This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
We all know that there are few guaranteed things in life: you are born, you will have heartache, you will pay taxes and then you will die. The things that make life enjoyable are the things that aren’t guaranteed, something special. One of those special things in life was the career of the Derek Jeter.
Whether you are a New York Yankees fan or not, you have to admit that Jeter was one of the greatest to ever put on a baseball uniform and take the field. You don’t just earn the nicknames “Mr. Clutch,” “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November” for being average.
The final game for the perennial captain of the Bronx Bombers in Yankee Stadium was one for the storybooks. Jeter played his final game at shortstop at home against the Baltimore Orioles. After tipping his cap to the adoring fans, Jeter added some final memories for the Yankee faithful.
He drove in two runs early in the game, hitting the ball off the left-center wall, giving the Yanks a 5-2 lead. But with a flair for the dramatics the Orioles came back. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jeter stepped into the batter’s box with the winning run on base. Jeter hit a single into right field that knocked in the winning run. Jeter was rushed by the team and was greeted by other Yankee greats including Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre.
I can’t think of a better way for the career of Jeter to end. Of course it could have ended better with the Yankees in the World Series and Jeter hitting a game winner in game seven, but to end it in the stadium full of fans that hated him the most and hit a single and drive in a run, was a great end to an incredible career.
It wasn’t the first run of the game and it certainly won’t be the last, but for Jeter it was the perfect epitome to a storied career that was never hindered by any outside influences like the steroid scandal or domestic violence. It was an infield single down the line like he had done so many times in his career.
Jeter leaves the Yankees holding countless team records including, 3,465 hits, 544 doubles, 2,747 games played, 358 stolen bases, 4,716 times on base, 12,602 plate appearances and 11,195 at bats. For his career he had a .310 batting average and hit 260 home runs. His 3,465 hits have him in sixth place all time in career hits list and most all time by a shortstop.
Jeter was a great player in the regular season, but it was the postseason when he took his game to the next level. Except for the three seasons that Jeter was on the Yankees roster, the team made the postseason, making it to the World Series seven times, winning five. In the postseason, he hit .309 and an astonishing .321 in the World Series. He holds countless postseason records including 158 games played, 734 plate appearances, 650 at bats, 200 hits, 143 singles, 32 doubles, 5 triples, 111 runs scored, 302 total bases and only 135 strikeouts. He also sits third in postseason home runs with 20, fourth in RBIs 61, fifth with base on balls with 66 and sixth in stolen bases with 18.
Receiving countless accolades throughout his storied career, he made the All-Star team 14 times, winning the World Series five times (1996,1998-2000 and 2009), World Series MVP in 2000, American League Rookie of the Year 1996, five-time Golden Glove Award winner, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, two-time winner of the AL Hank Aaron Award winner and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2009.
No average player is allowed to wear a single-digit uniform for the Yankees; instead it is a right reserved for a select few. In fact, it is the final single-digit number that has not been retired (or will be retired) for the Yankees making this not just ending the era of Jeter in pinstripes, but also for a single-digit uniform with the famous intertwined NY logo on the front.