As I’m sure any conscious baseball fan already knows, 2014 will be legendary Yankee Derek Jeter’s final season. As sad as the MLB will be, Jeter leaves behind a legacy that current and future players can look up to– and even build on.
If the Pittsburgh Pirates actually had a ship, and that ship also happened to be a time machine, I’d probably snag it in the middle of the night and take myself for a joyride through time. My first destination: May 29, 1995. Sure, I would probably love to catch the Grateful Dead concert that night at Portland Meadows, but the professional reason for my trip would be to catch Derek Jeter’s first career game in the majors.
This particular night was one of rest for the Pirates. They had just finished a losing series to the Colorado Rockies, bringing their overall record to 12-16. They finished the season in last place, as was characteristic of the ball club at the time. May 29 was exactly one month after Buc’s starter Esteban Loaiza made his debut in the majors, who put up decent numbers before leaving the MLB to play in his native Mexico.
Other notables on the team included pitcher Mike Maddux (brother of four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux), south-paw ace Danny Neagle, and third-baseman Jeff King, who led the 1995 Pirates in home runs with a sorrowful 18. There are currently no players on the Pirates that were also on the ’95 squad.
Now in 2014, modern legend Derek Jeter will make his final Opening Day appearance– one that will see no shortage of tears. Let his statistics live on, and his charismatic, example-led inspiration live even longer. Thank you, Mr. Jeter, for proving to the world that fame and fortune do not ruin everyone.