In a post to his official Facebook fanpage on Wednesday afternoon, Derek Jeter thanked his fans, family, and the New York Yankees as he announced that the upcoming 2014 MLB season would be his last. Jeter, beleaguered by injuries over the last year, said in the post that, “The things that always came easily to me had started to become a struggle,” and that he was absolutely certain about his decision. The shortstop expressed excitement that he would finally be able to experience a summer vacation, something that his twenty year career had circumvented.
Drafted into a pinestripe uniform in May of 1995, Jeter tasted success immediately, joining a ’96 Yankees squad that made it all the way to the World Series, dispatching the Atlanta Braves four games to two and earning Jeets his first of five Series victories. He was also recognized for his individual play, earning league-wide recognition as the ’96 AL Rookie of the Year. In all, Jeter would be named an All-Star thirteen times, a World Series MVP, an All-Star game MVP, as well as garnering a host of metric- and vote-based awards.
Playing in 2,606 games, all for the Yankees, Jeter is 12th among active players for runs batted in, sixth all time for singles hit or allowed, and has made over $200 million dollars in baseball. Now 39, Derek has quietly charged his ball club — one of the most storied sports franchises on earth — with the task of sending him off with another World Series victory.
For the Yankees — embroiled in a very public scandal concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s suspension from baseball owing to steroid use — the proposition is tricky. The Steinbrenner family, whom Jeter thanked profusely in his letter, will have to jump through some serious hurdles in order to do better than 2013, which saw the Yankees miss the post season entirely for only the second time in Jeter’s career.
For the fans and the city, both of which Jeter credited positively as creating “tough, invasive, critical, and demanding environment,” the 2014 season will act as an extended goodbye party — a 162 game sendoff for one of their most famous players. Jeter currently sits at No. 11 on Baseball Reference’s Hall of Fame monitor. The Yankees will end their 2014 season at Fenway Park, sending Jeter off into the Sunset with another entry into the greatest rivalry in sports as they take on the Boston Red Sox.