Series against the New York Yankees have always been a big draw at the Coliseum, often attracting sell-out crowds with mixed allegiances — it just goes with being the most recognizable global brand in baseball I suppose, the fans follow.
This offseason, on February 12 to be exact, the Yankee’s annual trip to the Oakland Coliseum, or O.co as it is now known, took on a bit more meaning. On that winter morning, Derek Jeter announced that 2014 would be his final season, meaning that the series to be played in Oakland on June 13-15 would be his final trip to the Bay Area as an active player (barring a postseason matchup with the A’s, or World Series battle against the Giants).
Photo-Gallery From A’s-Yankees Series June 13-15, 2014 — Taken by Brandon McClintock during pre-game warmups.
A’s vs. Yankees – Derek Jeter Farewell Tour
As Jeter wrote these lines to his “Turn 2 Foundation’s” Facebook Page, Bay Area baseball fans began to circle the June dates on their calendars:
Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. 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.
So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.
And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.
Jeter had many memories he chose to share in his letter, memories of winning World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009, being named captain of the Yankees, and the closing of the old Yankee Stadium and opening of the new Yankee Stadium.
He’ll be remembered as the All-Time hits leader of the Yankees, having surpassed such names as Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. He’ll be remembered as finishing in the top eight in hits for his career, likely higher by the time the season ends. The only names ahead of him at the moment on the hits list All-Time are Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner and Carl Yastrzemski. It’s likely he could pass Yaz before the season ends.
He’s the 1996 Rookie of the Year, a 13-time All Star (14 after this July), a five-time Gold Glove winner, five-time Silver Slugger winner, and the 2000 All Star Game as well as World Series MVP (Jeter is the only player to ever win both awards in one season).
He also holds the records for most postseason hits All-Time with 200, most postseason runs All-Time with 111 and has the fourth highest World Series batting average of All-Time at .321, behind only Lou Gehrig (.361), Eddie Collins (.328) and Babe Ruth (.326).
Jeter certainly earned the nickname “Mr. November” throughout his career with his postseason track record.
As he closes the playing chapter of his life, Bay Area fans will look back at his career and appreciate the Hall of Fame resume that he compiled, but perhaps with a tiny bit of satisfaction that he won’t be facing the local teams any more.
Remember, it was Jeter’s Yankee team that knocked Oakland out of the playoffs in 2000 in a decisive Game 5. The Yankees went on to win the World Series that year, the fourth of Jeter’s five rings.
The Yankees upset the A’s again in 2001, and it was Jeter who made the infamous “flip play” to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate. That play, which will not be shown during the A’s tribute to the Hall of Fame bound shortstop on Sunday afternoon, was one of the defining defensive moments of his career, but a painful memory for A’s fans.
Jeter’s Playoff Record Against the A’s:
Of course, the Yankee captain was not limited to the success of his 2001 postseason series against the A’s. In 157 career games against the A’s headed into Saturday night, Jeter had amassed a .307 batting average and just shy of 200 hits.
Jeter Career vs. A’s:
Ironically enough, you’d think that the .307 average was inflated by playing in Yankee stadium for roughly half of the match-ups between Oakland and New York dating back to 1996, but Jeter was actually better in the Coliseum against the A’s.
He hit for a .342/.410/.478 batting line in Oakland and hit seven of his 13 homers against the A’s in the pitching-friendly park. Twenty-five of his 103 hits in Oakland through Saturday night were for extra-bases.
Jeter Career at the Coliseum:
So as Bay Area baseball fans have flocked to the Coliseum to sell-out all three games of this weekend to witness the end of a historic era, perhaps it truly is with a bit of satisfaction that we pay our respects to one of baseball’s iconic players, knowing that this is his final trip to the Coliseum and final opportunity to add to his career numbers against the A’s.
Before the game on Sunday, the Oakland A’s presented with him a commemorative bottle of Cabernet and a visit and stay to one of Napa’s wine resorts and a check for $10,002 to his “Turn 2 Foundation.”
It was evident all weekend that there is plenty of appreciation for “The Captain” around the Bay Area. He will be missed in retirement, despite his play against the A’s throughout his two decades of baseball.
Maybe, though, replays of the “The Flip” play can retire along with Jeter and quit haunting East Bay baseball fans. While the Bay Area would welcome a Yankee return to Oakland in October, let’s just not have a replay of 2001 if the A’s and Yankees meetup at the Coliseum.
Photo Gallery will be updated with any pictures from Sunday’s farewell ceremony and pre-game.