Only 21 men have had their Yankees’ retired uniform number, the highest honor the organization gives a player or manager.
On Sunday night, that number will increase by one, while another group – the single-digit striped uniform club – will cloak its 10th and final member.
The number 2 of Derek Jeter will enter the pantheon known as the Park of Monuments, effectively closing the book of the dynasty of the Yankees that existed in the late 1990s and early 2000.
Joe Torre led those teams that won four World Series championships from 1996 to 2000, and although he has seen how they have honored in a similar way to Andy Pettitte, Puerto Rican Jorge Posada, Panamanian Mariano Rivera and Puerto Rican Bernie Williams, The legendary manager was thoughtful as he talked about the upcoming ceremony.
“This will be a proud moment for me,” Torres said, sounding more like a father than a foreman. “It’s very emotional for me when I think of Derek Jeter the 21-year-old boy I met in the winter of 1995-96, and is now in a position to be exalted to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot. special”.
Torre is one of 19 people who can relate to the experience that Jeter will have Sunday night as he saw when his number 6 was hung in the Bronx in 2014. But unlike the former shortstop, Torre did not grow dreaming With playing for the Yankees, so he believes that night will have more meaning for Jeter, who is 42 years old.
“It was quite powerful for me,” Torre said. “But for Derek, knowing that as a kid, all he wanted to do was be a Yankee – and he was not just a Yankee, but he put a lot of exclamation points to that, and that at the end of his tour, it’s one Of the best of all time.That’s pretty amazing when you think of Yankees history and the tradition it represents, all the names that have worn that striped uniform.Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, all of them – it’s pretty crazy ” .
Over the years, Torre has welcomed us with countless stories of how he immediately knew the type of player he had in Jeter.
“The 12 years I had at the beginning of his career, you knew that Derek was special,” Torre said. “You just enjoy what he does. As a manager, he made my life easier because you knew he was going to come every day and he was going to do the best he could.” There are 317 members of the Hall of Fame, a club Torre joined when he was exalted in July 2014. A month later, the Yankees withdrew their number, an event that, according to Torre, had the same value as seeing their Plate placed in Cooperstown.
“I do not want to say that they are the same, but I would not have come to the Hall of Fame had it not been for what happened to the Yankees,” Torre said. “The Yankees, for me, will always be the first and foremost. I could never have gotten so high had it not been for those years in New York, so that helped me become a Hall of Famer.”
The same thing happens with Jeter, whose full career played in a single uniform. On Sunday night, fans who filled Jeter with affection will have another chance to show their appreciation to whoever was the face of the franchise for a long time.
“They just want it,” Torre said of his expectations for Sunday.
Torre recalled the ceremony in which his number was withdrawn as “a little overwhelming,” although he has no concern that the majesty of the moment causes Jeter any inconvenience.
“Derek speaks from the heart,” Torre said. “I’ve prepared a few key things, but I deviate from them very often because as you are talking, other things come to mind. It’s very emotional, at least it was for me.”
The success of Torre in New York would not have been possible without Jeter, who won another championship in 2009 after Torre left for Los Angeles. When Torre’s number 6 was withdrawn, he pointed to Jeter and mentioned, “There’s only one digit left out there.”
Starting Sunday night, that will no longer be the case.