Of course, it ended with drama. Of course, it ended with flair. Of course, it ended with clutch.
Derek Jeter’s iconic career in the Bronx couldn’t have ended more fittingly than with a walk-off single to right from the king of the inside-out single to right, in his last home game. That single may be the coolest hit of his career. Then again, maybe it was the home run for his 3,000th hit, or perhaps the Mr. November homerun in the 2001 World Series. Jeter’s career has too many iconic moments to count, from “The Flip” in the 2001 ALDS, to his memorable catch diving into the seats. Starting with Rookie of the Year in 1996, through 14 All Star games and 5 World Series championships, the Yankee Captain hustled and played the game so all baseball dads could tell their sons to do it like Jeter. He was the face of the Evil Empire, but he was just too good a person to dislike him, even though we all wanted to. He didn’t earn a single ejection in his entire 2,902 game career, postseason games included. Jeter epitomized the Yankee winning way-he played just 4 games with his Yankees mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (3 of those games came in this final year of his career). In his record 158 career playoff games, almost a full season, the Yankee captain compiled 200 hits, 20 homers, 18 steals, a .308 batting average, a .374 on-base percentage and an .838 OPS. Only five players, one being Jeter, have played even a full regular season like that, and Jeter did it under the bright lights, against the best pitchers in the league in October. An elite player in Major League Baseball, in the nation’s biggest media markets, Jeter formed a legacy of mastery for avoiding scandal and evading the media. It wasn’t until Jeter said “Don’t cry” as he stepped into the Yankee stadium right handed batter’s box for the final time that the Yankee captain’s emotional side revealed itself.
So when Jeter exited his final Major League game after an infield single, the last pages closed on one of baseball’s best storybook careers of all-time, a career marked by clutch performances and Hollywood moments that we will never forget faded into the sunset. So Derek, thank you for the memories, and goodbye— you will be missed.