farewell to a legend.
I don’t know baseball without Derek Jeter. Growing up in Ramsey, New Jersey, 35 minutes outside of the Bronx, I was raised a New York Yankee fan from day one. Baseball has always been my passion, and I’m privileged to have grown up during a nearly two-decade long stretch of supremacy by my beloved Yankees. Gone are the days of Joe Torre, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, the list goes on. Come this evening, gone too will be the days of Derek Jeter.
They made him the 13th captain in franchise history. Whenever number 14 comes along, they’ll have big shoes to fill. The kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan made the jump to the world’s biggest stage and handled it with ease. On the field, he exemplified consistency. He played every game of his career for the Yankees. He’ll finish sixth overall on the all-time hits list, and first–by a mile–in the postseason. He never won an MVP, yet he finished in the top-10 seven times. He played in 14 All-Star Games. He won 5 World Series. He gave us the flip, he dove into the stands. He was never ejected from the game.
Off the field, he epitomized class. Jeter handled reporters like a tactician. His name was never found in the tabloids, making it through the New York media unscathed. He was a gentleman to the fans. His Turn 2 Foundation has raised over $19 million in motivation for youths to turn to a healthy lifestyle. He wasn’t just the face of the franchise. He was the face of Major League Baseball.
There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude toward the Captain. He’s an idol that I am blessed to have had. The New York Yankees and Major League Baseball will never be the same. He should be the first to enter Cooperstown unanimously. He will always remain in the pantheon of baseball greats.
It’s with teary eyes that I say goodbye to Mr. Derek Sanderson Jeter. Thank you for the memories. You’ll be greatly missed.