I’m New York born and raised – and no, not the city – and have been a New York Yankees fan my entire life. I lived my childhood less than 30 minutes from where The Captain caught fire as a minor league shortsop – with the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994. Not only did Jeter play in my hometown in 1994, it was also the year he was named the Minor League Player of the Year.
Like many baseball fans, I grew up with Jeter. He was and will always be my favorite New York Yankee.
Like every Yankee fan, I have my own Jeter memories. This year aside, what sticks with me most is watching my favorite player in pinstripes fall to his knees in the Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. Mr. Clutch had broken his left ankle, shattering the Yankees’ World Series hopes (no pun intended.)
No I never said that it’s my favorite Jeter memory, it’s just the one that sticks out. But, why is this the memory the most vivid one? Is it because it’s what’s most recent? No, it’s because it is the defining moment of the current state of the New York Yankees. That fateful October night, Derek Jeter the baseball player died a little. The Yankees haven’t been to the playoffs since and Jeter never returned to that dominant state. Just think about it for a second. Mark Teixeira isn’t what he once was, and neither is CC Sabathia. And both were two of the biggest pieces in the Yankees’ 2009 World Series run.
I remember exactly where I was when the shortstop broke his ankle fielding that eventful ground ball. I was in college at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. (the heart of Red Sox Nation) in my friends’ dorm room standing on a chair watching the play unfold in front of me. We were two of few Bronx Bombers fans on campus. As that play unfold I collapsed on the ground. I was crushed. I knew things were over and were going to change.
But, now we fast forward to today, almost two years later. The great Derek Jeter has played the last game of his baseball career. And I’m glad to say I got to see him play one last time this season, and the Yankees even won. I was a bleacher creature and had the opportunity to chant his name, a memory I will always cherish and never forget.
Derek Jeter, thank you for all of the championships, always running out a simple infield grounder, never giving up and showing everybody there is a right way to play professional sports.
Thank you Derek Jeter. Thank you.
MTM fans! What are some of your lasting Derek Jeter memories?