- (Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)
Derek Jeter, current team captain of the New York Yankees, has been receiving an outpouring of support from fans and fellow athletes after he announced his plans for retirement from baseball on Wednesday.
One compliment that has especially resonated with the Yankees fan base came from Albert Pujols, first baseman for the Anaheim Angels, who told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview that Jeter is comparable to Jesus.
"On and off the field, he's the way you want your kids to grow up. Only Jesus is perfect, but he's pretty close to that guy," Pujols said of the star athlete.
Jeter has also received immense support from fellow athletes and managers in the MLB, including Joe Torre, who was Jeter's manager for the first four World Series titles of the athlete's career. Torre said via Twitter: "Congrats to Derek Jeter on the announcement of his retirement today! A class act and character both on & off the field. A role model to many!"
Tony Clark, former teammate of Jeter, also released a statement praising the athlete's talent and kind personality. "For nearly 20 years, there has been no greater ambassador to the game of baseball than Derek Jeter," Clark, who is now executive director of the players' union, said in a statement. "Derek has set the standard that we should all strive to achieve."
Josh Reddick, outfielder for the Oakland Athletics team, also tweeted a heartwarming tribute to Jeter, saying: "Derek Jeter was my first wow moment on field my first year. Came up to me and patted me on the back & said "welcome and congrats." #rolemodel."
Jeter announced his retirement from the MLB on Facebook earlier this week, saying that baseball has become less fun and more of a job for him due to recent injuries, and therefore he feels it is time to retire at the end of the 2014 season. His announcement has prompted a huge spike in Yankees ticket prices and saddened responses from Yankee fans.
"Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily for me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. 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 said in his letter to the fans.
"The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball." Jeter has played 19 seasons with the New York Yankees and is a five-time World Series champion.