Farewell Captain

By Hunter Jameson


I’ve been dreading this column since February, when Derek Jeter announced this would be his last lap for the New York Yankees. Like so many other young shortstops, I pictured myself in his shoes during my own practices and games. I always loved when the ball would be hit hard to my right, so that I’d get the chance to complete the signature Jeter play. I never really thought about the game of baseball without him until he announced his retirement, and it didn’t seem real.

I was granted a Make-A Wish trip to see the Yankees play the Florida Marlins in the 2003 World Series. We arrived in Miami and instantly found out which hotel the Yankees were staying at.

The next day we went to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel and before I knew it, Jeter walked right passed us and into the restaurant where we were eating at. My mom and dad ran into the restaurant and told Jeter that I was on my Make-A-Wish trip and he said when he finished eating, he would love to come outside and meet me. I was only 10 years old, but will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

The next day we went to game three of the Series and got close to the field before the game. I had a sign and yelled his name, not really expecting him to acknowledge me because of the seriousness of the game. He turned and waved like I was his new friend and I could not believe what had just happened. That’s the type of guy he is.

I don’t really need to talk about the stats or accomplishments, but out of Re2pect I will bring up a few.

Jeter has more hits than any shortstop in Major League Baseball history, a career batting average of .309 through his 20-year career and led the Yankees to five World Series Championships out of seven chances, including winning a WS MVP in 2000. Jeter made 14 All-Star games, won five Gold Glove awards, four Silver Slugger awards and an All-Star game MVP award in 2000.

Jeter has played in more postseason games than any player in MLB history with 154. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but there are just a few pieces of evidence for any of you who think Jeter is overrated.

I was at his retirement ceremony on Sept. 7, and he was honored by greats not just from the game of baseball. U.S. Astronauts tipped their caps from space, Michael Jordan walked out of the dugout and all his legendary teammates from the championship teams were in attendance.

It was only fitting that in his last game wearing pinstripes in Yankee Stadium, Jeter drove in the game-winning run on a walk-off single. He’s Captain Clutch. He’s Mr. November. My childhood is officially over.