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Maddon, Longoria heap praise on Jeter

ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees shortstop -- and Tampa resident -- Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of the season, and on Thursday night he began his final run of games against the Rays at Tropicana Field, starting at shortstop and hitting second.

The occasion gave manager Joe Maddon and Evan Longoria cause to reflect on Jeter.

"Listen, I don't think it's ever been done where a guy's been a first-ballot unanimous choice [for the Hall of Fame]," Maddon said. "And I can't even understand why he wouldn't be, based on his career, the number of championships that have been won. And to be able to handle that whole moment, as well as in that city, under the scrutiny that he has, I don't know where the negative is. So to have a vote to put somebody in the Hall of Fame and not to exercise that vote for him, I don't know how that happens."

Added Longoria: "It's been fun playing against him. I think, without a doubt, he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the most consistent and best player that I've ever been around and played against. So it's been fun."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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