Derek Jeter got a surprise presidential farewell before playing his final game in Texas, when former President George W. Bush took part in a pregame ceremony Wednesday night.
Retired Rangers All-Stars Michael Young and Ivan Rodriguez first presented Jeter a pair of cowboy boots inscribed with the New York team logo, his name and No. 2. A video was then shown of Bush at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.
"I did have one good reason to leave Washington for a few hours. The New York Yankees had invited me to throw out the first pitch," Bush said in the video. "Seven weeks after 9/11, it would send a powerful signal for the president to show up at Yankee Stadium."
Bush, recounting the story from an excerpt in his 2010 book "Decision Points," then spoke about going into an indoor batting cage to loosen his arm.
"After a few warm-up pitches, the great Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter dropped in to take some swings. We talked a little," Bush said, adding that Jeter told him to throw from the mound, "Or else they'll boo you. ... But don't bounce it. They'll boo you."
When the video ended, showing Bush throwing a strike, the former president came on the field. He gave a surprised Jeter a framed signed picture of the two together in the batting cage that night nearly 13 years ago. The photo was from the archives of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in nearby Dallas.
Rodriguez played against Jeter and was his teammate at the end of the 2008 season with the Yankees. Young, like Jeter, was also an All-Star shortstop.
"Obviously from a competitive standpoint, the guy's off the charts, a Hall of Fame player," Young said. "He stayed his entire career in one place, a very demanding place, and was basically an impact player from the day he stepped on the field."