Last Man Standing: Derek Jeter's decision to retire signals end of an era for storied Yankees

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2009, file photo, New York Yankees' Derek Jeter, left, and Mariano Rivera look at the championship trophy after winning the Major League Baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, in New York. Jeter says he will retire after this season "with absolutely no regrets," ending one of the greatest careers in the history of baseball's most storied franchise.The 39-year-old New York captain posted a long letter on his Facebook page Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, saying that 2014 will be his final year. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Associated Press + More

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.