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Yankees retire Derek Jeter’s No. 2, unveil plaque for Monument Park

Derek Jeter stands next to his Monument Park plaque. (KATHY WILLENS/AP)

Derek Jeter stands next to his Monument Park plaque. (KATHY WILLENS/AP)

Here’s to you, Numbah Two.

The Yankees paid “RE2PECT” to The Captain on Sunday night, retiring Derek Jeter’s No. 2 and honoring him with a plaque in Monument Park during a 45-minute ceremony at Yankee Stadium before a sellout crowd prior to the second game of their Mother’s Day doubleheader with the Astros.

Shop the Derek Jeter Retirement Collection at Fanatics.com
“There isn’t a player that I would trade places with that is playing now or ever,” Jeter said during a nearly four-minute, off-the-cuff speech. “And the reason why I say that is because I got to play for a first-class organization in front of the greatest fans in professional sports.

“You play here in New York for 20 years,” Jeter continued. “I learned that time flies, memories fade but family is forever, and I’ll be eternally gratefully to be part of the Yankees family. I can’t thank you guys enough.”

After the ceremony — which included his plaque unveiling on the field surrounded by those closest to him — was over, Jeter was touched by the tribute.

“I don’t know what else you can say besides thank you,” said Jeter, who is particularly proud of playing for one organization for his entire career. “This is one of those special days that you’ll never forget. This is all icing on the cake for me.”

Jeter became the 22nd player or manager in Yankee history to have his number retired. The last Yankees to have their numbers retired were Bernie Williams (No. 51), Jorge Posada (No. 20) and Andy Pettitte (No. 46) in 2015. Mariano Rivera (No. 42) had his number retired in 2013.

“It’s very fitting, for a guy that did everything for this organization, a guy that really was the leader of our group. It’s the end of an era,” Posada said. “He’s probably the last guy. He’s it. He’s the last one.”

Jeter, a 14-time All-Star, played his entire 20-year career with the Yankees, compiling five World Series championships and 3,465 hits. His personal W-L record was 511 games above .500, the highest mark by any position player in MLB history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Yankees painted Jeter’s No. 2 on the field and a pop-up shop selling Jordan Brand Jeter apparel was open across the street from the ballpark. The fans chanted “De-rek Je-ter! De-rek Je-ter!” shortly before the ceremony began at 6:40 p.m.

It featured tribute videos, luminaries and, above all, his family. His grandmother Dorothy Connors; parents Charles and Dot; sister Sharlee and nephew Jalen; and pregnant wife Hannah were all in attendance. “I prided myself on my career to be prepared at all times,” Jeter said when asked about fatherhood. “Any time I’m unprepared it makes me uncomfortable, and I’m unprepared. I’m excited, but at the same time I’m nervous.”

The biggest twist of the festivities came when Carlos Beltran presented Jeter with a Monument Park blazer, which was apparently Beltran’s idea.

Jeter was carted onto the field to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and received replicas of his Monument Park plaque and No. 2 retired number plaque. He also received a one-of-a-kind ring made of 14-karat gold.

His plaque begins: “As the cornerstone of five World Series championship teams, Jeter was a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, setting an example for his teammates with his uncompromising desire for team success.”

Joe Torre called Jeter the player you wanted in the middle of all the action. “He wasn’t the best player, but for some reason you wanted the ball hit to him or him at the plate,” Torre said.

“Derek Jeter is someone you can look at your kids and say, ‘Watch what he does,’” Joe Girardi said. Girardi’s favorite Jeter moment was “The Jeffrey Maier Home Run” in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS. “I didn’t really know how clutch he’d be for a long time,” Girardi said.

Jeter would provide many more clutch moments, including the leadoff homer in the Subway Series, The Flip, Mr. November, The Dive, reaching the 3,000-hit club with a homer and delivering a walk-off single in his final game wearing the home pinstripes.

And of course he inside-outed his speech to right for a hit — just the latest forever moment in a future Hall of Fame career filled with them.

SOURCE: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/yankees-retire-derek-jeter-no-2-unveil-monument-park-plaque-article-1.3165302

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