Flushing, NY—Now in his 20th season in MLB, Derek Jeter’s fame has far transcended the world of baseball. He has become a national celebrity whose name, face and reputation is familiar to those who have never watched a baseball game. As the baseball icon announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2014 season, plans in cities Jeter and the Yankees would visit began to be formulated to honor the Yankee captain.
As took place in 2013 with Mariano Rivera and in 2012 with Larry “Chipper” Jones of the Atlanta Braves, plans were in the works to honor Jeter during the final visit by the shortstop to each opposing ballpark.
Jeter has already played his final games in Houston, Los Angeles and Milwaukee, so the celebrity who never seems comfortable with the spotlight shining upon him has officially begun his farewell tour.
Jeter’s final game at Citi Field in Queens was played on Thursday evening. Two hours before the contest started Jeter was presented with gifts by the Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon. For some inexplicable reason, the brief ceremony and gift giving took place in the Press Conference Room filled with reporters and photographers at Citi Field rather than on the field in front of the more than 40,000 who attended the game.
Wilpon presented a man he called “a future Hall of Famer” with gifts “to help you celebrate the Subway Series.” These included a 52 3/8” long and 39 ¼” wide mosaic of subway-tiles with Jeter’s #2 in the center that weighs 75 pounds.
Another memento that represents the Subway Series was a 2 by 3 foot cake created by Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. The cake features a backdrop of #2 looking down upon a replica of a #4 and #7 subway car. On the sheet beneath the two cars are written Yankees vs. Mets with the replicas of each team.
Jeter spoke about his memories of playing 88 games in the Subway Series and five in the World Series against the Mets, “I have a lot of great memories here. I’ve always said the fans are very energetic on both sides. That’s what makes it very fun for us as players to go out there and compete.”
Jeter related that his most memorable times playing against the Mets were in the 2000 World Series and the first Subway Series and its build up in 1997.
Jeter known for his competitive spirit and will to win could have looked back happily upon the victory of the Yanks in that Fall Classic and his superior batting average of .364 in the Subway Series.
Terry Collins, the Mets’ manager talked about that aspect of Jeter, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch him play. He knew how to win, even when he was young.”
The third gift was a check to the Turn 2 Foundation for $22,222.22. The foundation was created by Jeter and the amount represents Jeter’s uniform #2. After receiving the check, Jeter joked by asking if it was $222.00, which stunned Wilpon.
Jeter then responded more seriously, “I think a lot of people know how much the foundation means to me, so for you to do that I really appreciate it, and I can’t thank you enough.”