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‘Family is forever’: Derek Jeter’s number retired at Yankee Stadium

Retired Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, center right, attends a pregame ceremony to retire his number at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)

The New York Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s No. 2 and unveiled the plaque that will be added to Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in honor of the shortstop’s legendary career Sunday.

Joined by his wife, parents, sister, nephew and grandmother, as well as several former managers and teammates, Jeter began his brief speech by wishing a happy Mother’s Day to “all the mothers out there” and thanking the late George Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family for giving him the opportunity to play his entire career with the Yankees.

Jeter, who was drafted sixth overall out of Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central High in 1992 and retired after the 2014 season, also thanked his fans.

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“I want to thank you guys for pushing me, for challenging me, for making me accountable, but more importantly for embracing me since Day 1,” Jeter said. “I was asked recently by someone, they said, if you could trade places with one person, who would it be. I say this very humbly, there isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever. And the reason why I say that is because I got a chance to play for a first-class organization and in front of the greatest fans in the history of sports.

“You know, you play here in New York for 20 years. I learned that time flies, memories fade, but family is forever — and I’ll be eternally grateful to be a part of the Yankees family, so I can’t thank you guys enough. Thank you very much.”

Jeter is the Yankees’s all-time leader in hits, singles, doubles, stolen bases, hit-by-pitches, at-bats and games played. He holds the MLB record for postseason games played, hits, runs and doubles. While Jeter was a 14-time all-star, his career in New York was defined even more by the Yankees’ team success than his individual accolades. Jeter helped the Yankees win five World Series titles and 511 more games than they lost during his career, the highest mark by any position player in MLB history. The Yankees were eliminated from playoff contention in only four of the 2,747 games that Jeter played.

“In all my years covering this team, I’ve never seen a player more beloved than Derek, probably because as great a player as he was on the field, he’s an even better person off of it,” Yankees broadcaster John Sterling said Sunday.

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Jeter received a replica of his Monument Park plaque and a one-of-a-kind ring during Sunday’s ceremony. Jeter’s friend and former teammate, Carlos Beltran, presented him with a Monument Park blazer. (Beltran, who now plays for the Astros, would later hit a second-inning double that moved him past Jeter on the all-time list.)

The Yankees have now retired 21 numbers, including every single-digit number.