Derek Jeter Is Quitting The Game

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The Yankees have another high-profile retirement party to plan.

Shortstop Derek Jeter, one of the most iconic players in the rich history of both the Yankees and Major League Baseball, announced Wednesday via his Facebook page that he will end his playing career after this season.

“The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball,” wrote the Yankees captain, who will follow Mariano Rivera into retirement a year after the legendary closer ended his 19-year playing career.

All in all, it will make for a 20-year Major League career that has included five World Series titles, 13 All-Star team selections, five Silver Sluggers and five Gold Gloves and a number of remarkable achievements.

His 3,316 hits are the 10th most among the game’s all-time career leaders, and while he needs just three hits to pass Paul Molitor for ninth place, he could finish as high as sixth on the list if he remains healthy through the season.

His 1,876 runs rank second among active players and 13th all-time, and is 43 shy of Alex Rodriguezfor 10th place. Jeter has finished in the top 10 in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award eight times, he was the World Series and All-Star Game MVP in 2000 — the first player to win both awards in the same year — when the Yankees won their third straight championship and fourth in five seasons with Jeter as their shortstop.

And there was “The Flip,” the play that saved the Yankees in the 2001 playoffs and lives on as one of the game’s most memorable.

“It was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last,” Jeter wrote. “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-percent sure.

“And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart.”

Casey Close, Jeter’s longtime agent, confirmed in an email to the New York Daily News that the Facebook posting was legitimate.

“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the national pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his — or any — era.

“Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.”

Jeter referenced his recent string of injuries — he played just 17 games in 2013 — as a reason for hanging up his spikes. He has been in Tampa, Fla., for pre-camp workouts, taking batting-practice swings and fielding ground balls as he attempts to work his way back from complications from a left-ankle fracture suffered during Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series.

As Jeter prepares for retirement, the Yankees will begin preparations for life without yet another icon. Jeter is the last remaining active player among the “Core Four” of Yankees who came through the team’s farm system and were major contributors to its run of five World Series titles and seven pennants from 1996-2009. Catcher Jorge Posada retired in 2011, and Rivera and left-hander Andy Pettitte followed at the end of last season — Rivera to much fanfare throughout MLB and a highly emotional Yankee Stadium farewell.

“He was the leader of that group,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, another Yankees icon who preceded Jeter as team captain.

Jeter’s departure will at least match that of Rivera, and may well surpass it.

“For nearly 20 years, there has been no greater ambassador for the game of baseball than Derek Jeter,” said Tony Clark, a former teammate who is the executive director of the MLB Players Association. “Day in and day out, on the world’s greatest stage, and through the peaks and valleys of a 162-game schedule, Derek consistently demonstrates awe-inspiring levels of passion, determination and excellence.

“A champion on and off the field, Derek’s impact cannot be understated. Not only does he make the game better, he makes lives better through his Turn2 charitable foundation. Derek has set the standard that we should all strive to achieve.

In his posting, Jeter said his childhood dream was always to play shortstop for the Yankees, and he thanked the fans and those in the New York organization who helped make it possible. He wrote that he has “new dreams and aspirations” that include business and philanthropic work. Also, he said, he is looking forward to finally having a summer vacation.

“For the last 20 years I’ve been completely focused on two goals: playing my best and helping the Yankees win,” he wrote. “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.”



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