It was a storybook ending for Derek Jeter in his final game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. In front of 48,613 fans who ventured to the Bronx to see the shortstop play one last time in pinstripes, the Yankee captain got the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning, sealing a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
An outpouring of ovations serenaded the 40-year-old Yankee legend, with "Jeter" chants intermittenly dispersed throughout the game. The closing act also capped a season-long celebration for the New Jersey-born star, but slapping a fastball to right field to end the game was perhaps the best final tribute for the No. 6 leader in all-time hits.
The walk-off single was only fitting for Jeter, who’s been aptly nicknamed “Captain Clutch” because of his ability to perform in key situations. While many have come to expect moments from Jeter like his last game in New York, numerous MLB players took to Twitter to marvel at Jeter’s sendoff.
Couldn't have been scripted better. glad I got to compete against such a classy icon. Plus, I may have given up his last homer ever.#RE2PECT
â€” R.A. Dickey (@RADickey43) September 26, 2014
â€” Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) September 26, 2014
Wow just wow. Jeter ur the man. Obviously I want to win but ur a class act and the game and ur peers will miss u more than U know
â€” 10 (@SimplyAJ10) September 26, 2014
Jeter would not have had an opportunity to get the game’s final hit, had it not been for Adam Jones. The Yankees entered the top of the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, but New York closer David Robertson allowed two home runs to tie the game. Jones started the rally with a two-run homer. Steve Pearce knotted the score at 5-5 with a two-out home run.
The 2014 season has been Jeter’s worst in his 19-year career. Heading into New York’s last series, he’s hitting just .255 with four home runs and a .614 slugging percentage. However, the shortstop looked like his old self on the team’s final homestand, hitting .353 with a home run and nine RBI.
After he rounded first base and celebrated with his teammates, Jeter was greeted by the most prominent members of the championship-winning Yankee teams from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Joe Torre were all on the field to bid Jeter farewell.
Before he left the field for good, Jeter took one final lap around the diamond to say goodbye to the Yankee Stadium fans. Below is the video of his walk-off hit and the aftermath.