Detroit — It probably was just as Derek Jeter would have wanted it — understated but classy.
The Tigers organization honored the retiring Jeter before the game Wednesday in a ceremony that was short and sweet and without any speeches.
“He’s been the best ambassador for the game of baseball going back — I guess he maybe took over for Cal Ripken and carried that torch,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Derek Jeter.”
There were gifts — not including the 8-4 Yankees victory.
Tigers relievers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke, teammates of Jeter’s on the Yankees 2009 World Series championship team, presented a $5,000 check for Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
Tigers legends Al Kaline and Willie Horton gave Jeter two seats from old Tiger Stadium.
And, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski presented him with a collection of three original paintings — one depicting Jeter playing at Kalamazoo Central, another one of him playing at Tiger Stadium and another of him playing at Comerica Park. Enclosed in the large frame were handfuls of clay from each of the venues.
Joining in the ceremony at home plate were Jeter’s parents — Dr. Charles and Dorothy — his sister Sharlee and nephew Jalen, high-school coach Don Zomer, and Mike Hinga, his summer league coach from the Kalamazoo Maroons.
They were surrounded by a group of youngsters from the Turn 2 Foundation, Jeter’s Leaders.
In the game, Jeter doubled in one run and knocked in another with a sacrifice fly. He also made a slick defensive play taking a base hit from Nick Castellanos.
“That double was vintage Jeter, inside-out swing, line drive to right,” Ausmus said.