“Having five people from that group is kind of hard to believe,” Jeter said. “When we were in it, we used to constantly have conversations about it: We never looked back at anything that we had accomplished, it was always, OK, what’s next, what’s next, what’s next? Eventually nothing is next because you retire, but we all had those same mindsets and that’s why I think we had success is we went out there day in and day out trying to win, trying to do anything we could to help the team and more importantly we tried to keep our jobs.”
Three years since retiring from the big leagues, captain of the New York Yankee’s Derek Jeter returned to Yankee Stadium to see his No. 2 retired.
Now 42, Jeter had captained the Yankees during his final 12 seasons. His career spanned from 1995 to 2014 and included five World Series titles, 14 All-Star titles, a .310 batting average, and a New York-record 3,465 hits.
He is the 22nd player to have his number retired by the Yankees, by far the most among major league teams. Jeter is also the last of the single digit numbers to be retired for the team.
“I want to thank my family for their love, support, honesty and more importantly their presence at everything I did both on and off the field,” he said during a speech to a sold out Yankee stadium filled with 47,883 fans. “And the fans — wow — I want to thank you guys for pushing me, for challenging me, making me accountable, more importantly for embracing me since day one.”
Jeter personally picked Mother’s Day for his tribute. In the aftermath of the emotional ceremony between games of the Yankees’ doubleheader with the Astros, explained how Mother’s Day came to share top billing in the Bronx with Jeter Night. His grandmother, parents, sister, nephew and pregnant wife joined him for the ceremony.
Derek was presented with a plaque that would be placed in Monument Park alongside other tributes to famous players such as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mangle and Berra. He laughed when presented with the plaque, that reads “DEREK SANDERSON JETER/’THE CAPTAIN’/’MR. NOVEMBER.'” It goes on to call him “THE CORNERSTONE OF FIVE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS” and “A LEADER ON THE FIELD AND IN THE CLUBHOUSE, SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR HIS TEAMMATES WITH HIS UNCOMPROMISING DESIRE FOR TEAM SUCCESS.”
Yankees co-owner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal presented the Jeter with a 14-karat white gold ring with “2” in diamonds, surrounded by diamonds.
Former teammates Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, David Cone and Hideki Matsui also were on hand. Alex Rodriguez was not — spokesman Ron Berkowitz said A-Rod was in Miami, spending time with his mother and daughters.
Highlights of his most famous moments were shown on the video board, including his homer and over-the-shoulder catch on his first opening day in 1996; backhanded flip to the plate against Oakland in the 2001 playoffs and Mr. November home run just after midnight a few weeks later that won World Series Game 4; and his face-first dive into the seats for a popup against Boston in 2004.
Among players on the most recent Yankees dynasty, Posada (20), Rivera (42), Pettitte (46) and Williams (51) also had their numbers retired.