Dear Commons Community,
It was a sad but incredible night for baseball and New York last night as almost 50,000 fans watched Derek Jeter play his last game at Yankee Stadium. There were tears everywhere (players, the manager, family, and Derek Jeter) as he concluded his twentieth season as a player.
Yankee fans have been dreading this moment for much of this season. My grandson, Michael, and I attended a, game in July at the Stadium with my colleague here at the Graduate Center, Steve Brier. In August, I attended a game to watch No. 2 again. This time it was with one of my doctoral students, Lee Gabay, his father and girlfriend. Earlier, this week Lee sent me the youtube video above which captures much of the emotion that New York Yankee fans feel for the greatest player of this era. I especially like the scenes where he is walking in the South Bronx talking to children and young people.
The Yankees have meant a lot to me throughout my life. Earlier this year I posted on this blog:
“I have been a Yankee fan my entire life and was born and raised several blocks from Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx. With my brothers, I saw all the great teams and players of the 1950s, the down years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the comeback years under the ownership of George Steinbrenner. I have to put Derek Jeter as the best all-around Yankee that I have ever seen. Hitting, fielding, running the bases, and making clutch plays – he could do it all! Tyler Kepner, the New York Times sports correspondent, has an article today entitled: Derek Jeter Lived a Dream, and Never Disappointed! How true!”
I will surely miss the voice of Yankee announcer, Bob Sheppard, who died in 2010. Nicknamed “The Voice of God” for his stylish introductions, Sheppard was the ballpark’s public address announcer from April 1951 until September 2007. Before Sheppard took ill, Jeter asked Sheppard to record his introduction, which has been used when the Yankees’ captain walks to the plate for home games. Yankee fans will never forget Sheppard’s elegant:
“Now batting for the Yankees – Number 2 – Derek Jeter – Number 2!”
I can go on but as the game last night concluded with Derek Jeter getting the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning I thought about Tina Turner’s classic lyrics: “Simply the best. Better than all the rest. Better than everyone”
The Yankees will have a new shortstop next year but Derek Jeter will never be replaced.