In a long letter posted on his Facebook page, the 39-year-old shortstop, who played just 17 games in 2013 and has battled nagging injuries in recent seasons, made it clear that 2014 will be his last in professional baseball:
Naturally, Twitter exploded.
Many were in shock. Bleacher Report MLB lead writer Zachary D. Rymer was one of many baseball lovers struggling to come to grips with the reality:
Slowly..processing...Derek Jeter...news...— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) February 12, 2014
After Twitter got over the initial shock, the reaction shifted to one of admiration as writers, analysts and fans began singing Jeter's praises on the popular social media site:
I can't think of a lot of professional athletes I've enjoyed watching more than Derek Jeter. Great player. Phenomenal leader. #Yankees— Robert Harding (@robertharding) February 12, 2014
Really glad I had the privilege to see Derek Jeter play. There will never be another like him #TheCaptain— Ralph Garza (@RG1334) February 12, 2014
Erik Boland of Newsday passed along these quotes from Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, who spoke about Jeter's career:
Cashman:"It has been an incredible honor having a front row seat for one of the great players of all time."— Erik Boland (@eboland11) February 12, 2014
Hal S on Jeter:"He is unquestionably one of the greatest Yankees ever.He has meant so much to fans, the organization, my father& our family"— Erik Boland (@eboland11) February 12, 2014
NFL.com fantasy editor Michael Fabiano was among the many hoping for one last title run for Captain Clutch:
So this will be the last season for Derek Jeter. One of the all-time greats. Hope the Yankees send him out on a high note...— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) February 12, 2014
The Yankees failed to reach the playoffs in 2013, but Jeter has won five World Series championships with the team since making his debut back in 1995. He also earned World Series MVP honors in 2000.
As ESPN Stats & Info points out, if the Yankees don't make the playoffs in 2014, Jeter's last game ever could potentially come against the rival Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park:
Derek Jeter could potentially play his last career game at Fenway Park. The Yankees and Red Sox play a 3-game series Sept. 26-28.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2014
Even opposing fans were quick to express their sadness over Jeter's decision:
I'm no Yankee fan but I am a baseball fan & am going to be sad when Derek Jeter is not at SS for the NYY. 1 of the best of my generation.— Kyle Head (@kylehead8) February 12, 2014
Former Missouri basketball star Kim English is already on the lookout for tickets to see Jeter one last time:
The Mets provided David Wright's reaction to Jeter's retirement:
Former teammates Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada expressed their thoughts:
I'm so happy that Derek will get to go out on his terms - and his way. He was as special a teammate as any player could ever have.— Bernie Williams (@bw51official) February 12, 2014
“It was an honor and privilege to have Derek next to me for all those years.” – Jorge Posada.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 13, 2014
Jim Duquette also spoke of Jeter's class:
Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times transcribes Evan Longoria's thoughts on the announcement:
While some mourned Jeter's announcement, others trolled it:
Some even took advantage of the opportunity to troll the Philadelphia Phillies:
Phillies wasting no time in trying to convince Derek Jeter to come out of retirement for them in 2015. #SeniorCitizensBankPark— Tony Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) February 12, 2014
Comparisons were also made to Mariano Rivera's season-long retirement celebration in 2013:
Derek Jeter has announced next season will be his last. Hope the people who got Mariano Rivera's "farewell tour" gifts bought in bulk.— Doug Tribou (@DougTribou) February 12, 2014
Fun and games aside, Jeter's decision is a huge deal in the history of the game. Not only did he help bring five world championships to one of the most successful franchises in professional sports, but he also represented baseball the right way and was a role model for an entire generation of baseball fans.
Given his impressive resume and contributions to the game, Jeter appears a lock to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try, which would come in 2020:
The 13-time All-Star has recorded more than 3,300 hits and 250 home runs and is a .312 batter for his career. Although injuries have turned Jeter into a shell of himself recently, there's no question that the Yankees will be losing the heart and soul of their franchise next fall.
In addition to his talent, Jeter's poise and leadership went a long way for the Yankees in the clubhouse and on the diamond.
But while New York will struggle to replace what Jeter brought to the table, the entire baseball community will miss what he brought to the sport.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.