Houston first stop on Jeter's farewell tour
Astros host Yankees for three-game series beginning April 1
HOUSTON -- Derek Jeter's goodbye tour will begin in Houston.
Jeter, one of the most iconic players in the rich history of both the Yankees and Major League Baseball, announced Wednesday via his Facebook page that he will end his playing career after this season. The Yankees open the season April 1 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park in the first of a three-game series.
Fellow 3,000-hit club member Craig Biggio counts himself as a huge fan of Jeter, who was nearly drafted by the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in 1992. The team settled on Phil Nevin of Cal State Fullerton instead.
"I guess you know all good things come to an end," said Biggio, a special assistant to the Astros. "For Derek, he's had an unbelievable career. His legacy with the Yankees and in baseball is really second to none. He's got a long of things to be proud of. I think the biggest thing is, the most important thing, is the respect he got from his teammates and the respect he got from other players."
Like Biggio, Jeter will hang it up after 20 seasons with one team. Jeter won five World Series titles, made the All-Star team 13 times, won five Silver Sluggers and five Gold Gloves and produced a number of remarkable achievements. His 3,316 hits are the 10th-most all time.
Jeter has played only three regular-season games at Minute Maid Park, each of which came during a three-game series in 2008. He was injured when the Yankees swept the Astros in the final three games of the 2013 season in Houston.
The season-opening series figures to also mark the debut of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees. Carlos Beltran, a former Astros All-Star, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury will also be making their Yankees debuts in Houston.
Biggio announced he was retiring before the 2007 season, so he knows what Jeter will be going through when he makes the rounds to different ballparks. He received several gifts along the way, including a grill and a supply of bratwurst before his final games in Milwaukee.
"I just think the biggest thing is to enjoy it, and I think it's such a classy move," he said. "If you know what you're going to be doing, to be able to announce to the fans so they can get an opportunity to watch you play one more time, that's great.
"A lot of times when players don't know or keep holding on, the fans will be held at bay because the players don't know. If they know it's going to be the end, the fans could go out and show their kids and grandkids and say, 'Hey, I watched him his whole career. He played the game the way you were supposed to play.' It's a classy move on his part. He knows what he wants to do, and I think it's just great."