Beyond the Bison: Sports News Across the Nation Transitions

Julian Doney, Senior Writer

The 2014 season will be Derek Jeter’s last.

Baseball will say goodbye to a player that rose above a marred generation all around; a player whose greatness was truly defined not by his laundry list of statistical accomplishments, but by the winning aura he carried with him from his very first game back in 1995.

Derek Jeter is everything young athletes should aspire to be. He’s classy, tough, a hard-worker, a leader, a great player, and a winner in every way. Now that he is set to close the book of his legendary career, it’s easy to look back with awe at what Jeter accomplished and when he accomplished it.

One would argue that the baseball era that began in the early 90s and still lingers even today was (and is) the biggest black-eye in the game’s history. With so many “great” players like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and most recently, Jeter’s own controversial teammate Alex Rodriguez falling beneath the black curtain that was and is steroids, there was a time not so long ago when it was difficult for fans to have respect for any baseball players.

Through it all, just about every fan—Red Sox fans included—continued to admire and truthfully respect Jeter. Through every shot to the face that the sport of baseball took, Jeter continued to quietly serve as the face of the game’s most storied franchise and he continued to be one of the best players the game had to offer year-in and year-out.

After winning four World Series titles in five years between 1996 and 2000, Jeter’s Yankees went through years of playoff appearances without another title. Undeterred by repeated failure to reach the summit of baseball again, Jeter led the Yanks to their 27th title and the fifth of his career in 2009. His leadership and aura are unmatched by any player in his era. The rings simply solidify the claim.

Jeter watched his good friend and almost equally-respected teammate, Mariano Rivera say goodbye last season. Rivera’s retirement party lasted practically the whole season with Jeter right by his side (even while nursing a recurring ankle injury) every step of the way.

Now Jeter gets to take his final bow. He can look back with pride and satisfaction at all the accomplishments he has achieved and baseball fans can peacefully watch a clean ball player hang up the cleats—something that doesn’t happen too much nowadays. In five years, Jeter will enter the Hall of Fame and join many of the great Yankees that have come before him. But looking past Ruth and perhaps DiMaggio, Jeter might just be the best of the bunch.

For a 113 year-old franchise with 27 titles, that’s not bad at all. Jeter’s in for a fun, happy, and eventful final ride. When the sun sets for good sometime next September or October, I’ll be sad to see such a great star and man leave the game.

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