Derek Jeter announced in a bittersweet Facebook post today that the 2014 season will be his last as a professional baseball player.
The 39-year-old from Kalamazoo, Mich., became the Yankees’ shortstop in his rookie year in 1995, and he will retire in pinstripes. During his time as a Bronx Bomber, the Yankee captain led his team to five world series championships and was an indefatigable force on the field. But recent injuries, including a fractured left ankle in 2012, led him to re-examine how much longer he would remain in the majors.
“Last year was a tough one for me,” Jeter said in the announcement. “As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”
Jeter said that he began considering retirement months ago but held off on making a decision until he was certain it was the right move.
“And the thing is, I could not be more sure,” he said. “I know it in my heart.”
He thanked his friends, family, and coaches for their support through 19 seasons as a Yankee.
“I also couldn’t have done it without the people of New York,” he said. “NY fans always pushed me to be my best. They have embraced me, respected me and have ALWAYS been there for me.”
Jeter, who, from the time he was a kid, dreamed of becoming a Yankee, said he now has “new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges.”
“There are many things I want to do in business and in philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.”
One of those business endeavors will be Jeter Publishing, an imprint he is founding in partnership with Simon & Schuster that will put out a variety of titles, including nonfiction for adults and picture books for children.
As usual, though, the shortstop is staying focused. The season, after all, is still ahead of him.
“I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life,” he concluded. “And most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship.”