Yankees captain Derek Jeter, perhaps the opposing player that Red Sox fans respect the most, announced minutes ago that he will retire at the end of the season.
“I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball,” Jeter wrote in a letter posted to Facebook.
The Yankees finish the regular season on Sept. 28 at Fenway Park. If New York does not qualify for the postseason, that could be Jeter’s final game.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, is entering his 20th season with the Yankees. He has 3,316 career hits and has played in a remarkable 158 postseason games, leading the Yankees to five championships.
Jeter is a 13-time All-Star and is likely to be a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame. But he played only 17 games last season because of injuries.
“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter,” Bud Selig said in a statement. “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.”
Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “Derek Jeter has been a great representative of what the Yankees have stood for over the years. He has been a team player who has only cared about winning. He has also been a fine example both on and off the field over his long tenure as a Yankee. It has been a real pleasure to manage him and play alongside him.”
MLB Players Association director Tony Clark also had praise for Jeter.
“For nearly 20 years, there has been no greater ambassador to the game of baseball than Derek Jeter. 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,” Clark said.
“I had the pleasure of playing against and with Derek. As his teammate in 2004, I had the privilege of seeing his leadership and professionalism manifest itself daily. A champion on and off the field, Derek’s impact cannot be understated.”