Zimmer jersey highlights Rays' Jeter tribute

After receiving kayak, Yanks' captain reunites with late baseball icon's wife

Zimmer jersey highlights Rays' Jeter tribute

ST. PETERSBURG -- Derek Jeter has been a formidable rival for many teams around the league over the years, but there is a different sense of the retiring Yankees captain around these parts. To the Rays, he is also a neighbor.

Jeter's career was acknowledged before Tuesday's 6-1 Rays win over the Yankees, making the longtime Tampa, Fla., resident just the third visiting player honored at Tropicana Field. He joins Cal Ripken Jr. in 2001 and Mariano Rivera last season.

The most meaningful moment for Jeter came at the conclusion of the ceremony. Soot Zimmer, the wife of longtime Yankees coach and Rays senior advisor Don Zimmer, presented Jeter with one of the last jerseys worn by the baseball icon, who passed away on June 4.

"I thought it was awesome that Mrs. Zimmer was out there," Jeter said. "She said a little something before the game that she was going to be out there. It was good to see her."

Accompanied by students from the St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa, Rays senior vice president Mark Fernandez presented Jeter with a $16,000 donation to his Turn 2 Foundation -- a figure that represents $50 for each hit Jeter has recorded against the Rays during his career.

"It was special that they included some of the kids that we work with down here," Jeter said.

Rays director of Minor League operations Mitch Lukevics, who held the same position with the Yankees on Jeter's first day with the organization in 1992, also presented Jeter with a 16-foot Epic sea kayak, painted in Yankees blue with his No. 2 on the back.

"Great kayak, which I'm sure I'll use," Jeter said. "You're laughing, but I'm sure I'll use it."

Jeter was hit on the left hand by an eighth-inning Steve Geltz pitch in the loss, part of a sequence of events that included a benches-clearing incident. Jeter said that what transpired in the game did nothing to spoil the Rays' warm gesture.

"Sometimes these things happen in games, but I thought what they did, what their organization did, was special," Jeter said. "And that's what I'm trying to focus on."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.