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:
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.
Derek Jeter, who is the best shortstop in Yankees’ history and has always carried himself the right way on and off the field, announced today on his Facebook page that he will be retiring at the end of the season. It will truly be an end of an era because the Core Four of Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Jeter all will have retired.
Jeter is the Yankees’ career leader in games, hits and stolen bases, and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He is also second in doubles and third in runs scored. He is one of the best clutch baseball players in MLB history and can be considered the best shortstop of all-time. He has played the 37th most games in MLB history and could overtake Mel Ott for 26th place if he stays healthy.
Hal Steinbrenner, as George Steinbrenner’s son and the current principal owner of the Yankees, knew Jeter well and remarked about how much Jeter will be missed by the organization and the fans. “He is unquestionably one of the greatest Yankees ever. He has meant so much to fans, the organization, my father and out family,” Steinbrenner said.
He hit his first career homer on opening day in 1996 in his first season as the starting shortstop and hit a homer at Yankee Stadium for his 3,000th career hit. Going into the 2014 season, Jeter currently has 3,316 hits (10th place), and if he can repeat the amount of hits he had in 2011, he will finish with the sixth most hits in MLB history. Also, Jeter has the 13th most runs scored and if he scores as many runs as he did in 2011 he will overtake Stan Musial for 9th place.
He is the model that every young baseball player should follow. He did not showboat on the field, he always acted like he had been there before, he has always treated the media with respect, he was able to make all of the routine plays (as well as perfecting the jump throw into the hole) and went out of his way to help young players. Numerous players have either chosen to wear No. 2 because of him or have chosen to be a shortstop because of Derek Jeter.
Since Jeter’s rookie season in 1996, Jeter has had his Turn 2 Foundation. “Turn 2’s mission is to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2″ healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets that promote and reward academic excellence, leadership development, and positive behavior.”
Jeter always treated the higher-ups in the organization with respect as he was known for calling his long-time manager Joe Torre, Mr. Torre, and calling George Steinbrenner, who was the owner of the Yankees from 1973-2010, Mr. Steinbrenner. Torre, who is close to Jeter, had very complimentary remarks about Jeter’s character.
“You want your daughter to marry (him). He’s just a standup guy that’s got a great deal of character, which unfortunately there is not a whole lot of those people around anymore,” Torre said.
I will now go into some of his many memorable plays throughout his Hall of Fame career that were either clutch, prove that he does anything that it takes to win or a combination of the two.
The first one was in 1996 (when I was in the beginning of my baseball fandom) during the ALDS round of the playoffs against the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter, during his rookie season, hit a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth that tied the score at four. A 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall in right and snagged the ball helping Jeter get credit for the homer. This homer turned out to be critical in helping the Bronx Bombers win the game. The Yankees went on to win the game and their first of four championships in five seasons.
A second memorable play was when Jeter made his “flip play” in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. This play helped the Yankees win their first of three consecutive games after being down 2-0. After Shane Spencer missed both cut-off men in trying to get Terrence Long out at home, Jeter appeared out of nowhere to flip the ball to Jorge Posada just in time to get Long out at home. The Yankees ended up getting the 1-0 win. This play displays that Jeter has always made winning plays.
A third memorable play was Jeter’s walk-off blast off of Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim to win Game 4 of the 2001 World Series. As a result of his vintage homer to right field, the Yankees were able to tie the series at two, and earn Jeter the nickname Mr. November. This is because this was the first time that baseball had ever been played during November. The Yankees would lose the series after it went back to Arizona, but this was yet another time that Jeter came through with a homer when they team needed it.
A fourth memorable play was the epic Jeter dive into the stands during a regular season game on July 1, 2004 against the rival Boston Red Sox. It was a 3-3 game in the 12th inning with runners on second and third with two outs. He sacrificed his body as his momentum took him to crash into the seats after catching Trot Nixon’s line drive near the foul-line. He removed from the stands with a busted chin and other scrapes on his face.
A fifth memorable play was the aforementioned 3,000th hit. He had been struggling leading up to this milestone, but Jeter had a game against David Price and the Rays on July 9, 2011 that only he could have had. He was 5-for-5 and his 3,000th hit was a deep homer to left field. The whole team predictably mobbed him at home plate to congratulate him. Jeter is the fist Yankee in their storied history to reach 3,000 hits. After he already had his 3,000th hit, Jeter was impressively able to get the game winning single in the eighth inning.
There will never be another player quite like Derek Jeter. He is a role model to kids, is one of the greatest winners in the history of sports, he plays the game the right way and is an athlete with one of the most endorsements. It would be a fitting ending to a Hall of Fame career if Jeter is able to win his sixth World Series in his final season.
