Derek Jeter isn’t going to spend the 2014 season answering questions and addressing speculation about whether this will be his final season in baseball.
The New York Yankees’ shortstop, whose ascendance coincided with the rebirth of the Bombers, announced on Facebook that he will retire when the season is over. “I could not be more sure,” Jeter wrote. “I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
Jeter, who will turn 40 in June, played in only 17 games last season because of lingering issues with a broken ankle he suffered in the 2012 playoffs.
The Yankees’ captain opened his note simply:
“I want to start by saying thank you.
“I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I’ve never had to wake up. Not just because of my time as a new York Yankee but also because I am living my dream every single day.
“Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.
“So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.”
And now Jeter is. He’ll be the last of the Yankees’ vaunted core four — Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada — to go. Rivera and Pettitte retired at the end of last season, with Rivera’s final mound appearance an emotional farewell in Yankee Stadium. Jeter and Pettitte came out to the mound to relieve him, with Rivera weeping on their shoulders as the three headed off the field.
It’ll be just as emotional when Jeter goes after his 20th season.
“I will remember it all: the cheers, the boos, every win, every loss, all the plane trips, the bus rides, the clubhouses, the walks through the tunnel and every drive to and from the Bronx. I have achieved almost every personal and professional goal I have set. I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball and I have absolutely no regrets,” he wrote.
“Now it is time for the next chapter. I have ew dreams and aspirations and I want new challenges. There are many things I want to do in business and in philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.
“But before that, I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life. And, most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship.
“Once again, thank you.”
Here’s the full text of Jeter’s note:
Among his greatest moments in the field:
Jeter has played the most games, has the most at bats, most hits and most stolen bases in Yankee franchise history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2014