CHICAGO -- As a kid, Derek Jeter used to make the 2½-hour drive to Wrigley Field from his home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Now, he has a part of the stadium.
The Cubs became the latest team to honor the retiring Jeter, giving him a No. 2 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard during a pregame ceremony. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who has said he models his game after Jeter's, presented the Captain with the green square with the number in white. Then the Cubs played Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," during the nice, simple proceedings about 20 minutes before the first pitch.
Earlier, Jeter had a cool moment chatting with another Chicago shortstop, Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Banks, 83, first met Jeter before he was the Captain or even an established major leaguer.
"He treated me well when I was first coming up and had an opportunity to meet him," Jeter said. "You always remember how someone makes you feel when you first meet them. I've always appreciated how he treated me."
Jeter, 39, has played only one series previously at Wrigley, but he has some history with the city because of its proximity to Kalamazoo. Jeter's family used to vacation in Chicago, going to Cubs games and the theater.
"I remember coming here as a kid, coming to watch games here," Jeter said. "I remember my last day of high school after classes were over, we drove here to come to a Cubs game."
Jeter didn't recall who played in that game, but he remembered Ryne Sandberg being out there. It was right before Jeter would become the sixth pick in the 1992 MLB draft, so Jeter allowed himself to dream.
"This was before the draft; you are just sitting there looking out, hoping one day you get to play in the major leagues," Jeter said.
Castro, the Cubs' exciting young shortstop, has talked about how he has modeled his game, on and off the field, on Jeter.
"A lot of the shortstops that have come up and worn No. 2, when I've met them, they said they have been fans -- or their mom or dad have been fans," Jeter said with a smile. "You appreciate it. If someone looks up to how you carry yourself and how you play the game, it makes you feel good. I haven't seen Castro play a lot because I don't watch the National League too much. The few times that I have, he has a lot of talent and a bright future. He has played well already. He is only going to get better. I wish him all the luck, just not these two games here."
Jeter has now received five gifts. The Mets gave Jeter a No. 2 mosaic designed with subway tiles and donated $22,222.22 to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. The Houston Astros gave Jeter a pair of Yankees cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and some golf lessons. The Los Angeles Angels gave Jeter a paddle board. The Milwaukee Brewers donated $10,000 to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation and presented him with a bronzed bat.