Source: AP Exchange
Derek Jeter held a microphone and spoke without notes to the crowd that filled sold-out Yankee Stadium. His No. 2, the last of the single digit pinstripes, had been retired and a plaque in his honor dedicated that will be placed in Monument Park alongside tributes to Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and the rest of the team’s greats.
“There isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever,” he told the fans.
Three years removed from a big league career that spanned 1995-2014, Jeter personally picked Mother’s Day for his tribute. His grandmother, parents, sister, nephew and pregnant wife joined him for the ceremony, and he laughed when he saw the plaque , which reads “DEREK SANDERSON JETER/’THE CAPTAIN’/”MR. NOVEMBER'” and goes on to call him “THE CORNERSTONE OF FIVE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS” AND “A LEADER ON THE FIELD AND IN THE CLUBHOUSE, SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR HIS TEAMMATES WITH HIS UNCOMPROMISING DESIRE FOR TEAM SUCCESS.”
Now 42, Jeter captained the Yankees during his final 12 seasons, capping a career that included five World Series titles, a .310 batting average and a New York-record 3,465 hits. He is the 22nd player to have his number retired by the Yankees, by far the most among major league teams.
“I want to thank my family for their love, support, honesty and more importantly their presence at everything I did both on and off the field,” he said during a three-minute speech that ended the 40-minute ceremony. “And the fans — wow — I want to thank you guys for pushing me, for challenging me, making me accountable, more importantly for embracing me since day one.”