Derek Jeter: Yankees legend had a fairy tale end in final appearance at Yankees Stadium

'Mr November' scored three runs including a game-winning single

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The Independent Online

Derek Jeter said farewell to Yankees Stadium in the finest possible way on Thursday night.

The Stadium, Jeter's home for the last 20 years, witnessed a fairy tale end to the career of one of the finest players of his generation, one who is seen as a certainty to make the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.

Jeter, now 40, is touted as the greatest to ever don the famous jersey of the New York Yankees - high praise for baseball's most successful team that has boasted Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Reggie Jackson down the years.

In front of a packed crowd of 48,613, Jeter, who holds Yankee records for hits (3,463), games played (2,745) and stolen bases (358), again produced when it mattered.

Despite 'almost losing it' because of the emotion of the night, Jeter was able to put in a decisive turn for the Yankees in front of an adoring crowd, scoring three runs, including a game-winning single in the ninth inning.

Jeter is a 14-time All-Star with five Gold Gloves; he also goes down as one of the best play-off players in MLB history for his heroics in leading the Yankees to five World Series wins.

But despite all of this, Derek Jeter, who has just three games left at Boston on his retirement tour, is not a popular player among baseball fans and many argue the legacy he will leave behind.

As the long-time captain and 'face' of the Yankees - the most and least popular of American sports teams (think Manchester United) - Jeter draws equal love and scorn.

While his longevity and winning record are not in question, his actual play does not stack up the the greats and statistically he has been an average batter and below-average in the field.

While perhaps not deserving of five Gold Gloves, his ability to make eye-catching defensive plays such as 'The Dive' and 'The Flip', the kind of plays better defenders have not been able to pull off, have elevated his stature.

Seen as an average batter, he has saved his best work for when it matters most, in the play-offs. His batting statistics were always better in the post-season, earning him the nicknames 'Mr November' and 'Captain Clutch'.

His ability to stay on the field in the grueling MLB season is also something to be admired, and he only missed major game time in two of his 20 seasons.

Jeter is the most polarising player to play baseball this generation, there is no middle ground in your stance on the shortstop - he is either one of the best ever and fully deserving of his waiting Hall of Fame status or the most overrated player of this generation.

Some of this comes from his status as Yankees captain and face of the franchise, some of it because he is a handsome man who has been linked to a string of models and actresses.

While his production on a nightly basis may be called into question, to play at such a level, under such pressure, for 20 years shows that Jeter is deserving of his spot in Cooperstown.

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