Derek Jeter says this will be his last season; Announces his retirement on Facebook page
By Rich Mancuso
New York – You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Derek Jeter earlier today announced the 2014 season will be his last as an active player. And he made the announcement in this new era of social media on his Facebook page. He retires as a New York Yankee, and there is certain to be that final season of praise and ceremonies around baseball as it was this past season with the retirement of Mariano Rivera.
In a 15- paragraph statement on his social media page, Jeter said, “The 2014 season will be my last playing professional baseball.” He thanked the fans for their loyal support over the years and reportedly made his decision months ago. The Yankees open spring training camp Friday ,though Jeter has been working out daily at their complex the past three weeks in Tampa Florida.
Reportedly, before he posted the announcement, Jeter informed Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner about his decision.
Though, Jeter was expected to retire after this season, or next, the announcement was taken by surprise. The Yankees were preparing a statement and it is expected that Jeter will have a similar final goodbye around ballparks as it was with teammate Mariano Rivera this past season.
Jeter is the last of the Yankees’ “Core Four” along with Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada that played on four World Series championship teams under former Yankees manager Joe Torre.
“I wouldn’t have done it without the people of New York,” said Jeter in his statement about playing before the fans at Yankee Stadium. “NY fans always pushed me to be my best. They have embraced me, loved me, respected me, and have ALWAYS been there for me.”
Jeter, who will turn 40-years of age in June, can be considered one of the top-10 all-time players to wear Yankee pinstripes. He has been associated with the current core of Yankee fans, similar to those who followed Mickey Mantle the late and great Yankee who is in the Hall of Fame.
In total, Jeter has been on five Yankees world championship teams that included the 2009 season, first year of the new Yankee Stadium. He achieved a milestone becoming the 28th player in baseball history to record his 3,000th career hit when he hit a home run at Yankee Stadium against Tampa Bay pitcher David Price in July of 2011.
Jeter, the all-time Yankees hit leader, also said his decision was made months ago. He said that the struggle to getting healthy, staying healthy and to prepare were key factors also. He broke his left ankle during the American League Championship Series against the Tigers in 2012 at Yankee Stadium.
Last season, after struggling to return, he played 17 games. Not one for the spotlight, Jeter decided to finally sit down the remainder of the season as the Yankees made a late playoff drive in September.
Jeter said, “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. Through it all, I've never stopped chasing the next one. I finally want to stop the chase and take in the world."
The Yankees captain was AL Rookie of the Year in 1996 and appeared in 13 All-Star games. The following is his Facebook Page Statement:
I want to start by saying thank you. I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I've never had to wake up. Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee but also because I am living my dream every single day.
Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. 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.
So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure. And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.
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. Through it all, I've never stopped chasing the next one. I want to finally stop the chase and take in the world. For the last 20 years, I've been completely focused on two goals: playing my best and helping the Yankees win. That means that for 365 days a year, my every thought and action were geared toward that goal. It's now time for something new.
From the time I was a kid, my dream was always very vivid and it never changed: I was going to be the shortstop for the NY Yankees. It started as an empty canvas more than 20 years ago, and now that I look at it, it's almost complete. In a million years, I wouldn't have believed just how beautiful it would become.
So many people have traveled along this journey with me and helped me along the way: I want to especially thank The Boss, the Steinbrenner family, the entire Yankees organization, my managers, my coaches, my teammates, my friends, and of course, above all, my family. They taught me incredible life lessons and are the #1 reason I lasted this long. They may not have been on the field, but they feel they played every game with me, and I think they are ready to call it a career as well. I also couldn't have done it without the people of New York. NY fans always pushed me to be my best. They have embraced me, loved me, respected me and have ALWAYS been there for me.
This can be a tough, invasive, critical and demanding environment. The people of this city have high expectations and are anxious to see them met. But it's those same people who have challenged me, cheered me, beat me down and picked me back up all at the same time. NY made me stronger, kept me more focused and made me a better, more well-rounded person. For that I will be forever grateful. I never could have imagined playing anywhere else.
I will remember it all: the cheers, the boos, every win, every loss, all the plane trips, the bus rides, the clubhouses, the walks through the tunnel and every drive to and from the Bronx. I have achieved almost every personal and professional goal I have set. I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets.
Now it is time for the next chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges. There are many things I want to do in business and in philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.
But before that, I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life. And most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship. Once again, thank you.
Comment: Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso