On Sunday, Derek Jeter joined the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Reggie Jackson by becoming the 22nd New York Yankee to have his jersey retired. The ceremony took place prior to the team’s loss to the Houston Astros in front of some of the future Hall of Famer’s former teammates, managers and coaches, starting outside Monument Park where the franchise unveiled his retired No. 2 while the sellout crowd chanted his name.
Jeter eventually made his way onto the field where he got a close look at the plaque the Yankees have dedicated to Monument Park in his honor. “As the cornerstone of five world championship teams,” it reads, “Jeter was a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, setting an example for his teammates with his uncompromising desire for team success. He retired with a franchise-best 3,465 hits – sixth on baseball’s all-time list – having played more seasons (20) and games (2,747) than any other Yankee.” The Yankees gave Jeter framed replicas of his retired number and plaque, according to ESPN, as well as a 14-karat white gold ring with a list of his accomplishments.
Here is the text of Derek Jeter’s Monument Park plaque. pic.twitter.com/lmmH9WRSOv
Jeter eventually addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support throughout his career.
“I want to thank you guys for pushing me, for challenging me, for making me accountable, but more importantly, for embracing me since day one,” Jeter said off the cuff. “I was asked recently by someone, they said, ‘If you could change places with one person, who would it be?’ And I say this very humbly, there isn’t a person or player I would trade places with as playing now or ever. 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.”
Some of Jeter’s former teammates weren’t in attendance for the ceremony, most notably Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez did, however, tweet his congratulations to Jeter, saying “Thank you for the pleasure of playing alongside you for so many years.”