On Wednesday Feb. 12, in an official Facebook post, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced he will retire after the upcoming MLB season. A true honor to the game, he leaves behind a legacy that is unmatched by any player of recent memory.
I should clarify that I am a New York Mets fan. The Yankees are my least favorite team in all of sports and Jeter has been the face of my enemy team ever since I started watching baseball as a young kid. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I don’t respect what he’s done for the game.
While with the Yankees, he has amassed a Rookie of the Year Award, five Gold Gloves, over 3,000 hits, 13 All-Star Game appearances and most impressively, five World Series. One of those World Series wins came against the Mets in 2000 when Jeter was named World Series MVP. Basically, I should just hate Derek Jeter.
Jeter will retire as a legend of the game. He was the face of the most successful and popular franchise in history, along with one of the most popular brands in the world, both doing so with such class. He wasn’t the best fielder or the most powerful hitter, but he tried his hardest and gave every ounce of effort he had on every play to the sport that he loved. For that reason, I cannot hate him.
Jeter retiring will mark a new wave in baseball. He is one of the last players to come from the infamous Steroid Era and is the last of the homegrown Yankees who were a part of an unstoppable winning dynasty. One can argue that Jeter is the most recognizable baseball player of all time. Guys wanted to play like him, and would try endlessly to master his patented jump throw. Girls wanted to date him, as his good looks and charm attracted some of the most famous faces in Hollywood.
Jeter’s legacy as a Yankee will forever spark controversy. Fans will debate if he was better than Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle. The most impressive thing is that he is in the conversation with those pinstriped greats. There has never been a player like Jeter and it might be a long time until we see another who can even come close to the player and person he is. I’m glad that I was able to see such an amazing athlete play and obtain nothing but respect and admiration for him. With that said, maybe his retiring will cue the Yankees downfall and my Mets will finally be able to be the kings of New York. Maybe.
Congrats on a terrific career. Here’s to a wonderful last ride into baseball glory, No. 2.