When Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter leaves the field for the last time at the end of the 2014 season, he'll go down as one of the game's best, Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. told HuffPost Live.
"His legacy will be probably the best clutch hitter, playoff caliber. They talk about Reggie Jackson as Mr. October. They looked at [Jeter] as Mr. November," Ripken said. "[He is a] leader on the field. Clutch, clutch player. If you want the last out of the World Series hit to somebody, you'd want it hit to Derek."
"I was a little surprised that he announced his retirement before the season started," Ripken said. "I thought he would use the offseason to really rehab and get himself into physical shape, because last year was a really difficult year where he was hampered by injuries."
Ultimately, though, Ripken said Jeter's "very personal" decision will give him a chance to control his departure from the game.
"It's a cool thing that he's announcing early," he said. "The greatest value is you get to say goodbye to the game that you played so much on your terms, and you can bring closure to it."
See the full HuffPost Live conversation with Cal Ripken Jr. below.