The 2014 MLB season will double as the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour.
The New York Yankees shortstop, a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, announced Wednesday he will retire after the coming season. The soon-to-be 40-year-old posted a thank you letter to fans on his Facebook page.
“I could not be more sure,” Jeter said. “I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
Jeter, a five-time World Series champion, is set to start his 20th big-league season, all of which have been spent with the Yankees. He played just 17 games last season due to a broken ankle, which in part led to his decision to retire.
“Last year was a tough one for me,” Jeter said. “As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.
“So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.”
Jeter will be the next Yankees great to hang up his glove.
Closer Mariano Rivera and lefty starter Andy Pettitte retired after the 2013 campaign while Jorge Posada walked away after the 2011 season.
The long-time Yankees captain has a career batting average of .312, hit 256 homers and has driven in 1.261 runs in 2,602 games. But his accomplishments can’t simply be measured by stats.
“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter,” Bud Selig said in a statement. “Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his – or any – era.
“Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport."