My father was in New York City, waiting to ship out to Europe in the second World War. People couldn't do enough for the troops, so someone gave him tickets to a Dodgers/Yankees World Series game. And he decided that whoever won would be 'his team'.
The Yankees won.
So, I grew up in southern West Virginia rooting for my father's team--the Yankees.
I remember being under the covers with my little transistor radio, hearing every third word from a Yankees broadcast.
But all things considered, I could have done much, much worse. What if he'd been given tickets to a Chicago Cubs game, for goodness sake?
The late news on Channel 6 is Bluefield, had a sports reporter that begin his segment by saying, "Let's see who the Yankees clobbered."
Being a kid in the mid-50's, rooting for the Yankees was like Christmas every day. I grew up with Mantle, Maris, Berra, Skowren, Whitey Ford, Andy Carey, Bobby Richardson, Elston Howard, Ralph Terry...on and on, one the great dynasties of sports history.
And I've loved the Yankees ever since.
Then came the Joe Torre years and Pettit, Posada, Mariano and Jeter.
Tonight is Derrik Jeter's last game at Yankee Stadium. I've been watching it on and off, trying to be there when Jeter is batting.
He doubled and scored a run in his first at bat.
He started a double play that was deemed true by video replay.
He had a walk-off single in the 9th to win the game 6-5.
He is the Captain. He is the man. After tonight he'll never play in New York again, except in Old Timers' Games.
Only five people of the thousands and thousands who've played major league baseball have more hits.
Pete Rose, much maligned, and Ty Cobb both have over four thousand hits.
Hank Aaron, Stan the Man Musial and Tris Speaker are the only other three that have more hits in their career than Derrik Jeter.
He walked the walk and talked (when he spoke) the talk.
He gave me so much and all I've given him is my admiration and applause.
Tonight in the Bronx, a era ends.
I will miss him so. Many will.
He was the definition of dependable.
Not a bad thing to be.
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