Running Out of RE2PECT

It was the bottom of the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when Kelly Johnson hit the ball hard to deep center field and pushed the Orioles past his old team, the New York Yankees for a 3-2 final score.

No only that meant that the game would not go into extra-innings, it pretty much meant the team from Bronx, New York is out of contention for a post-season ticket. The New York Yankees have to win almost every single game out of the 15 remaining in the regular season to get a miracle as they are now 5 games behind the Orioles in the East Division of the American League. Apparently we are looking at a post-season without Yankees, Red Sox and Texas Rangers.

It also means we may only be 15 games away from saying goodbye to one of the best baseball players of all times. Derek Jeter has taken the spotlight of this season on what he is calling it his “farewell” season. Everywhere the captain of the NYY goes, there will be some kind of ceremony in his honor. The 40-year old shortstop has spent 19 years as a professional baseball player and he has always belonged to the same team.

Jeter has played in over 2,700 games adding up 3,450 hits (259 home runs) with a batting average of .309 throughout his whole career. Jeter was destined to become one of the game’s greatest from a very young age as he was awarded “High School Player of the Year” in 1992 and was drafted by the Bronx team immediately before even thinking on going to college. Just two years later the skinny right-handed player was named “Minor League Player of the Year”. On May 29, 1995 Derek Jeter would make his professional debut against the Seattle Mariners. In 1996 he was awarded “Rookie of the Year”.

Success kept coming towards Jeter that continued to amaze everyone that saw him play either at the ballpark or on television. Consecutive World Series titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000 just added gold letters to his legacy not only to his name but the whole game of baseball. It was in the 2000 World Series when he accomplished his biggest personal title, he was then named “Most Valuable Player” of the Fall Classic and also the All-Star Game.

In 2009, almost 15 years after his debut another record was added to his curriculum, with his 2,722nd hit surpassing Lou Gehrig’s record as the ball player with the most hits wearing a Yankees uniform. Today he is the active-player with the most hits and occupies the sixth spot on the Major League Baseball  All-Time hit list. He also hold the Yankees records for games played, stolen bases, at-bats and singles.

Also in 2009, MLB commissioner Bud Selig described the number two as Major League Baseball’s foremost champion and ambassador. You embody all the best of Major League Baseball. … You have represented the sport magnificently throughout your Hall of Fame career. On and off the field, you are a man of great integrity, and you have my admiration.”

Jeter won 5 World Series Championships with the Yankees
Jeter won 5 World Series Championships with the Yankees (fasthorseinc.com)

Selig said it best, Jeter has really sparked an interest in baseball not only in the United States but also around the world. His undeniable talent has always been backed up by unmatchable statistics across the plate. Even though his numbers may not be as hot in his last seasons, there is not much more Jeter can give to the sport of baseball, he has done enough already.

I could spend all day and write a whole book about everything that Jeter has accomplished with the exception of a University Degree, the man has done it all. He is sure to find a shortcut to MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York whenever his career is over. Yesterday Johnson could have set that date for september 28 at Fenway Park against “Big Papi”and the Boston Red Sox, the NYY most fierce rival.

Post-season might be a more fitting finish for Jeter’s career, but even though it may all soon be over, his legacy to the Yankees and to the game will last forever.

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