Tigers honor Derek Jeter with ceremony prior to Wednesday's game
Tiger Stadium is long gone, but part of it will live forever in Derek Jeter's home.
Derek Jeter's third gift is a long frame containing three watercolors portraying him at three points of his career.
By DAVE HOGGFOX Sports Detroit
DETROIT -- Tiger Stadium is long gone, but part of it will live forever in Derek Jeter's home.
As part of the ceremonies honoring the retiring Yankees legend Wednesday night, Tigers legends Al Kaline and Willie Horton presented Jeter with a pair of seats from the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
Former Yankees Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke presented Jeter with a $5,000 check for his "Turn Two Foundation." The three won a World Series together with the Yankees in 2009.
"The day I got called up, I got to the clubhouse just as the players were coming off the field, and Derek came right up to me," Coke said. "I'm nervous, and I've maybe talked to him twice at the minor-league complex, but he says 'Phil, this is the same game you've been playing your whole life. Just go out there and pitch the way we know you can.' I can't even begin to tell you how much that meant to me."
Chamberlain, who respects Jeter to the extent that he was near tears when he hit him with a pitch earlier this season in New York, was happy to talk about him this week.
"It's gonna be weird to not see No. 2 at shortstop," he said. "As a fan of baseball -- yeah, it's my profession but I was a fan before it ever became my job -- it will be weird to turn on a game next season and not see Derek at shortstop, just like it is weird not to see Mo at the end of games."
Jeter's third gift, presented by Tigers president Dave Dombrowski, was a long frame containing three watercolors portraying him at three points of his career. The first showed him as a high-school player at Kalamazoo Central High School, playing at what is now Derek Jeter Field, while the second had him as a young major-leaguer at Tiger Stadium and the third showed his trademark leaping throw from the hole at Comerica Park.
Before this week, Jeter had a tough relationship with the Tigers and their fans. Detroit is 3-0 against New York in the postseason, a record no other franchise can match, and all three series came during Jeter's career. He also broke his ankle in a playoff game against the Tigers and was often booed at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park.
For the last two days, though, Jeter has received an ovation every time he has come to the plate, and that didn't change during the ceremony.
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"There have been times where I've come here and people have told me I'm a sell-out or I should be playing for the Yankees," he said Tuesday. "That wasn't my choice, because I was drafted by the Yankees, but they have respect for me, because they knew I grew up here.
"I was born in New Jersey, but I grew up here. I always tell people I'm from Michigan."