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Retiring captains Paul Konerko, Derek Jeter share mutual respect

May 23, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

To say Paul Konerko respects Derek Jeter would be an understatement.

Konerko talked at length about the New York Yankees captain’s accomplishments before the White Sox and Yankees kicked off a four-game series on Thursday night.

Barring a postseason series, this will be Jeter’s last trip to U.S. Cellular Field, as he announced he would retire after 20 seasons at the end of 2014. Konerko clearly values Jeter’s achievements on the field. The shortstop has won five World Series rings and has 3,356 hits.

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But Konerko places just as much importance on how Jeter handled himself away from the diamond.

“He has had to do deal with the most and done it the best, with the most class, so for me, he’s No. 1 in my book when it comes to all that stuff,” Konerko said. “It’s definitely appreciated by myself and the players in the game. When a guy like that, as good as he is, and has everybody staring at him and looking at him for 20 years, you hope it falls into someone’s lap like his, that he handles it right and does right by it, and he’s never let anybody down. It’s really amazing. He might be the best ever when it comes to that.”

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Jeter has mutual admiration for Konerko, who also plans to retire at the end of 2014. The two have faced off for 16 seasons, and Jeter appreciates how Konerko has performed. Konerko, Jeter and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins are the only current players in the majors to have at least 2,200 hits with the same team.

“I respect his game, how he handles himself,” Jeter said. “He’s had a lot of success in his career and a lot of success against us in his career. You enjoy competing against guys like that. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit throughout the years, and he’s had a wonderful career. I’ve always respected him.”

  1. jimeejohnson - May 23, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Get a room, guys. Sheesh!

    (sarcasm)

    • 4cornersfan - May 23, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      What did you expect? “Jeter says that for 18 years Konerko has been an overweight statue at first base and an embarrassment to Polacks everywhere.” “Today, Paul Konerko mentioned that Derek Jeter has lost what little range he had at shortstop and should turn in his gift basket and retire immediately.”

      • jwbiii - May 23, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        Konerko is a Ukrainian or Belarussian name. The English equivalent would be Connorson or Connor.

      • 4cornersfan - May 23, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        According to his bio, ” Konerko is of Polish (paternal) and Italian (maternal) descent.” Maybe you should write him and set him straight on who and what he really is.

      • jwbiii - May 23, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        You forgot the [citation needed]

  2. bmadormo - May 24, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Konerko is a class act – playing a year or two too long just like Jeter

  3. earpaniac - May 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Paulie was a ery good hitter for many years as a White Sox. The thing I hate about guys who play that extra year or two is that people remember that, and not how good they really were.

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