Renowned Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop Derek Jeter has retired after 20 consecutive seasons with the New York Yankees.
In the third inning of his last game against the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 28, Jeter knocked in a run with an infield single, which would be his 3,465th and last hit. Only five other men in MLB history have surpassed Jeter in hits, and only 28 players in MLB history that are in the “3000 hit club.” In addition to his 3,465 hits, throughout his career Jeter logged 14 All-Star Game appearances, five Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Sluggers and won five World Series.
Jeter remarks on his departure as a bittersweet but necessary one.
“Parts of 20 seasons I’ve played in New York and 23 counting the Minor Leagues,” Jeter said in a press conference at the beginning of the season. “So I think I’ve done it long enough. I’m looking forward to doing other things in my life.”
To pay tribute to Jeter, many of the teams that the Yankees played gave Jeter gifts that ranged from a pair of pinstriped cowboy boots to a bronze Yankees hat.
“I’ll never forget how the baseball fans across the country have treated me,” Jeter wrote in his post on the Player’s Tribune. “Ballparks I used to view as enemy territory were transformed with cheers, handshakes and hat tips. If I thought baseball was part of my family before this season, I know now that it’s truly the case. And I am grateful for that.”
Immediately following his retirement from baseball, Jeter launched his new website, the Player’s Tribune, on Oct. 1. The website is intended to give fans direct access to the opinions of players as compared to having reporters distort the words of the players. During his baseball career, Jeter kept a tight mouth around reporters in fear of his words being twisted into what was not his original intent.
However, Jeter does not think that this limited player commentary is fair to the players and thinks that there should be a platform that directly connects fans and players. This way, players will not have to filter everything they say and can provide more insight.
“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows,’” Jeter wrote in his first post on the Player’s Tribune. “Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted.”
It is a general consensus among professional athletes that their public commentary is limited, for fear that the media will misrepresent them.
“I’m not a robot,” Jeter said. “Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”
Jeter was first drafted by the Yankees in 1992 and played in the Minor Leagues for three years. In 1995 he was moved up to the main team but only had 15 at-bats. The next season, he batted 0.316 and won the Rookie of the Year Award. Since 1995, Jeter has been an anchor to the Yankees, batting 0.310 throughout his career and winning five Gold Glove Awards.