"The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball," the Yankees captain said in a statement thanking the fans.
Jeter reportedly called Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner Wednesday morning to inform him of the decision, but asked that Steinbrenner not make any sort of announcement until Jeter was able to break the news himself.
The decision to step away from the game of baseball comes following a season where Jeter played in just 17 games due to injuries, hitting a career-low .190 with one home run and seven RBIs. Jeter endured four separate stints on the disabled list as he encountered multiple lower-body injuries while attempting to return to action.
“I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle,” Jeter noted in his statement. “The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”
Jeter’s announcement just prior to the start of spring training drew an outcry of support from around Major League Baseball. However, none likely was more touching than the kind words delivered by Commissioner Bud Selig:
“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter. Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his -- or any -- era.”
Jeter, 39, ranks ninth all-time entering 2014 with 3,316 hits and is the owner of a .312 career batting average and 256 home runs. He is the franchise leader in games played, at-bats, hits, and stolen bases.
After winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1996, the surefire Hall-of-Famer went on to win five World Series championships.