Best and worst sporting goodbyes

Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:55pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Athletes have built careers on dazzling fans with their talents, but despite their success, many are remembered for their last image before walking away from the game they loved.

With New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, Reuters looks back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

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Nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his hitting prowess and durability, the six times World Series champion with the New York Yankees retired from baseball in 1939 after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. Despite a record-setting career, Gehrig is most remembered for a speech he gave during an appreciation day in his honor. "For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got," he told the hushed Yankee Stadium crowd shortly after he retired. "Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

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After suffering three Super Bowl losses early in his career, the Denver Broncos quarterback finally won the game's top prize in 1998. But rather than call it career, Elway would go on to become the first quarterback in history to end his career with back-to-back Super Bowl titles, earning Most Valuable Player honors in his final game, at 38. Elway announced his retirement weeks after becoming the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Sep 7, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA;  New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (middle) poses with NBA former player Michael Jordan (left) and Yankees former player Dave Winfield at a ceremony before the game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports