Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – The New York Yankees celebrated the career of Derek Jeter, honoring the retiring shortstop with a ceremony before Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.
Former teammates, family members and special guests were in attendance for the nearly 45-minute tribute.
“I’ve had the greatest job in the world. I got to be the shortstop of the New York Yankees and there’s only one of those,” Jeter said in remarks to conclude the ceremony.
Among the former teammates in attendance were Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill and Mariano Rivera. Martinez and O’Neill were honored by the Yankees earlier this year with plaques in the stadium’s Monument Park, while Rivera had his number retired last September in a ceremony similar to Sunday’s proceedings while he was closing his brilliant career.
Jeter’s number, however, was not retired. It will most definitely occur in the near future.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre was also present. Torre had his No. 6 retired by the Yankees last month.
Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield and Cal Ripken Jr. were also on hand, as was basketball legend Michael Jordan.
The Yankees presented a number of gifts, including a trip to Tuscany in Italy and a check of $222,222.22 from the Steinbrenner family for Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation — the No. 2 of course representing his uniform number.
“I want to thank the Steinbrenner family for the opportunity to play for the only organization I wanted to play for,” Jeter also said.
After acknowledging his teammates, he also thanked the fans.
“I want to thank you, the fans,” he said. “Everyone here today and watching at home, and anyone who’s ever been here or watched me over the last 20 years, thank you very much. I want to thank you for helping me feel like a kid the last 20 years.
“I’ve loved what I’ve done and loved what I do, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.
“Now we’ve got a game to play.”
Jeter announced his plans to retire in February.