(SP) – The New York Yankees plan to honor former shortstop and designated hitter Derek Jeter on Sunday at Yankee Stadium by retiring his number.
“We felt we should say thanks to Jeter for the years he served as a solid member of this organization,” said team president Randy Levine. “Jeter never got a ton of publicity because he was just a middle infielder, without much personality, who had some pop at the plate but was never a hitter on the level of players like Alex Rodriguez. But he made contributions to this franchise and it’s appropriate to honor those.”
Asked if retiring the number of a player who was limited with the glove and never hit near as many home runs as true Yankees legends like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle is an odd precedent to set, Levin said those drawbacks are what makes putting Jeter’s No. 2 away forever so special.
“I think he can be an inspiration to other players who don’t have the tools that bigger-name players might, but just come to work every day and go about their business in relative anonymity,” said Levin. “That’s a valuable lesson.”
Rodriguez says he is glad the Yankees saw fit to honor his former teammate.
“Not everyone a team can be the star,” he said. “Kind of being overshadowed was Derek’s role and he filled it well, so I’m sure this means a lot to him. I can’t be there, unfortunately, because I’m on national TV now. But hopefully Derek will write about the day. I heard he runs a sports blog now or something. Good for him.”