Derek Jeter, who is the best shortstop in Yankees history, will have his #2 retired and get a plaque in Monument Park on May 14, which is Mother’s Day. He played his final game with the Yankees at the end of the 2014 season after a career that saw him go to the All-Star game 14 times.
Before their game against the Houston Astros, Mr. November will become the 22nd player in the illustrious history of the Yankees to have his number retired. He played a franchise record 20 seasons with the Yankees and they were all at a high level except his final farewell season.
The Yankees will now not have any single digit numbers left since Billy Martin (#1), Babe Ruth’s (#3), Lou Gehrig (#4), Joe DiMaggio (#5), Joe Torre (#6), Mickey Mantle (#7), Yogi Berra & Bill Dickey (#8) and Roger Maris (#9) all have their numbers retired. They are all in the Hall of Fame except Martin and Jeter will be too in the first year that he is eligible (2020).
Jeter finished his career with four Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year award in 19963,465 hits (6th all-time), 1,923 runs scored (11th all-time), 260 homers, 1,311 RBIs, 358 steals, a .310 average, 544 doubles and a .377 on-base percentage. He also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting eight times. In only his third season away from the Yankees, he deserves to have a day at Yankee Stadium dedicated for him where his family and former teammates will be able to support him on the field and he he will be able to give a speech to address everyone at the stadium and watching on TV.
Captain Clutch retired in 2014 with a winning percentage in games that he played in of an excellent .593 and five World Series championships. He is known as a player who would do anything that it took to win on the defensive and offensive side. Jeter tops the Yankees all-time list in hits, games played (2,747), doubles, stolen bases, at-bats (11,195), singles (2,595) and hit-by-pitches (170). While Jeter was playing during his 20-year career, he was always the most popular Yankee and his jersey or shirt would be worn by fans more than any other player’s.
He will be the last member of the Core Four to have their number retired. Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte had their numbers retired in 2015 and Mariano Rivera, who has the most saves in MLB history, had his number retired in 2013 while he was still playing and was given a plaque in Monument Park in August of last season.
Bernie Williams, Jeter’s longtime teammate for 11 seasons, also had his number retired during the 2005 season. He is one of the great Yankee outfielders and helped the team win four World Series titles but the reason he isn’t included in the Core Four is because he wasn’t still on the team when they won the World Series in 2009.
Bernie Williams, who was the center fielder for the Yankees for 16 seasons, will deservedly have his No. 51 jersey retired by the Yankees tonight. He was an integral part of Yankees teams that won the World Series in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000.
He was an All-Star five times, won the Gold Glove award twice and one on Silver Slugger award. He won the batting crown with his .339 batting average in 1998, and he also scored 101 runs, hit 30 doubles, had 26 homers, drove in 97 runs, and had a career-high .575 slugging percentage. During the seven-year prime of his career (27-33), he drove in 100 or more runs five times, he had an average of .307 or better seven times, he scored 101 runs or more seven times and hit 25 or more homers five times.
According to James Smythe, Bernie “Bern Baby Bern” Williams is third on the franchise list in doubles, fifth in hits, fifth in walks, sixth in runs scored, sixth in offensive WAR, seventh in homers and seventh in RBI. He was someone who came through repeatedly under pressure and could be counted on to play everyday. He played the game the right way and had a number of clutch hits in the playoffs. He had two walk-off homers in the playoffs and his 80 RBIs in the postseason are the most of all-time.
There is a Core Fore right now, but it should really the called the “Core Five” because those four World Series championships wouldn’t have happened without Williams.
During his speech he said he wished he could be playing right now and then said maybe not. He said the 2015 version is more suited for guitar than for playing baseball. He also thanked Joe Torre for being there for him. Williams also thanked his teammates who were on the field with him for being part of the best years of his life.
He fittingly thanked the fans at the end and said that the Yankees fans are the best fans in the world. He thanked the fans for embracing him as a son as he makes his home in New York. Wiliams is happy that he is a Yankee for life. Nobody will ever wear his iconic No. 51 again.
Here is his walk-off homer against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS in 1996:
On Saturday, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui, who were teammates for seven seasons while Matsui was on the Yankees, reunited on the diamond as they participated in a charity baseball game at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo to support children affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters. Jeter has said that Matsui was one of his all-time favorite teammates. Jeter accepted Matsui invitation to come to Japan on the four-day trip to help with the activities.
