ARLINGTON The Rangers gave Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter a Texas-style sendoff Wednesday evening at Globe Life Park.
The Captain received a pair of Cowboy boots, embroidered with the iconic Yankee logo and Jeter's name across the front, with 'Derek' on the right boot and 'Jeter' on the left, while being recognized in front of a nearly-full ballpark of cheering fans.
'I think he would prefer not have all the hoopla,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said before Wednesday's game. 'But this is about showing the same respect for Derek that he's has shown the fans and the game of baseball.'
Former Rangers Michael Young and Ivan Rodriguez joined Jeter on the field as part of the ceremony. They presented Jeter with a $10,000 check to Jeter's 'Turn 2 Foundation' in addition to the custom boots.
'You have to be a pretty special guy to get a ceremony like that,' Young said. 'In a lot of ways Derek is a cultural icon and not necessarily just a Hall of Fame baseball player.'
But the Rangers also had a surprise for Jeter's farewell.
President George W. Bush greeted the Yankee shortstop behind home plate and gave him a photo from the Bush Presidential Library of the two of them at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.
Bush threw out the first pitch (from the top of the mound, not the base of it) after Jeter gave him some simple advice: 'Don't bounce it, or they'll boo you.'
Young said it was an honor to be a part of the pregame ceremony as a representative of the Rangers' organization. Both Young and Rodriguez expressed their respect for Jeter's illustrious playing career.
'From a competitive standpoint, the guy is off the charts; All-Star player, stayed his whole career in one place, a very demanding place,' Young said. 'He was an impact player from the day he stepped on the field.'
'I realized... the way he plays the game and the way he respects the game and respects the fans. He's a player we're going to miss,' said Rodriguez, who played four months of the 2008 season alongside Jeter in New York. 'What he did in baseball is unbelievable.'
As far as a favorite memory on the field? Those are always about competition, Young said.
'Our first trip to the World Series went through New York,' Young said with a grin, recounting the Rangers' victory over the Yankees en route to the 2010 Series.
Wednesday night's ceremony, though, was about Jeter, a five-time world champion.
'As far as the all-time great competitors, Jeter's at the top of the list. It was a lot of fun getting to play against him and that's the primary reason why,' Young said.