NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter has always opted for a reverential line of speech regarding Joe Torre, interchanging terms of respect -- usually "Mr. Torre," in more casual conversation, "Mr. T." -- when discussing his former manager.
When Torre's 12-year run in pinstripes came to its conclusion last week, the four-time World Series winner walking away from a one-year contract offer and out of a Legends Field conference room, Jeter decided that the appropriate tone would be silence.
Having watched the situation as Torre addressed the public at a packed press conference in Rye Brook, N.Y., the Yankees captain finally offered his thoughts on Tuesday on the departure of the manager he has known for the vast majority of his Major League career, their careers having intersected in 1996 as a rookie shortstop and first-year Yankees manager.
"In my eyes, Joe Torre is more than a Hall of Fame manager," Jeter said in a statement. "He is a friend for life, and the relationship we have shared has helped shape me in ways that transcend the game of baseball. His class, dignity, and the way he respected those around him -- from ballplayers to batboys -- are all qualities that are easy to admire, but difficult to duplicate.
"I have known Mr. Torre for a good majority of my adult life, and there has been no bigger influence on my professional development. It was a privilege to play for him on the field, and an honor to learn from him off the field."
Of the roster Torre took to battle for the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, only one player -- closer Mariano Rivera -- has been on the roster longer than Jeter.
Catcher Jorge Posada, left-hander Andy Pettitte and right-hander Roger Clemens were the other remaining players who experienced part or all of New York's four-win World Series dynasty from 1996-2000, and all spoke highly of Torre as the season drew to its close and the manager's status remained uncertain.
Speaking near his suburban Westchester, N.Y., home on Friday, Torre said that he would miss his players, coaches and the game itself the most.
"I keep going back to my players," Torre said. "I certainly appreciate the effort they put forth."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.