When they were teammates from 2003 through 2009, the Yankees made the playoffs in every season except 2008, and advanced to the World Series in 2003, the ALCS in 2004 and won the World Series in 2009. Matsui was on the field during Jeter’s number retirement ceremony last September to show his respect for his Hall of Fame career.
Matsui, who is now a special assistant to General Manager Brian Cashman, and Jeter were managers of two middle school teams that played a three-inning game in Tokyo. Matsui’s team won the game 2-0, according to the AP.
“Jeter played a big role in all of this,” Matsui said. “The kids had a magnificent day. Hopefully, when they go back to their everyday lives tomorrow, they’ll have new dreams to sustain them.”
Jeter and Matsui, who is also known as Godzilla, conducted a youth clinic and participated in a Home Run Derby. Before coming to the U.S. to play with the Yankees in 2003, Matsui played his home games at the Tokyo Dome with the Yomiuri Giants for 10 seasons, and he highlighted the home run derby by slugging a booming homer over the right field wall at his old stadium.
The Captain enjoyed his visit because he got to see Japan from Matsui’s perspective as well as experience Japanese culture. Jeter has said that he wants to be able to do more traveling in retirement and that is exactly what he was able to do here.
This trip was made even better because they were able to raise money to help children who were hurt by the devastating earthquake/tsunami. Jeter is grateful that Matsui invited him and he was able to give back just like he does with his Turn 2 Foundation.
“It was a wonderful few days,” Jeter said. “Hideki showed me around, I got a chance to go see his hometown, I got a chance to see sumo wrestling and to top it off today was this great charity event.” Matsui was able to organize a baseball themed event that truly helped the kids of his country.
Andy Pettitte will rightfully be honored in the Bronx on August 23rd after pitching for the Yankees for 15 seasons. According to his son Josh, his No. 46 will be retired and he will receive a plaque in Monument Park. The Yankees haven’t made an official announcement yet but will likely do so in the next few days.
He will follow other other notable Yankees who have either received a plaque or had their number retired. Goose Gossage, Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez all received plaques in Monument Park last summer while Joe Torre’s No. 6 was retired during the 2014 season. It has also been announced that Bernie Williams, who won four World Series rings with the Yankees, will be honored in 2015, and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are obviously the next candidates to have a day dedicated to them at Yankee Stadium.
Torre was elected into the Hall of Fame last summer based on his four World Series championships with the Yankees, Martinez and O’Neill helped him win those rings in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Gossage pitched for the Yankees for six seasons and part of a seventh, and he was an All-Star four of those seasons while helping the Yankees win the World Series in 1978.
Pettitte was a key member of the pitching staff when the Yankees won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Throughout his career, the lefty with an intense stare could always be relied on to pitch well after the Yankees had lost a game. The 42-year-old from Louisiana who grew up near Houston embraced pitching for the Yankees, and his fire and desire helped him finish with a record of 219-127 with the Yankees.
In those 15 seasons with the Yankees (he pitched three seasons for his hometown Houston Astros), he had 15 or more wins seven times, started 30 or more games 11 times, pitched 185 innings or more 11 times and had 150 or more strikeouts five times. He could always be relied on to keep the team in the game, get an out or double play when he needed one and come up big under pressure. He was an All-Star three times, finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1996 and had a 3.94 ERA.
He is the team’s all-time leader in strikeouts (2,020). Pettitte is third on the Yankees’ all-time wins list (219), third in innings (2,796.1) and is third in pitching WAR (51.6). A case can be made that he is one of the top-three starting pitchers in franchise history, which makes him deserve having his number retired and having his image live forever in Monument Park. No. 46 will be the team’s 18th retired number, and when Jeter’s No. 2 is retired this season or next season there will officially be no more single digit numbers available.
CC Sabathia was on the His and Hers show today with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith. They talked about his friendship with Kanye West, his expectations for the 2015 seasons after only making eight starts in 2014, how he is reinventing himself as a pitcher, Alex Rodriguez’s adjustment back into the clubhouse and his opinion on a possible 20-second pitch clock to speed up the game. They also obviously talked about Derek Jeter’s retirement and how the team will be so different without his leadership. Sabathia said that he will miss the humor that he brings to the clubhouse and bench.
They went into his love of the Iron Man superhero movie and his love of Captain Crunch cereal towards the end of the interview. Sabathia is fully healthy now, and his goal is to be able to make 30 starts once again. He said that he feels great, which is obviously a positive sign. The Yankees will need a bounce back season from him to be able to return to the playoffs for the first time sine 2012.
