STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
The average Major League Baseball player’s career will last between five and six years. Even in such a short span of time, it is rare that a player will only wear one jersey.
As of 2010, only 62 players in MLB history have had a career of 15 years or more entirely with one team. Only 48 Hall of Famers have only played for one team, and only 36 of those had careers longer of at least 15 years.
Soon though, another name will be added to those lists: Derek Jeter.
The 40 year-old played his final professional game this past Sunday, and will be retiring after his 20th season, to much fanfare around the league.
Each stadium the Yankees visited this year presented him with a parting gift in honor of his remarkable career. The gifts ranged from a basket of crabs in Baltimore, a Yankee pinstripe Les Paul Guitar from Cleveland, a pair of custom cowboy boots from Houston and donations accumulating to the equivalent of a professional athlete’s salary for Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
All of these gifts are well deserved after the career Jeter has had.
The career .300 batting average clubber and 14-time all-star, won Rookie of the Year back in his first full season. He is the Yankees all-time hits leader, finished in the top 10 for MVP voting eight times, has five World Series rings, along with five Gold Gloves and five AL Silver Slugger Awards as a shortstop and the list goes on.
Not to mention all of the great plays he’s made in his career.
From bloodying himself up after making a diving catch over the wall into the seats in foul territory, to getting his 3000 hit on a home run, to his amazing effort in a player forever dubbed, “The Flip,” to get Jason Giambi out at the plate in the 2001 American League Divisional Series.
The legend that is Derek Jeter was solidified in postseason play, holding the major league records for most playoff games played, hits, runs scored, among others. He was the first player ever to record a home run in the month of November, a tenth inning walk-off in game four of the 2001 World Series, earning him the nickname “Mr. November.”
Off the field, Jeter has been one of the athletes who actually fulfilled his responsibility as a role model.
His Turn 2 Foundation is dedicated to supporting young people in avoiding a life of drugs and crime. Adhering to that same code in his personal life, Jeter has been a shining example in the MLB for how to conduct oneself off the field.
In his final game at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 25, Jeter received several standing ovations from his beloved fans . He went on to top off the night with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium.
The last at-bat in his storied career was an infield RBI single at the rival Fenway Park, in the third inning of the last game of the season.
This was only after he received a standing ovation when he strode into the batter’s box in the first inning, probably the first time he was ever genuinely applauded in Boston. He was met with celebration as he jogged off the field after being subbed out after the hit.
With a tip of his hat, a storybook ending capped an epic career. You will be missed Captain Clutch.