The D Zone

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kalamazoo Central alum, Derek Jeter pens Open Letter prior to number retirement on May 14, 2017

Kalamazoo Central graduate Derek Jeter was drafted #6 overall by the New York Yankees in 1992 out of high school.  Jeter became the face of an organization in the late 90's and put himself on a platform, alone.  Jeter retired in 2014 after an iconic career.

During his New York Yankees career, Jeter appeared in 2,747 games, finishing with 3,465 career hits, a career batting average of .310, and 260 career home runs.  Jeter won the Gatorade Player of the Year Award while at Kalamazoo Central before winning Rookie of the Year Award in 1996.  Jeter also was a 14 time all star, 5 time World Series Champion, and 1 time World Series MVP.  Jeter led the AL in Hits in 1997 and 1998, Runs scored in 1998 and hits in 1999 and 2012.

The New York Yankees will retire Derek Jeter's famed #2 jersey on Sunday, May 14th, 2017.  Jeter will also be added to the famed relocated, Monument Park.  Monument Park is where the Yankees display monuments, plaques, and retired numbers of former Yankees.

The following is an open letter from the Players Tribune

"New York, I want to tell you a story — about a kid who grew up in the Midwest, in a town called Kalamazoo. Quiet, unsure and at times a little intimidated. A homebody at heart. About a kid with a dream who moved to a big city — to the big city. A kid who was just trying to keep up with everyone else.

A lot was asked of that kid. And I always respected the challenge to prove myself each and every day. The lights were always bright. The pace was always fast. The stakes were always high, and the expectations higher. And in those difficult moments — those moments that feel unique to New York — you always showed me a sign.

All I had to do was look: It was a little girl’s tip of her cap, or a shout from across the street, or a rallying chant from the upper decks of Yankee Stadium that made its way down to the field. Or the support from teammates who taught me about the spirit of this city: That we’re all in this together, and we have to look out for one another.

New York, I’ll never forget how you looked out for me.

And throughout 20 years in pinstripes, I learned that despite the pace and the pressure, one code truly makes this city go: Get up each day, put on your uniform, go to work, do your best, and don’t make excuses.

That’s all New York ever really asks for.

And that’s what I tried to do.

Thank you, New York, for asking a lot of me. For challenging me. For giving this kid a place to grow up. I wasn’t born a New Yorker — you asked me to earn it. I wasn’t born a Yankee, but you made me into one.

Everyone comes to this city with dreams of being No. 1. You showed me that being No. 2 was more than enough.

Today I’m no longer that kid. I’ve hung up my uniform, and I know this much for a fact: I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. Because the truth is, no matter where you go in the world, when a place feels like home, as New York does to me, you never really leave.

It will always be with you."

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