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Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter

Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter play video for Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter

DETROIT -- Derek Jeter hates the term "farewell tour."

"You say 'tour,' it's like you're just going around shaking hands and kissing babies," Jeter said Tuesday.

Whatever the fitting name for Jeter's final season, it received a shot of poignancy Wednesday night as he was honored in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park in his home state of Michigan.

A video tribute highlighted his high school baseball career at Kalamazoo Central -- just over two hours from Detroit. Jeter said Tuesday that he still feels close ties to Michigan, even though he was born in New Jersey.

"I grew up in Michigan," he said. "I've always told people I'm from Michigan."

The tribute allowed Jeter to close out his trips to Detroit on a high note. Tuesday, he spoke of the disappointment that came with his demotion from the Yankees in 1995, just before the club was scheduled to make a trip to Tiger Stadium, which would have been Jeter's first time playing in Detroit since high school. He also has been booed loudly, likely because of his team affiliation, in Detroit, until this week, when he was well-received.

A gift to Jeter from the Tigers' organization will ensure he'll always have a piece of that ballpark, though -- he was presented with two Tiger Stadium seats during the ceremony.

Jeter also received a $5,000 donation to his charity, the Turn 2 Foundation.

"I thought it was very nice that they involved my family and our leadership program from Kalamazoo," said Jeter. "We appreciate it a lot. It was a class act by a class organization to include them. Our foundation means a lot to us, and for them to include them, it meant a lot to us."

Joined by two former teammates of Jeter's, Tigers pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke, Detroit team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski also unveiled a painting portraying Jeter at three stages of his life: his high-school career in Kalamazoo, at Tiger Stadium, and at Comerica Park. The paintings included dirt from all three of those stops.

Tigers legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline also were in attendance for the ceremony, as was Don Zomer, Jeter's high school coach.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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