One of baseball’s all-time greats announced that the 2014 season will be his last in Major League Baseball. Derek Jeter, an idol to many and one heck of a ball player, will not play America’s pastime come 2015.
While this came to no surprise to most, except analyst Jack Curry who tweeted about his amazement, it was not expected to come so soon. Jeter’s time was coming. It was getting to the point where some people only cared to think about the injury that plagued Jeter and not Mr. November.
While I think this is a good time for Jeter to make the decision, people need to give him the respect he deserves. When a majority of the fans from your rival team think you deserve to be in the hall of fame, then you know you’re doing something right.
Jeter has arguably been the image of the MLB arguably since he came into the league almost 20 years ago. Jeter will long be remembered as the greatest shortstop in the history of baseball. I could say that title will last him forever, but as time carries on, we may see a new shortstop come along to do bigger and better things than the captain.
Jeter becomes a free agent after this season so his retirement is only fitting. It would be tough for a now-39 soon to be 40-year-old baseball player to competitively ask for a new contract without degrading the status he has built since day one.
While Jeter did miss most of last season, except for 17 games, due to his ankle injury from the playoffs in 2012, he batted .316 in his last full season (2012). He also recorded 216 hits, the second highest of his career. He has also been free of any suggestions that he used steroids except for a silly statement from Skip Bayless and bitter Red Sox fans.
If Jeter’s 3,316 hits don’t impress you, then maybe some of his postseason statistics will. Jeter isn’t called Mr. November for no reason. He has 200 hits in the postseason, currently the all-time record with his former teammate Bernie Williams in second with 128 hits.
Jeter currently ranks 10th for all-time hits, just three behind Paul Molitar and 103 behind Carl Yastrzemski. If Jeter can pull off another 200-plus hit season he would easily pull into the top five in hits all-time. The 13-time all-star has five Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards.
There should be and will be no question as to whether or not the Yankees’ captain will be voted into Cooperstown when his name lands on the ballot in 2020. If anything, he has the best shot at passing Tom Seaver with the highest voting percentage at 98.84 percent. Seaver landed on 425 out of a possible 430 ballots in 1992. Greg Maddux was voted in just a few weeks ago with 555 votes out of a possible 571.
If anything, before we get to remembering Jeter for his past and looking toward his life as a hall of famer, we need to enjoy the year ahead of us with “The Captain.” The Yankees are looking to return to the powerhouse they are used to being in 2014 and, hopefully, with the long-awaited return of Jeter, a World Series run is here.
Twenty years ago, Jeter played for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in my hometown of Albany. This was just a year before he was called up for his major league debut in 1995. Now, in a few short weeks, the 2014 MLB season will be under way and it’s sure to be quite a ride. Who better to captain it than Jeter? Here’s to one heck of a season.