Yankees Captain Derek Jeter’s stunning announcement on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 signifying an end to his career in pinstripes, brings with it an end to the famous Core Four that had graced major league ballparks for the better part of two decades.
We can only wonder if the most serious injury of Jeter’s career, a fractured left ankle in October of 2012 which limited him to just 17 games last year lead in some way to this week’s announcement. Jeter has explained that he chose to retire because he wants to look to start a family, but one can only imagine if he would have begun that quest now had he played the whole of last year and posted say a .329 BA, 18/80/15 2013 season. In any case, #2, who donned the Yankees pinstripes for 20 years, will make 2014 his last. And he becomes the final member of the Core Four to retire, a group that included Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, four key players brought up through the Yankees farm system and all, with the exception of Andy Pettitte, have remained with the club for their entire careers.
Will there ever be a group of MLB players to accomplish that feat as these four did? Given the landscape of the sport today versus 20 years ago, probably not. Consider this as well; taking away Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, all who came up through the Yankees organization, and all of whom are no longer Yankees, the only player over the last decade to begin his career with the team and still remains with the team is Brett Gardner.
To list all of Jeter’s accomplishments and records would take multiple articles so we’ll just list some of them. He currently holds the following key records in Yankees history: He is 1st in Games played 2,602, At-bats 10,614, Hits 3,316, Steals 348 and Hit-by-pitch 164. In Doubles, Jeter is 2nd with 525, he’s 3rd in Runs with 1,876 and 6th in both RBIs 1,261 and Avg. .312
In addition to those numbers, he has 5 World Series titles, appeared in the All-Star game 13 times, has 200 career post-season hits, and was the Rookie of the year in 1996. Not a bad resume… Jeter was given the title of Mr. November stemming from his walk-off homer on November 1, 2001, in a game that started on October 31. That home run tied the World Series vs the Diamondbacks at 2-2.
In their last year with the Yankees, Andy Pettitte’s good-bye year was unremarkable. Jorge Posada’s could best be described as loaded with drama, while Mariano Rivera’s was typical Rivera-esque. Derek Jeter, the greatest of the Core Four players is hoping for just one more Jeter-like season. As Jeter posted on Facebook this past week, “I have high expectations and are anxious to see them met.” It would not surprise us if he did just that and even found himself performing more heroics in the post-season as the 20 year reign of the Core Four comes to a close…