The beloved shortstop shared a letter with fans on Facebook

By Michele Corriston
Updated February 12, 2014 02:45 PM
Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty

Derek Jeter will retire after the 2014 baseball season, he announced Wednesday.

The longtime New York Yankees shortstop posted a lengthy and emotional letter to his Facebook page, thanking fans and teammates for their support.

“I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I’ve never had to wake up,” he wrote. “Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee but also because I am living my dream every single day.”

Jeter, 39, made his Major League Baseball debut in 1995. He rocketed to stardom as the face of the team, winning Yankees Player of the Year five times and earning major endorsements for Nike, Gatorade and Gillette. But the fan favorite – known for being a class act – said a slew of injuries made him realize it was time to hang up his pinstripes.

“I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle,” he wrote in the letter. “The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”

Jeter says he will pursue business and philanthropy in his retirement (and, dare we say, some quality time with his girlfriend, Sports Illustrated model Hannah Davis). Above all, the New Jersey native thanked the Big Apple for loving him through both heartbreaking losses and inspiring victories.

“The people of this city have high expectations and are anxious to see them met,” he wrote. “But it’s those same people who have challenged me, cheered for me, beat me down and picked me back up all at the same time.”

But don’t count Jeter out just yet: The class act is eyeing one more big accomplishment.

“I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship,” Jeter promised.

Baseball fans, will you miss Derek Jeter? Let us know in the comments.