Jeter Takes His Final Swing
by Logan Troy on Friday, October 3rd, 2014
On September 25, 2014, Derek Jeter played the first seemingly meaningless game of his 20 year MLB career, as the Orioles had already knocked the New York Yankees out of playoff contention the night before. Although the game was technically irrelevant, in reality it held the most meaning of any game during his career; it would be his last time donning the iconic pinstripes in Yankee Stadium.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the score was tied with a runner on second as Jeter stepped to the plate. His game winning hit, the 3,464th hit of his career, would have been a perfect ending to his career, further adding to Jeter’s reputation as one of baseball’s most clutch performers.
However, consistent with his character, Jeter decided to play one last game at Fenway “out of respect for the Red Sox,” solidifying his legacy as one of most humble players baseball has ever seen.
Jeter’s impact, immeasurable on the field, may have been even larger off the field. In an era when pro sports have been plagued with players’ mistakes in both their performances and their personal lives, whether taking part in an ugly mid-game brawl, making a dangerous late hit, using performance enhancing drugs, getting into trouble with law-enforcement, or even just speaking rudely to the media, Jeter has been a “class act and character on and off the field,” according to former Yankees coach Joe Torre. Jeter has kept fans’ faith in professional athletes, and even professional sports, alive. Jeter is the hard-working, selfless, do-the-right-thing kind of guy society needs as an athletic role-model.
Future fans will remember Jeter for his statistical achievements, particularly the speed with which he garnered 3,000 hits. Current fans will long remember him as the instrumental piece without whom the Yankees could never have won their five World Series rings. However, most importantly, his teammates, including Jorge Posada, the longtime Yankees catcher, who said that Jeter “was the greatest teammate [he] ever had,” will remember Jeter as a remarkably talented man who did everything the right way, who took no shortcuts, who chose to work hard for his achievements, the epitome of a winner.
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