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Jeter Receives Enduring, Universal Acclaim

Jeter Receives Enduring, Universal Acclaim
Former New York Yankee Derek Jeter waves to fans during a ceremony retiring his number at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 14, 2017, in New York. (Photo/Seth Wenig/AP)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 12:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I am proud to say that in 1969 I attended Mickey Mantle Day. It was incredible to say the least. Joe DiMaggio was there with many others. That day Mantle had his number retired and a plaque placed in centerfield. He in turn presented DiMaggio with a plaque that Mantle said would have to hang a little higher than his. Today Derek Jeter goes into Monument Park and his number is retired.

In 1996, George Steinbrenner assigned me the duty of mentoring Jeter because he was a rookie. We were inseparable that season. He even ate spaghetti at my home with my kids who loved him. After the World Series, he gave me a baseball with the inscription, "Thank you for your help this season, I couldn't have done it without you."

Even though he could have made it without me, I thought the gesture was very nice. The following season he asked me why we hadn't hung out that much and I told him, "Because you don't need me anymore. You are more mature than most rookies I have seen come up."

I could talk about Jeter all day but that would be called a book! To say that I am close to Jeter would be a lie, however I am close enough to say that like Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson, Derek Jeter did it right and I am glad that the fans appreciate him the way that they do.

I asked some of my celebrity friends to give me a quote or two about their feelings for Jeter. I hope you enjoy them:

Jeter's Bronx Tale: "I want to wish Derek Jeter congratulations on a great career. Thank God for making you a Yankee! Enjoy your retirement. So happy you weren't 'wasted talent,' Chazz Palminteri."

An Officer (Captain) and a Gentleman: "Congratulations on your day! You were a big part of my son growing up — thank you and enjoy your retirement!" — Richard Gere.

Jeter Lights Our Fire: "Derek! I want to send a shout-out to you and your family from my own family and me on this extraordinary day!! When I heard about your celebrating today, not only your own accomplishments as an athlete, but also in honor of your family, especially your Mother, I just smiled because it so exemplifies the kind of person you are. It’s an honor for us to have been on this planet during the time of your professional career to witness, first hand, your talent as a player and your character as a human being. God bless you and thanks for the memories!" — Jose Feliciano.

A Yellow Ribbon for Jeter: "It's the only time the number 2 is number one!!! Only Jeter can accomplish that! I will 'tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree' for you. Enjoy your retirement." — Tony Orlando.

Mister 3,000: "Congratulations on your storied career. I am glad that I was able to be a small part of it when I caught number 3000. I wish you nothing but the best in life." — Christian Lopez, fan that caught number 3000.

Jeter's New York State of Mind: "Thank you for putting respect back into sports and to our children." — Richie Cannata, original Billy Joel saxophone player and founder of the Lords of 52nd Street.

Hank's Appreciation to Derek: "The pride and dignity that you always showed in being a Yankee will always be appreciated by my family and the organization." — Hank Steinbrenner.

A nice act by the Yankee team's president, Randy Levine. He showed the heart that has always been a part of the New York Yankees. It was brought to my attention that he sent four tickets to Christian Lopez, the fan that caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. Christian told me how touched he was by the kind gesture. An act right out of the Boss’ bag of tricks. Way to go!

Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017 12:37 PM
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