Joe Torre, who won four World Series championships (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000) in his 12 seasons (1996-2007) as the manager of the Yankees, has been unanimously selected into the Hall of Fame.
The Yankees made the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons while advancing to the World Series six times. The Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series and to the Florida Marlins in 2003 Fall Classic. Torre will always be remembered fondly by Yankees fans partly because he led the Yankees to their first World Series victory since 1978, as well as their first dynasty since the late ’50s to early ’60s when the team won four in six years.
Torre grew up in Brooklyn and went to James Madison High in Sheepshead Bay. After high school, Torre was signed as an amateur free agent by the Milwaukee Braves. He continued to play for the Braves when they moved to Atlanta, then was eventually traded before the 1969 season to the St. Louis Cardinals after a feud with management over his salary and then after two sub-par seasons the Cardinals traded him to the Mets before the 1975 campaign where he would play his final three seasons of his career.
In his 18-year career, he played in 903 games as a catcher, 787 games as a first baseman and 515 games a a first baseman. He had an outstanding .990 fielding percentage behind the plate. Offensively, he recorded 2,342 hits, 252 homers, 1,185 runs batted in and a .297 batting average. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1971 when he led the NL in average, won the Gold Glove Award in 1965 and was a nine-time All-Star. This amounts to a borderline Hall of Fame career as a player.
Torre managed 14 seasons before truly making a name for himself as the manager of the New York Yankees. His only previous season before 1996 that he was a manger of a team that went to the playoffs was when his 1982 Atlanta Braves team won the their division. Other managing jobs included the Mets for five seasons and guiding the Cardinals to better records than was expected of them at the beginning of the seasons.
However, his decade plus tenure with the Yankees truly was outstanding and he proved that he could manage under pressure. The 1998 team that won 114 regular season games is recognized as one of the best overall teams in baseball’s storied history. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, who are collectively known as the core four, came of age under Joe Torre’s guidance. Those four are all Yankee legends and they speak glowingly of Torre.
He handled the bullpen very well and knew when to give a reliever multiple innings or only a few batters. It certainly helped that he had Marino Rivera for the ninth inning for all but the 1996 seasons.
Joe Torre and his wife created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which is in response to Torre being a victim of an abusive father when he was growing up. His physical abuse had been a secret for many years. He and his wife started the Foundation in 2002 to educate children about the topic of domestic abuse. The Foundation has a mission of: “educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives.”
Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were also named Hall of Famers on Monday. Below is Torre’s reaction to Meredith Marakovits, of the YES Network, on being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Without Nick Swisher and Russell Martin, the Yankees will need to utilize a more team oriented approach because they will be without two power hitters.
Since the Yankees never intended to bring back Swisher, which is understandable, they will need a full season out of Brett Gardner, who will be healthy once again. As of now, the Yankees offense outfield will be different than ones in recent memory because Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki all have the potential of stealing more than 25 bases.
The Yankees will have to return to the way that they played while Joe Torre was the coach in the late 1990s. A different player stepped up every game and they were not as reliant on the home run.
If they do this it does not mean that they will win the World Series next season like they did in a four out of five year stretch, but being a boom or bust offense has not worked the last three seasons.
The Yankees will still have Mark Teixiera, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson in the middle of the lineup. They should all be able to hit more than 25 homers, and Derek Jeter could hit 20 homers out of the two hole and steal 20 bases if he can continue at last year’s rate.
There have been rumors of a Curtis Granderson trade, but as of now the outfield will be Ichiro, Granderson and Gardner. That offense could work, but Ichiro will need to increase his power a little, which he is capable of doing.
However, a benefit is that the way that the outfield is currently constituted will mean that the defense will be better than last season because they will have Ichrio for the whole season and Gardner is a better and smarter outfielder than Swisher.
As I previously posted, the decision that will most hurt the 2013 NY Yankees will be not bringing back Russell Martin. They could have decreased the impact of this decision by signing the veteran catcher, A.J. Pierzynski. He ended up signing with the Texas Rangers for one-year, 7.5 million, which the Yankees certainly could have offered.
It was reported that they had no interest in Pierzynski, who is one of the most durable catchers. He hit a career high 27 homers last season, which would have made Yankee fans think back to Jorge Posada.
The Yankees are now left with likely seeing either Austin Romine or Francisco Cervelli start the season at catcher. They are both defensive minded backstops, which seems like it will be theme for the 2013 Yankees, since they have not been willing to spend on free agents.
Romine’s positives include being the highest regarded young catching prospect, being reliable behind the plate, while showing the ability to limit his strikeouts and throw out a high percentage of potential base stealers.
You can’t say that the Yankees will be better than last year, but with luck they could be just as good. That is all of the veterans need to perform like they are capable of and they will need to have a dominant bullpen.