ST LOUIS — Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith created his arms and adopted Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter at home plate.
Smith would be a welcoming veteran in 1996 when Jeter was breaking into the actual Majors, just as he himself seemed to be headed for retirement. On Wednesday, Smith extended a pleasant again, this time to Saint. Louis, yet another stop on Jeter’s good bye tour.
‘He’s always treated myself good, especially when I was the younger player,’ Jeter said of Smith. ‘He’s a guy that we admire; I admire the career. When you’re a young gamer, you remember how folks treat you, and Ozzie generally treated me well.’
Standing ovations via fans and gifts from organizations have marked each and every stop of Jeter’s tour throughout the Majors during his final season. That continued at Busch Stadium about Monday, when the Cardinals honored them prior to the series opener.
Jeter had been presented with Stan Musial cufflinks, as well as a $10,1000 donation to his Switch 2 Foundation on behalf of your Cardinals organization.
The cufflinks, designed by neighborhood artist Don Wiegand, are not for sale to the public. They show a bas relief of Musial that’s commissioned to support the non-profit efforts of the Wiegand Foundation inside the 1990s.
‘It’s much appreciated,In Jeter said of the sendoffs he has obtained. ‘It’s not something that’s anticipated, like I’ve said. I do not go in anticipating anything. The way the fans have treated me pretty much everywhere we’ve gone, it’s something that I’ll try to remember. It’s been overwhelming at times.’
Prior to Monday, Jeter played three regular-season video games in St. Louis during his 20-year job; the Cardinals won two of a few at the previous Busch Stadium with 2005. Jeter also played because an American League All-Star in 2009, considered one of 13 All-Star appearances.
Monday marked a particular moment as the two traditional franchises met again.
‘There’s many history and a lot of tradition in St. Louis,’ Jeter said. ‘This is really a baseball town. Everywhere you go, you see Cardinals stuff. It’s a fun spot to play from what I fully grasp, what people have told me.’
Jeter, at the same time, continued to draw compliments from those who have watched his career from afar. Cardinals manager Scott Matheny, who was in the Majors for 12 seasons during Jeter’s career, seemed to be among those who greeted your pet at the plate on Monday.
‘It’s breathtaking, actually, to be in that industry, under that microscope, and carry himself and be this type of great ambassador for the game,’ Matheny said. ‘He’s got a lot to become proud of.’
Cardinals reliever Randy Choate, who played in New York from 2000 for you to 2003, watched Jeter’s work up close up for parts of four times. And although Jeter’s 3,362 career strikes — the most by a shortstop — stand out to many people, for Choate, Jeter’s legacy is about a lot more than numbers.
‘He wanted to be a Yankee from the time he was drawn up,’ Choate said. ‘I don’t want to declare he acts appropriate, that’s probably the best way to put it. He / she comes in, doesn’t get in trouble, is going about it the right way. You don’t find him doing things they shouldn’t be doing. He’s often appropriate, and he leads through example.
‘When you play with them, you want to play like your pet. He’s just always completed it right.’