Updated: Thursday, 13 February 2014 07:59 | By Agence France-Presse

Yankees, commissioner mourn end of Jeter era

New York Yankees star Derek Jeter's announcement Wednesday that this would be his final Major League Baseball season had leaders of the team and sport mourning a legend's farewell.


Yankees, commissioner mourn end of Jeter era

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees looks on after striking out to end the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on September 7, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City - by Jim McIsaac

The 39-year-old shortstop posted a message on his Facebook account detailing the reasons for stepping aside at the end of the 2014 campaign, ending a two-decade career that has seen him win five World Series crowns.

"In the 21-plus years in which I have served as commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter," major league commissioner Bud Selig said.

"Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the national pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his -- or any -- era."

Jeter became a fan favorite quickly in New York, his selfless attitude and success proving an irresistible combination.

When the late Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard retired after 56 years in the post, Jeter asked him to record Jeter's introduction, which is still used every time Jeter comes to the plate.

"Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly and he remains an exemplary face of our sport," Selig said. "Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season."

Jeter's farewell will begin with the Yankees' season opener on April 1 at Houston. The Yankees also play at Toronto for three games starting April 4 before playing their first home game at Yankee Stadium on April 7 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Barring injury issues, Jeter will play his final regular-season series at Yankee Stadium against the Orioles from September 22-25 and conclude his farewell campaign September 26-28 against the arch-rival Boston Red Sox, adding another bit of history to famed Fenway Park.

"Derek Jeter has been a great representative of what the Yankees have stood for over the years," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He has been a team player who has only cared about winning.

"He has also been a fine example both on and off the field over his long tenure as a Yankee. It has been a real pleasure to manage him and play alongside him."

Jeter, the Yankees captain since 2003, has been an all-star 13 times and helped the Yankees win the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009.

"It has been an incredible honor having a front-row seat for one of the great players of all time," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Derek has been a winner every step of the way. I am already looking forward to an exciting final chapter of his storied career."

Jeter has a career .312 batting average with 256 home runs, 3,316 hits, 1,261 runs batted in and 348 stolen bases over a major-league career that began in 1995.

"He is unquestionably one of the greatest Yankees ever," Yankees majority owner Hal Steinbrenner said. "I'm glad we have this year to celebrate everything he has meant to us and all the great things he still stands to accomplish."

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