Jeter, beloved as symbol of what is good in the game
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - From an era of muscle-bound sluggers tarnished by doping scandals, Derek Jeter emerged as a symbol of what is good in baseball, the ultimate winner of his generation.
Jeter will play his last regular season home game in the Bronx on Thursday in what is sure to be an emotional night for a player about to take his place in the pantheon of Yankee greats alongside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Beyond Jeter's all-round on-field ability, the 14-time All-Star is admired for the way he played the game, how he carried himself and the dignity with which he represented the sport.
Some consider the classy shortstop not only the face of the New York Yankees, but of all Major League Baseball.
"He is the walking example of what's good in baseball," said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, former skipper of New York's bitter rivals, the Red Sox.
Jeter, 40, played in the shadow of splashier figures of the day including Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez, who dominated attention as they set or threatened cherished home run records.
But while they all fell from grace through association with performance enhancing drugs, Jeter's steady, honest brilliance endeared him to fans.
Unlike the sluggers, Jeter was not known for blasting prodigious home runs from the middle of the order. Continued...