TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) – Legendary New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter met with the media for the first time this year since announcing he was going to retire at the end of the 2014 season.
“You can’t do this forever. I’d like to, but you can’t do it forever, and I feel as though the time is right after this year,” Jeter said. “There’s some things I look forward to doing.”
It was the start of a season-long goodbye for Jeter who has manned the infield for 20 years and could quite possibly simply be known as the Captain.
“I know I haven’t really been as open with some of you guys as you would have liked me to be over the last 20 years, but that’s by design,” Jeter said of his sometimes testy relationship with the media. “It’s just that’s the way I felt as though I’d be able to make it this long in New York.”
While once a mainstay in the Yankees infield, Jeter has been hampered in recent seasons by injury and played in just 17 games last season. In those 19 games, he finished with a .190 average with one home run and seven RBI’s.
Jeter, who has etched his place in Yankees history, was almost the anti-star at times. His play on the field defined him and even when Alex Rodriguez arrived, he still took a second place role to Jeter.
“But I felt as though it was the right time. I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Jeter said. “This will be parts of 20 seasons that I’ve been playing here in New York and parts of 23 if you count the minor leagues. So I just think I’ve done it for long enough, and I look forward to doing some other things in my life.”
Jeter is a 13-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove shortstop who led the Yankees to World Series titles in 1996, ’98, ’99, ’00 and ’09. Jeter enters his 20th big league season with a .312 average, 256 homers and 1,261 RBIs
“This has nothing to do with how I feel physically,” he said. “Everyone I told when I first started speaking about this with family and friends, they all told me to make sure you take your time, don’t base this decision on what happened last season, wait until you’re healthy and then make the decision. So this has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel physically. Physically I feel great and I’m looking forward to playing a full season.”
The only single digits not retired by the Yankees will be soon: Jeter’s No. 2 and Joe Torre’s No. 6.
“The thing that means the most to me is being remembered as a Yankee, because that’s what I’ve always wanted to be, was to be a Yankee,” Jeter said, “and I have to thank the Steinbrenner family that’s here today and our late owner, the Boss, because they gave me an opportunity to pretty much live my dream my entire life. And the great thing with being a Yankee is you’re always a Yankee. So in that sense it never ends.”
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)