They came up together, in a farm system bounty for the ages: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Together, they won four World Series Rings. Then Pettitte left for his hometown Houston Astros in 2004 and Williams retired in 2006. It was the end of an era.
But the story wasn’t over, a new chapter was just beginning. Pettitte returned to the pinstripes in 2007 and was part of a three-man rotation that helped to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 to capture a fifth World Series ring.
The “Core-Four” had its encore, another championship in the Bronx during the inaugural season of the New Yankee Stadium. However, time moves on and nothing lasts forever.
Posada retired after the 2011 season. Both Pettitte and Rivera followed after the 2013 season. Now, after 19 seasons, the Captain, with over 3,000 hits, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, a five-time Gold-Glove winner, and considered by all, even the most ardent Yankee-haters, as one of the classiest guys to play the game, has officially announced that the 2014 season will be his last.
The short stop who always played the game of baseball with respect had an injury-plagued 2013 season. That was enough for Jeter to know that it was time to move on, pursue other interests like traveling the world, starting a family, and maybe even one day realizing his dream of eventually owning a baseball team of his own.
The Captain officially announced his retirement to the world on his personal Facebook page on Wednesday.
The 39 year old will have his swan song season like Rivera did last year. His retirement signals the end of an era for Yankee fans and baseball fans alike. Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman said of the Captain, “It has been an incredible honor having a front row seat for one of the great players of all time. Derek has been a winner every step of the way.”
This will be a tough pill to swallow for Yankee fans. Jeter is perhaps the most beloved Yankee of all time, certainly of this generation. If he is healthy and plays well, watching him leave will only be more difficult. But no matter how much time passes, we will always have memories of “the flip play,” the bloody catch in the stands, Jeffrey Maier, Mr. November, and a homerun that counted as number 3,000.