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Derek Jeter's Broken Ankle Highlights Demise of Yankees' Key Three

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Derek Jeter's Broken Ankle Highlights Demise of Yankees' Key Three
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Since his rookie season in 1996, Derek Jeter has been the face of the New York Yankees.

Saturday night, Jeter suffered the most gruesome injury of his career, breaking an ankle on a ground ball up the middle in Game 1 of the ALCS, which the Detroit Tigers won 6-4. Jeter will be out for the remainder of the postseason, according to manager Joe Girardi.

The loss of Jeter puts the Yankees at a disadvantage without their leadoff hitter and team captain. The Bronx Bombers were not convincing during the ALDS, and no one knows how they will perform without Jeter.

During his time with the Yanks, Jeter has been a mainstay. He has graced the shortstop position with consistency and professionalism, earning the respect of even his harshest critics.

What has happened to Jeter is just another example of the demise of the Yankees' "Key Three" (Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera). Originally, this group—who were a part of the Yankees championship teams from the 1990s and 2000s—was called the "Core Four," but that ended with the retirement of Jorge Posada.

On May 3, Rivera was shagging fly balls during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium when his leg gave way on the slick warning track. That tumble resulted in a torn ACL, a potentially career-ending injury.

Since having knee surgery, Rivera has been in rehabilitation. In August, he told New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand that he was planning to pitch in the 2013 season.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Both Rivera and Pettitte missed significant portions of the season due to injuries.

Almost two months after Rivera's incident, Pettitte suffered his own leg injury. During his start against the Cleveland Indians on June 29, the left-handed starter got hit in the leg on a line drive that fractured his fibula

This injury caused Pettitte, who has more wins than any other pitcher in postseason history, to miss the next two and half months.

And then there was Jeter's injury.

The loss of Jeter will hurt the Yankees, but it should also be a wake-up call for the future of this organization.

Although the Yankees do have plenty of players that will be around this organization for years to come, the era that Jeter has dominated is coming to an end. Jeter may be around for a few more years, but that same cannot be said for Rivera and Pettitte. 

The generation of stars that has remained loyal to the Yankee organization during its dynasty years is starting to break down after showing incredible consistency for two decades.

The Bombers do have a team that is capable of winning the World Series this year, but with the exception of Pettitte, it will be done by a new generation of Yankees stars. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_Jordan

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