Jeter to retire after this season

Feb. 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter Wednesday said 2014 would be his last "playing professional baseball."

Jeter, 39, posted a lengthy letter on his Facebook page announcing his intention to make the upcoming season in his final as a baseball player. He's played 19 years in major leagues -- all with the New York Yankees.

In that time he's amassed 3,316 hits, which is ninth most all-time. He's a career .312 hitter with 256 home runs and 1,261 runs batted in. His first major award was the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year Award and since then he's been named to 13 All-Star teams, won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger honors.

The Yankees won the World Series five times with Jeter on the team.

Jeter's Facebook posting said he told family and friends "months ago" that he would likely retire after 2014. He said he was advised to wait to make an announcement until he was sure.

"And the things is, I could not be more sure," Jeter wrote. "I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball."

Jeter started his post with a "thank you." He concluded by saying, "I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life."

Jeter is returning to the Yankees after a season in which injuries limited him to 17 games.

It is the second consecutive season the Yankees will have a "farewell tour" for a sure Hall of Fame player. In 2013, it was reliever Marino Riviera, who owns the record for more career saves. One of the biggest moments of last season was when Riviera was pulled from his final appearance in Yankee Stadium, with Jeter and Andy Pettitte going to the mound to make the change. Pettitte also retired after the 2013 season.

Jeter's note said New York fans always pushed him to be my best.

"I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up," Jeter wrote. "Well, for some reason, I've never had to wake up. Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee but also because I was living my dream every single day. ...

"From the time I was a kid, my dream was also very vivid and it's never changed: I was going to be the shortstop for the N.Y. Yankees. It started as an empty canvas more than 20 years ago and now that I look at it, it's almost complete. In a million years, I wouldn't have believed how beautiful it would become."

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