Giving Us The Best That He’s Got
He never led his league in batting,
He never was the Most Valuable Player of his league
And He was never considered the best at his position.
However, he was……
5 times a World Champion
20 years as a New York Yankee, playing more games and amassing more hits than anyone in franchise history.
A certain first ballot hall of famer
And today Derek Jeter will put on the Yankee uniform and play in his 2,747th and final regular-season game.
Ironically that final game will be in Boston against the Yankee’s most hated rival the Red Sox. Normally Red Sox fans are brutal on opposing players. However, this weekend they have displayed the ultimate respect for the Yankee shortstop as they recognize Jeter as having been a worthy adversary for the past 20 years.
While I will never forget how Derek Jeter and his Yankees spoiled the title hopes of my beloved Atlanta Braves in 1996 and 1999. As a fan and a student of the game I am impressed by the clear, compelling and classy way he played baseball. Moreover, in an era of performance enhancing drugs and other evils Jeter was a model citizen. He wrote the book on how athletes should act on and off the field. What makes this feat even more impressive he did it all in the most challenging and rewarding place to play in the world, New York City.
Sure, he was never the best, but he was always the best in the biggest moments. No better example was on Thursday night when in final at bat in Yankee pinstripes Jeter, delivered the game winning hit.
Yankee play by play announcer Michael Kay summed up the moment so well “Derek Jeter where fantasy meets reality.” However, the reality of today is that this is Derek Jeter’s last day as a big league player.
Nevertheless, this should not be a day of sadness because of the ending of a career rather it should be and will be a celebration of passion, persistence, and performance. For twenty seasons Derek Jeter has done what all of us hope to do with our faith, our families and our futures – give it the best that we have.
And today in Boston, the New Yorker will give the best that he has one last time.