New York Yankees
shortstop Derek Jeter announced Wednesday afternoon on his Facebook page that the 2014 season will be his last in the major leagues.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, will enter his final season with 3,316 hits, which ranks 10th in baseball history, and a career .312 batting average. His accomplishments include five World Series championships, five Gold Gloves and the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Last season signaled the beginning of the end for Jeter. A broken ankle suffered in the American League playoffs in October 2012 was slow to heal and he played in only 17 games in 2013.
"So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last," Jeter wrote on Facebook. "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 percent sure."
Jeter's last regular-season game would be Sept. 28 against the Boston Red Sox
in Fenway Park and his last appearance in Yankee Stadium, barring the Yankees reach the playoffs, would be Sept. 25 against the Baltimore Orioles
"In the 21-plus years in which I have served as commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter," commissioner 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. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season."
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, manager Joe Girardi and general manger Brian Cashman also released statements.
"Derek called me this morning to tell me that he planned to retire following the season. In our conversation, I told him that I respected his decision because I know he put a lot of thought into it. I also let him know that I thought it was great that he was letting fans know now so they will have a chance to say goodbye to him.
"He is unquestionably one of the greatest Yankees ever. He has meant so much to fans, the organization, my father and our family. I'm glad we have this year to celebrate everything he has meant to us and all the great things he still stands to accomplish."
"Derek Jeter has been a great representative of what the Yankees have stood for over the years. He has been a team player who has only cared about winning. He has also been a fine example both on and off the field over his long tenure as a Yankee. It has been a real pleasure to manage him and play alongside him."
"It has been an incredible honor having a front row seat for one of the great players of all time. Derek has been a winner every step of the way. I am already looking forward to an exciting final chapter of his storied career."
Well wishes poured in from around baseball.
Said former teammate and Los Angeles Dodgers
manager Don Mattingly: 'I'm excited for him. It's kind of nice to see him go out on his own terms.''
Said longtime teammate Jorge Posada, who has retired: ''He made me a better player and a better person. I'm so proud of our friendship and I love him like a brother. Derek was a true champion.''
Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith told ESPN.com he is looking forward to seeing the Yankees star in Cooperstown.
"I'd tell him, 'We've got a spot for you over here in Cooperstown, you're certainly a first ballot Hall of Famer,'" Smith said.
Meanwhile, with the Yankees' series-ending series in Boston (Sept. 26-28) being Jeter's final games, ticket prices started soaring on the web within minutes of the announcement.
According to ESPN.com, ticket aggregator TiqIQ said that the cheapest seat for the finale at around 2 p.m. ET, before Jeter's announcement was posted, was $26. An hour later, the site didn't have anything for less than $200.
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