© Getty/AFP Al Bello
(AFP) - After a week packed with celebration and sentiment, iconic
Yankees captain Derek Jeter played his last Major League Baseball game
on Sunday, a contributor up to the last.
Honored by the Boston
prior to the season finale between the bitter American League East
rivals, Jeter played as designated hitter in the Yankees' 9-5 victory
over the Red Sox.
In his first at-bat he smacked a line drive off
Boston starting pitcher Clay Buchholz in the first inning, but it was
straight to shortstop Jemile Weeks.
In the third frame, with a
runner on third, Jeter chopped a ball toward third and legged out the
infield single that scored Japan's Ichiro Suzuki.
Joe Girardi motioned toward Jeter at first to see if he wanted to exit
for a pinch runner, and the Yankees captain jogged off the field for the
"It's the end of an era," Girardi had said before the game.
As he departed, Jeter received a thunderous ovation from Boston fans.
had thought he might skip the final three games of the season in
Boston, after delivering the winning single for a storybookd finish to
his emotional last home game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
But Jeter said he wanted to play, in deference to Boston fans and the storied rivalry between the teams.
Red Sox thanked him with a thirty-minute pre-game ceremony that
included such Red Sox greats as Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn,
Luis Tiant, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
A trio of Boston
legends from other sports -- Bobby Orr of the NHL's Bruins, Paul Pierce
of the NBA's Celtics and Troy Brown of the NFL's Patriots -- also took
part in the ceremony, in which the entire current Red Sox team came out
of the dugout to shake hands with Jeter.
Jeter finished his 20-year career with 3,465 hits -- sixth on Major League Baseball's all-time list.
A five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star, he finishes his career as a .309 lifetime hitter in 2,747 games.