Wrigley chum: Derek Jeter honored in final visit to North Side
By TONI GINNETTI For Sun-Times Media May 20, 2014 9:40PM
Updated: June 24, 2014 6:40AM
Ernie Banks, a Hall of Fame shortstop, came to Wrigley Field on Tuesday to see shortstop Derek Jeter, who will be a Hall of Famer.
“I run into Ernie a lot,’’ Jeter said. “I just saw him this last offseason. He treated me well when I was first coming up. You always remember how someone makes you feel when you first meet him, so I’ve always appreciated how he treated me.’’
The Cubs presented Jeter with a No. 2 from the Wrigley scoreboard.
The presenter was the Cub who would most like to emulate Jeter — shortstop Starlin Castro.
“If someone appreciates how you play the game and carry yourself, it makes you feel good,’’ Jeter said before the game. “I haven’t seen Castro play a lot, but the times I have, he has a lot of talent and a bright future. I wish him all the luck.’’
The Yankees coming to Wrigley is an event in itself, but coming during the park’s 100th anniversary celebration and in Jeter’s final season made it even more eventful.
“You think about everything that’s happened here, the 100th year, the fact they’re going to celebrate Jeter here, to be able to come back to the park — and you look around and there’s new things but the place looks great,’’ said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
“[Jeter has] been a great ambassador for the game, and you hope someone picks up the torch after he hands it off this season. But the way he’s been treated in each ballpark has been nice, and when you see how he’s been treated in every ballpark, you don’t forget how wonderful for the game he’s been over the 20 years.’’
Jeter’s career numbers are astounding. He has the most hits (3,353 and counting) and has played in the most games (2,639 and counting) for the Yankees. He also is their only 20-year player.
“He is the ultimate, consummate professional,’’ Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “Always solid preparation, and I think a solid mindset. He stuck around the league for a long time, and he’s a Hall of Famer, obviously. That hasn’t happened by accident. He’s been gifted with probably a very great mind, a great sense of the game, a great work ethic. Those are just things we think we see from the outside.’’
Getting a part of Wrigley Field brought back memories for Jeter of growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“I remember my last day of high school, we drove here with my class,” he said. “Unfortunately, I only played here once [a three-games series in 2003 in which he went 2-for-11]. But I’m a baseball historian, so I appreciate the fact there’s a lot of history that comes along with the ballpark, and I’m glad I get an opportunity to be here.’’