Derek Jeter’s Walk Off Single Leads Yankees To Win In His Final Home Game
By Howie Rumberg
NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter didn’t want the night to end.
The retiring captain gave New York one more win with a big hit, then took two trips out to shortstop, waving to the adoring crowd each time following his final home game at Yankee Stadium.
Soon after his game-winning single in the ninth inning sent the Yankees over Baltimore 6-5 Thursday, Jeter said that he played his last game at the position. He said he would only serve as designated hitter in his final three games in Boston this weekend.
“I want to take something special from Yankee Stadium,” Jeter said in a news conference shown on the center field video board, with many fans still in their seats. “The view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take.”
As if on cue, Jeter began his last game in pinstripes with a double and ended it with another amazing moment in a career full of them.
“You can’t even dream this stuff up,” manager Joe Girardi said.
He was embraced by his teammates near second base as his Core Four buddies — Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada — came onto the field along with former manager Joe Torre.
“Sort of an out-of-body experience,” Jeter said.
Jeter pointed and waved to the crowd as he walked out to the position he manned for 20-seasons. In an image seen before nearly every one of his 1,391 games at Yankee Stadium, Jeter faced the outfield and crouched down for a moment of reflection.
He then answered a few questions, said hello to his family who moved to the front row near the Yankees dugout for the final two innings, and greeted the teammates he won five World Series championships with.
Once more he took a slow walk across the diamond, covering his face with a towel several times and waving to the crowd as they chanted his name and “Thank you, Jeter!”
All across the majors, players saluted the 40-year-old star.
“Wow,” Boston slugger David Ortiz said, breaking into a grin and shaking his head after the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay. “That’s him. Perfect. It was unbelievable.”
Moments after Detroit beat Minnesota to move a step closer to winning the AL Central, the Tigers’ clubhouse at Comerica Park came to a near-standstill in the aftermath of Jeter’s winning hit. Many players simply stood in silence and watched the postgame scene unfolding in New York on TV.
“You could see it coming when the inning started,” reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer said. “We were sitting in the lunchroom. It was like, ‘Jeter’s hitting third. He’s going to walk it off.’ We knew it.”