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New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer broke the news himself through his Facebook page today.
This news marks the end of a truly great Yankee era.
Younger spoiled Yankee fans know of only success and Derek Sanderson Jeter. Well kids, it wasn't always a treat to be a Yankee fan.
The young exciting first round pick from Michigan made his Major League debut in the late summer of 1995, Baseball Reference. At this time the Yankees were an organization treated more as a punch line than as greatness, and the Mets were the New York team who had last captured the World Series for the city. The Yanks had not felt success since the late 1970’s with high payrolls making it all the more infuriating.
Don Mattingly was the only constant that kept the Yankee fan from jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge a few summers. It were a distraught fan base who couldn’t stand its meddling and tantrum-filled owner. The Yankees hadn’t won a World Series since 1978, notes MLB.com.
Buck Showalter, Gene Michael and Jeter changed that.
Instead of trading away all of their young talent like they did so many times the decade previous, in the early 90’s general manger Michael and manager Showalter slowly put together a winner. It started with a few key signings such as Paul O’Neil and Jimmy Key. But drafting and developing young talent was the core of the Yankees for the next 20 years until today.
Such names as Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte bring tears to many Yankee fans as there are so many fond memories of a group that won five World Series Titles and seven American League Pennants from 1996 until 2009.
All of those names are now retired, and Jeter is the last remaining link.
“Captain Clutch” or “Mr. November” led his team with poise, character, style and substance. While many can argue the great fortune Jeter had of joining a great team at the right time, they cannot argue the moments that he captured during so many post-season runs.
True Yankee fans will understand this is not only the retiring of a great player, but the end of a great era. It’s understood in team sports that the end will always come eventually. Nobody will likely ever wear the No. 2 in a Yankee uniform ever again after the 2014 season.
image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons