The end of an era. The Captain’s last ride. On Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014, Derek Jeter announced that 2014 will be the end of the road for him. On his Facebook page, he made this announcement with a lengthy post explaining his decision.

On his post, Jeter wrote, “It was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure. And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”

This decision is one that will impact baseball on a league-wide level. This marks the second year in a row that a player of this magnitude announced his retirement.

Last season, Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer the game has ever seen, announced his retirement. He said the 2013 season would be his last after suffering an ACL injury in 2012.

It became a league-wide effort to thank Rivera for his efforts, as each ballpark he visited gave him a ceremonial gift before each game. The Red Sox even gave Rivera multiple standing ovations when the Yankees came to town.

Jeter’s retirement is one of the more significant ones across the league in recent history, as he has been the face of a franchise that has won more World Series in the past 18 years than any other team. Statistics-wise, Jeter has had a fantastic career.

Aside from 3,000 career hits, Baseball Almanac lists Jeter as the recipient of 29 major MLB awards, including World Series MVP, Hank Aaron Award, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. He’s also racked up five World Series titles.

But on top of all this, Derek Jeter is widely recognized as one of the good guys, and that’s why this retirement will have such an impact across the league. Ask Red Sox fans and they’ll say that Derek Jeter is the only Yankee they’ll ever like.

On top of earning league-wide respect, his TURN 2 foundation helps children play sports and get active and motivate them to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

According to the MLB website, TURN 2 has awarded more than 19 million dollars in grants for promoting children to have healthy lifestyles.

Jeter’s retirement signals the end of an era of many sorts for the Yankees and their fans.

During their dominant era of the late 1990s, the Yankees had a group of four players who emerged as both fan-favorites and team leaders. Pitcher Andy Pettitte, catcher Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and of course, Derek Jeter. They all made their pinstriped debut together in 1995.

Fans affectionately called these guys the “Core Four.”

Rivera and Pettitte both retired this past off-season and Posada retired in 2011, leaving Jeter the lone survivor of the Core Four.

There is no doubt Jeter will just view this season as a going-away party.

When Rivera announced his retirement at the start of the season, he still went out and made 44 saves for the Yanks, tying the most he’s made since 2004.

He took his final season as one more chance to prove he is the best in his position, and Jeter will no doubt go out and try and have the best season he can.

On a personal level, Jeter has been the reason I love the game of baseball since I was a child.

There I was, nine-years-old at a little league game trying to dig into the batter’s box exactly like Jeter did.

I even called for time-outs the same way he did.

So sure, Jeter retiring leaves a hole in the Yankees’ franchise that will never be filled.

When his number-two is retired, the door will officially close on the Jeter era, and the Core Four era of the Bronx Bombers.

But moving forward, generations of ballplayers, no matter the age, will be playing baseball with the image of Derek in their minds, doing exactly what I did when I was a little-leaguer.

Emulating his style of play in the hopes that one day, they’ll be the best at their position and capture the hearts and minds of a city.


Ray Waldron can be contacted at

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