Derek Jeter's Last Home Game Shows Why He's 'Captain Clutch'
The captain of the New York Yankees plays last home game with storybook ending.
— -- They don't call Derek Jeter "Captain Clutch" for nothing.
Jeter, who has always had a flair for the dramatic, said farewell to Yankee Stadium on Thursday night with a walk-off single to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5. An elated Jeter jumped and raised both arms between first and second.
After he was mobbed on the field by his teammates, he stood in the middle of the field and tipped his cap to the fans he has played in front of the last 20 seasons.
"It was above and beyond anything that I've ever dreamt of," Jeter said on the field immediately after the game. "This was a lot of fun. Thank you. Most importantly, I'm going to miss the fans."
Former Yankee manager and Hall of Famer Joe Torre and many of Jeter's former teammates from the Yankee dynasty in the late 1990s joined him on the field, including Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Tino Martinez.
Jeter finished the game with two hits, including a first-inning double that nearly left the park for a home run. Jeter also drove in three runs, including the game winner.
The game was not without drama. The Yankees had a 5-2 lead going into ninth inning, and Jeter made his way to shortstop having already driven in two runs. It was good, but Jeter wasn't done yet. As if it was planned all along, Yankees closer David Robertson gave up two home runs to tie the game at five. That sent the game to the bottom of the ninth inning, where Jeter was due up third.
In the bottom of the ninth, fans continued to serenade Jeter, hoping he could pull off one more clutch performance. With a man on second base and one out, Jeter strolled to the plate with a chance to write the perfect ending to his storied career in pinstripes. Jeter hit a sharp, opposite-field single to right that knocked in the winning run.
After celebrating with his teammates, Jeter went back out to shortstop, crouched down at the edge of the outfield grass and bounced on his toes a couple of times before rejoining the group.
He tipped his cap again and was doused over the head with water by teammates Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia. Jeter embraced his parents, who were sitting behind home plate.
After the game, Jeter said that he will play in the Yankees’ final series in Boston “in some capacity.” He added that he will not play at shortstop and instead will be the designated hitter.
"I want to take something special from Yankee Stadium," Jeter said. "The view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take."
Jeter told reporters in a post-game news conference that his final season was an emotional roller coaster.
"You almost feel like you're watching your own funeral,” Jeter said. “Appreciated the love, but it was difficult.”
The usually stoic Jeter said that he was close to tears many times during the game and had to retreat to the bathroom a few times.
"Sort of an out-of-body experience," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.