The announcement of veteran New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s retirement after the 2014 major league baseball season has sent ripples throughout Cooperstown’s business community. It has also triggered speculation about Jeter’s possible Hall of Fame future, and its impact on the village.
“He’s a class gentleman,” said Fred Lemister, owner of Rudy’s Liquor Store, who likened him to Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. “I lament the leaving of Derek Jeter.”
Jeter, who has played for the Yankees organization since entering the major leagues in 1995, has helped the team win five World Series and seven American League pennants. The holder of the career hits record for a Yankee, with 3,316, he is No. 10 for career hits in major league baseball, and holds the record for most hits in the postseason. Jeter also is a five-time Gold Glove winner.
Off the field, Jeter has avoided scandal, and has never been tied to performance enhancing drugs.
Jeter, 39, made his retirement announcement on Feb. 12 on his Facebook page, saying that the 2014 season would be his last, and that afterward he wanted to devote his efforts to starting a family, philanthropy and business. He also said that he wanted to help the Yankees win another championship before he left. Jeter missed most of the 2013 season with ankle and other injuries.
When asked about Jeter’s retirement, members of Cooperstown’s business community had nothing but good things to say about the longtime Yankees captain.
“He’s just a very classy player and person,” said Connie Haney, co-owner of Cooperstown Bat Company.
“I don’t think it gets any better than Jeter,” said Sal Grigoli, owner of Sal’s Pizzeria and a self-described “big Yankees fan.”
“I’m not a Yankee fan, but I am a fan of Derek Jeter,” said Lemister, who says that he roots for the Boston Red Sox.