Derek Jeter is honoring New York City days before the Yankees retire his No. 2 jersey number at the Stadium.
Jeter wrote an essay on his Players’ Tribune website Thursday titled “Thank You, New York.” Jeter describes himself as a kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was “quiet, unsure and at times a little intimidated” upon coming to New York to start his 20-year career with the Yankees.
“A lot was asked of that kid,” Jeter wrote. “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.”
Jeter’s first full season was in 1996, when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award and helped the Yankees win the World Series.
In the essay, Jeter thanks New York for looking out for him.
“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,” Jeter wrote.
“That’s all New York ever really asks for. And that’s what I tried to do.”
Jeter goes on to thank New York for challenging him and giving him a “place to grow up.”
The presentation includes a video of Jeter and various New Yorkers reciting the essay.
“I wasn’t born a New Yorker — you asked me to earn it,” Jeter wrote. “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.”
Jeter retired after the 2014 season with 3,465 hits and a .310 average. The Yankees will retire his No. 2 in a ceremony before Sunday night’s game against the Astros.