Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jeter handles retirement plan his own way

Derek Jeter says that during an injury-marred season, baseball started to feel more like a job.


Derek Jeter says that during an injury-marred season, baseball started to feel more like a job.

TAMPA — Yankees captain Derek Jeter said the decision was easy and something he had known for months.

It was much tougher trying to explain why he plans to retire after this season, ending one of the most celebrated careers in the storied franchise's history.

So Jeter, 39, said he sat at home, writing and editing his thoughts on several pages of a notebook before finishing the 14-paragraph Facebook announcement that shocked the baseball world last week.

"It took a while," he said. "I could have written another 3-4 pages, but I thought I'd lose interest with people after one."

Judging from the packed pavilion at Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday for Jeter's first public comments since the announcement, a novel might not have sufficed.

Jeter made it clear it wasn't a retirement news conference. But he told the crowd of about 300 — including media, teammates and several members of the Steinbrenner family — that he's ready for life after baseball.

"It's time," he said. "You can't do this forever."

Jeter was emphatic that the decision had nothing to do with his health. But he acknowledged that during an injury-plagued 2013, when he appeared in 17 games and batted .190, baseball began to feel more like a job, and he's eager to pursue other interests, including having a family.

"That's important to me," he said.

Manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday was vintage Jeter — no tears or signs of emotion, no prepared statement. To him, it was just another day.

Jeter admitted that he never fully "enjoyed the ride," a 19-year career that has included five World Series titles, 3,316 hits, countless memories and an eventual spot in Cooperstown. He loved the game but said he hid his emotions — and some of his thoughts — by design, believing it's how he could make it this long in New York.

"I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted," he said.

Jeter said he knew for a couple of months that he wanted to retire but was advised to take his time. He wanted to make the announcement before the season, believing it would be more of a distraction if he let it linger.

Soon after a Feb. 12 phone conversation with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who told Jeter to announce the news his own way, the 13-time All-Star shortstop sent out the post on his Facebook page. "I thought his Facebook was hacked," general manager Brian Cashman said.

Jeter said his favorite moments have been winning, and he hopes to "send all of us out on top."

"I'm not gone yet," he said. "You want to be remembered as someone who played hard. The thing that means the most … is that I'll always be remembered as a Yankee. That's what I always wanted, to be a Yankee. The Steinbrenner family gave me the opportunity to live my dream.

"Once you're a Yankee, you're always a Yankee. So being a Yankee is good enough for me."

Joe Smith can be reached at


Shortstop Derek Jeter has played in a Yankees-record 2,602 games; New York was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in only one of those (at Boston, Sept. 26, 2008), according to Elias Sports.

Jeter handles retirement plan his own way 02/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    Corey Dickerson is doing everything he can to garner All-Star votes heading into tonight's voting cutoff, going into play Wednesday leading the AL with 101 hits and rapping two more his first two times up, and scoring two more runs.