Didi Gregorius (Mariekson Julius Gregorius), who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade on Dec. 5, 2014, recently did an interview with Jack Curry to discuss replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop and what his reaction was to being traded to the Yankees. He said that he is a player who is all about winning, wants to play hard and wants to get a ring. Gregorius (24), who is known for being elite defensively, actually hit his first major league home run at Yankee Stadium.
Penn State University played Boston College yesterday in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium and I was lucky to be able to attend the game. It was the fifth annual Pinstripe Bowl (Yankee Bowl) at Yankee Stadium, and the 2014 edition was the most exciting as it was the only one that has gone into overtime with the Penn State Nittany Lions getting a thrilling 31-30 win over the Boston College Eagles.
I was in the Penn State section and the crowd, which was likely 70-75 percent PSU fans, saw Christian Hackenberg win MVP of the game after throwing for 371 yards and four key touchdowns. He was a five-star recruit out of Fork Union Military Academy and decided to stay with the program after the sanctions were handed down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. It was the team’s first bowl game in three years as a result of the multi-year bowl ban and reduced scholarships.
With 2:12 left in the third quarter Penn State was down 21-7, but the Nittany Lions would go on to score 21 unanswered points to tie the game. The improved defensive and offensive execution gave Penn State the momentum and got the Penn State faithful to give the team the much needed vocal support.
There were two plays that caused the Penn State crowd at Yankee Stadium to celebrate with everyone around them. The first was when Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, who surely got some clutch vibes from using Derek Jeter’s old locker, nailed a 45 yard field goal to tie the game at 24. The Nittany Lions went 49 yards down the field in 1:50 after Boston College kicker Mike Knoll made a 20 yard field goal with 2:10 left as a result of the Penn State defense stepping up in the red zone.
In overtime, Boston College had the first possession and David Dudeck scored a 21-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Murphy after a Penn State missed tackle. However, my whole section cheered as a result of Knoll’s PAT that did not come even close to going through the uprights. He was only 32 of 39 on PATs in the regular season, and he is directly responsible for this loss. When Penn State got the ball after Knoll shanked the kick, Hackenberg threw a perfect 10-yard fade pass to tight end Kyle Carter in the end-zone to tie the game. Ficken kicked a perfect PAT to win the game and send the crowd into a frenzy.
The Nittany Lions offense was led by their passing attack, but Akeel Lynch ran for 75 yards on 17 carries, which included a 35-yard run where he avoided two tackles and nearly scored a TD. He is now the 42nd Penn State player with 1,000 career rushing yards.
Four different Penn State players caught touchdowns from Hackenberg and the receiver who easily topped 100 receiving yards was true freshman Chris Godwin. His 72-yard score where he avoided a tackle approaching the end-zone near the sideline gave the Nittany Lions a 7-0 lead in the middle of the first quarter, and he would tack on 78 more yards for a total of 140. DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis pulled down Hackenberg’s other two TD passes.
Jon Hillman ran for 148 yards that incuded a 49-yard touchdown in the first half, but it came in a losing effort for the Eagles. The repeated We are… PENN STATE chants by the Penn State faithful proved to give Penn State the edge as they got their first bowl win since the Capital One Bowl in 2010 (this win was vacated because of the sanctions).
After the game, the players gathered in the middle of the field and then walked around the warning track in the outfield to high-five the fans who were leaning over the wall. They made sure to thank all the fans who stayed and supported the team.
Hamilton, who had dealt with a hamstring injury the previous five weeks, made his way into my section to see his family and greet the fans. Brandon Bell, who had been injured for previous games, also climbed into my section to thank the fans. James Franklin, who is in his first season as the Penn State coach after previously turning around the Vanderbilt football program, was very excited after the game when talking to the crowd.
“You want to talk about culture? Look around, this is culture,” coach James Franklin told the stadium which was still packed with Penn State fans about 30 minutes after the game ended. After the game, Lynch sent out a tweet about how happy he was that the program was back after the sanctions were levied. “Pinstripe Bowl Champions!! “You’ll never play in post season game if you stay at PennState.” they said… Great to be back.”
More people actually watched the Pinstripe Bowl (49,012) than Derek Jeter’s final home game (48,613), which proves how diehard the Penn State fans are and how they wanted to see a Pinstripe Bowl victory. It was an exciting game to watch in person because the fans were so passionate. They were standing for basically the final five minutes of regulation and overtime.