Derek Jeter has been playing baseball for a long time. This writer was a mere nine years old when Jeter debuted with the Yankees in 1995. The amazing part is he’s been there ever since. Earlier this week Jeter announced to the entire baseball world and to the dismay of many Yankee fans that he would retire after the 2014 season. Whether your a diehard Yankees’ fan or a little part of you died during the infamous Jeffrey Maier incident, there is no arguing Jeter is one of the best to ever play the game. He should be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and he was a key piece that revitalized the dormant Yankee franchise.
Jeter’s retirement announcement sadly is not a surprise to many fans and sportswriters. 2013 was a tough year for Jeter. He battled injuries for most of the year which resulted in limited playing time and poor statistics. However, last season in no way should diminish the greatness of the Yankee shortstop. Throughout his nineteen year career Jeter batted over .300 thirteen times, made the All-Star team thirteen times, collected over 3,000 hits, won four Gold Glove awards, and Jeter is a five time World Series champion. If Jeter’s accomplishments, statistics, awards, and even his intangibles (who doesn’t remember that flip he had in the play-off game against Oakland to nail Giambi at home) don’t merit a first ballot Hall of Fame selection then I don’t know if anyone is worthy of that honor.
I will be honest, I hate the Yankees. However, I have nothing but respect for Derek Jeter. During the current steroid epidemic in baseball, Jeter has never even been rumored to have taken any steroids, ever. When baseball became a dishonest game thanks to steroids, Jeter remained honest. He played the game the way it was always meant to be played. In 2010, Jeter did have some contract troubles with the Yankees, but despite it all Jeter kept true to himself and kept the contract talks private and he remained a Yankee.
From 1981 to 1996 the New York Yankees won their division one time. During Jeter’s time as starting shortstop, the Yankees won their division thirteen times, won the American League Pennant seven times, and the World Series five times. Jeter’s career is defined by class, consistency, leadership, and championships. Baseball will never be the same after he retires.