Derek Jeter approached home plate for one last at-bat at Yankee Stadium on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 against the Baltimore Orioles with his squad eliminated from playoff contention. The situation couldn’t have been any more perfect for him.
Tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth and a runner on second base. Jeter had the chance to end the game right there and he was able to do what he’s been doing throughout his whole career. He delivered.
Jeter smacked a base hit to right field and was able to bring the game winning run to home plate to win the ball game for the New York Yankees in his final home game. It was almost the perfect storybook ending for Derek Jeter’s career at Yankee Stadium and the crowd was ecstatic not just because their favorite team picked up the victory, but because of the fashion in which it was done. Even Jeter’s nephew, who was in the stands, had to tip his cap to that one.
Jeter, playing in his 20th and final season in the majors, sent Yankee fans home feeling nostalgic with his walk-off single to right field. Derek Jeter has undoubtedly been the face of the New York franchise for all 20 years he’s been with the club. In almost every New York fan’s eyes, he’s not just another baseball player: he’s an icon and a legend.
Sure, Jeter’s retirement has been getting a lot of, or maybe even too much, coverage on ESPN, and other sports outlets all year but to many, it is warranted. The 40-year-old Jeter had been playing at a high level for most of his career and only started to show his age a few years ago as his production started to dip. He’s a 14-time All-Star and 5-time World Series Champion, not to mention a World Series MVP. He’s done a lot for the city of New York, the Yankees and Major League baseball and that will never be forgotten. He has a knack for making plays and coming through when it matters most which is part of the reason why he’s earned the nickname “Captain Clutch.”
Let’s not forget that as long as he’s been in the league, he has never been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. In an era where players feel the need to take performance-enhancing drugs to perform at a high level, Jeter was able to perform at a high level without them. If there’s one player you would want your kids to look up to and respect, don’t look towards troubled players like Alex Rodriguez or other steroid abusers. Look towards players like Jeter, who has stayed out of trouble throughout his career and strived to be a role model for the younger generation.
Jeter’s name was even chanted at Fenway Park, home of the Yankees biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox, during one of the final games. This just shows how much Jeter is truly respected by his peers and fans alike throughout the league.
The Yankees were unable to make it to the post-season and didn’t have the chance to send Jeter off with one final World Series win, but hitting that walk-off in front of his home crowd at Yankee Stadium for the final time may have been just enough to send him off in style.
Congratulations on a successful 20-year-career that no baseball fan will ever forget. Enjoy the retirement, Captain. You’ve certainly earned it.