Derek Jeter's stoic, all-business approach to baseball almost disintegrated in front of 48,000 fans to the point he was on the verge of asking his manager to replace him in his own final hoorah at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
"I don't know how I played," said 40-year-old Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the season, his 20th in the majors.
"There were a couple of times I almost lost it. The first inning I was saying 'please don't hit it to me,'".
"The last inning, I almost lost it," he added about the thunderous chants of "Thank You Derek" that rang through Yankee Stadium.
"I really thought I was going to break down. It was sort of an out-of-body experience, is the best way to put it."
Jeter, who said he had contemplated asking manager Joe Girardi to take him out of the game, was able to maintain his composure enough to drive in three runs including a game-winning, ninth-inning single that gave the Yankees a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The farewell day was emotional from the start for Jeter.
"I almost started crying driving here today. My team mates presented me with something before the game. I almost lost it, I had to turn around," he said about a painting and watch that were given to him.
"I think I've done a pretty good job of controlling my emotions throughout the course of my career. I have them, I try to hide them.
"I try to trick myself and convince myself that I'm not feeling those particular emotions, whether it's nerves, whether I'm injured or (in) pain, just try to trick myself that I don't have it. Today I wasn't able to do it."
Jeter said the crowd moved him the most, even though he has prided himself on having "a pretty good poker face".
"There's 40,000 or 50,000 fans chanting your name. I don't know too many ocucupations where that is possible," he said.
"And then the fans are chanting 'Thank You Derek' and I'm thinking to myself, 'what are you thanking me for, I'm just trying to do my job'.
"Really, they're the ones that I want to thank. They're the ones that have made that special."