Red Sox toast Jeter with exceptional ceremony

Yanks' captain greeted by many Boston sports heroes, Ice Bucket Challenge's Frates

Red Sox toast Jeter with exceptional ceremony

BOSTON -- On the last afternoon of his big league career, Derek Jeter received one more sendoff from the Red Sox and several fellow captains of the Boston sports scene, paying their "RE2PECT" prior to the last game of the regular season.

The manual Fenway Park scoreboard was changed to read, "WITH RE2PECT 2 DEREK JETER," and Jeter stood at his shortstop position as a long line of iconic Boston stars came out of the first-base dugout to greet him, beginning with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.

"It was unbelievable. I didn't know anything about it, what was going to happen or who was going to be here," Jeter said. "All the things they've done, it was hard to envision what would happen, because this is a place where we've been an enemy for a long, long time.

"For them to flip the script this last time I come here, it made me feel extremely proud and happy that I was a part of it."

Former Red Sox players Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Tim Wakefield, Rico Petrocelli, Jason Varitek and Fred Lynn were also involved in the 30-minute ceremony, followed by appearances from Bruins legend Bobby Orr, former Patriots captain Troy Brown and former Celtics captain Paul Pierce.

"Even though I played baseball, I have an appreciation for athletes in all different sports," Jeter said. "To have them come out here, take time out of their schedule to come out here for this ceremony today for me, it meant a lot.

"I hadn't met most of them. I got a brief moment to thank them for taking the time to come out, but hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to each and every one of them a little bit more throughout the years. I know I'll have some time."

The ceremony also included a long video montage of highlights from the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, with great moments on both sides. Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield, who helped mold Jeter's defense in a crucial boot camp in the mid-1990s, presented Jeter with a pair of commemorative L.L. Bean Yankees duck boots.

"I thought it was magnificent," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I can't really imagine how you can do it any better at a visiting ballpark. It was special. It was really enjoyable to watch."

The entire 2014 Red Sox team, led by David Ortiz, walked onto the field to exchange greetings with Jeter, with Joe Kelly stopping to take a cell phone "selfie."

"[Growing up], I had Yankees pinstripes in my bathroom," said Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini, who attempted to bare-hand Jeter's last career hit in the third inning. "I have a bobblehead of him in my room. I'm glad I got to shake his hand. I told him, 'Congrats, and thanks for being a good role model for kids like us.'"

Dustin Pedroia gave Jeter a base with the No. 2 on it to commemorate the 153 games he played at Fenway, and Jeter was given a large metal sign with "RE2PECT" written in Fenway's font, signed by the '14 club. The Red Sox also made a $22,222 donation to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.

"I thought the pregame ceremony played out not to be overstated, probably to reflect the wishes of Derek himself," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And that's just assumed on my part. I thought it was done with a touch of class."

In the most emotional moment of the ceremony, the Red Sox played Jeter's Ice Bucket Challenge video that was taken earlier this year in the Yankees' clubhouse, then introduced former Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates, one of the driving forces behind the successful fundraising effort.

As Frates' wheelchair moved onto the diamond, Jeter greeted him on the grass. Frates then took his place alongside Orr, Brown and Pierce as Massachusetts native Michelle Brooks Thompson performed a rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect," and then the national anthem.

There was one more surprise for Jeter in the seventh inning. The Red Sox trotted former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams on the field to perform "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on his guitar, creating the strange scenario where Jeter and Williams both heard their names chanted at Fenway Park.

"When Bernie was with us, he sat behind me on the plane," Jeter said. "He played his guitar non-stop, so I've heard it quite a bit. I think it was cool to have Bernie be a part of this. I think the fans really enjoyed it."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for 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.