Derek Jeter to Retire at Conclusion of 2014 Season as Posada reflects
Bronx, NY---The current power of social media was shown on Wednesday as Derek Jeter posted a statement of his retirement from playing baseball after the 2014 season concludes on his Facebook fan page. The Yankee captain made public his decision several days before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to come to camp and weeks before the first Spring Training game will be played.
The broken ankle Jeter suffered last season and the difficulty he had in rebounding from that injury limited Jeter to only 17 games in the 162 game baseball season in 2013. That experience obviously gave the 39 year-old baseball veteran thoughts about when his playing career should end.
Words in his Facebook statement referred to the events of 2013, “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…I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
Jeter, like all human beings, is feeling the passing of time, both physically and emotionally. He has been a professional athlete since 1992 and played his first game with the New York Yankees in late May of 1995.
As an individual who does not like to reveal personal matters, he wrote in general terms of his desires for his life after the age of 40, which he will reach on June 26, “I finally want to stop the chase and take in the world. It’s now time for something new. I have new dreams and aspirations and I want new challenges.” Among the new goals he listed were: starting his own family, taking a vacation during the summer months, engaging in philanthropic and business ventures.
Jeter’s statement mentioned many of the great memories he will bring with into retirement. What he did not write of were his many on-the-field accomplishments that will earn him first ballot election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility; American League Rookie of the Year, 13 time member of the A.L. All-Star Team, All-Star Game and World Series MVP in the same year of 2000, five time winner of the A.L. Gold Glove and five time winner of the Silver Slugger.
Jeter’s ability to shine in pressure situations is made clear by his record in the most crucial games. He batted .308 in 158 playoff games including .321 in World Series games, .440 in All-Star games and .347 in the World Baseball Classic.
None of these impressive measureable achievements include intangibles such as his leadership qualities that improve the achievements of his teammates and the teams of which he is a member. Jeter, in his prime, was the leader of the Yankees when they won four World Series titles within five years (1996-2000). He can cover the fingers of one hand with his five World Series rings.
His absence will be the termination of a proud Yankees era, when they were led by young men who were teammates and became friends while in the Yankees farm system. After the 2014 season ends, the Core Four (Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera) will exist only in fond memories.
Jorge Posada, one of those special three teammates, paid tribute to Jeter in heart-felt words, “He made me a better player and a better person. I’m so proud of our friendship and I love him like a brother. Derek was a true champion and the greatest teammate I ever had.”
Jeter’s retirement announcement was filled with expressions of gratitude to those who have enriched his experiences by their support. He singled out members of his family and the fans in New York.
As the days pass, illustrious people in baseball and other walks of life will also offer their opinions of the man who has been the face of baseball to the general public for nearly two decades.
Throughout Jeter’s final MLB season, he, like Mariano Rivera in 2013 and Chipper Jones in 2012, will be the subject of sincere and very well-deserved tributes from baseball fans throughout the nation and the other franchises in the sport in whose ballparks Jeter has so ably performed.