It was all that winning — with grace, class and dignity — that put Jeter in the pantheon of Yankees greats. He's the 21st-century piece of a remarkable thread that stretches back, nearly uninterrupted, to Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
There is only one No. 2, and he'll surely be the last player ever to wear it for the Yankees. And one day soon, Jeter will join those exalted players in Cooperstown and Monument Park.
"He's right there. He's got to be one of those," said Mattingly, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, meanwhile, tweeted out the date of the 2020 induction ceremonies — the first year Jeter could be enshrined — "for those booking early."
But first, Jeter will take his farewell tour around the majors, just as Rivera did last year.
"I'm so happy that Derek will get to go out on his terms — and his way," Williams said. "He was as special a teammate as any player could ever have. I'm blessed to have played with him. Yankees fans and baseball fans all over the world will have a lot to celebrate this season."
AP freelance writer Norm Frauenheim in Glendale, Ariz., contributed to this report.
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