BOSTON - Derek Jeter spoke as a content man.
No regrets, no second thoughts about the bombshell announcement that kicked off spring training.
"I'm ready for this to be the end," Jeter said early Sunday night. "You can only do this job for so long. I don't care who you are, I don't care how good you are, the shot clock runs out."
And so it did for the iconic Yankee shortstop, officially at 2:25 p.m. Sunday at Fenway Park after - what else? - an RBI single in his final at-bat.
Jeter's plan was for two at-bats - the first resulted in a bullet line-out to short in the first inning - and after his high chopper to third off Clay Buchholz that brought in the Yankees' third run of a season-ending 9-5 victory - that saw them finish at 84-78 - the 40-year-old signaled manager Joe Girardi to send in a pinch runner.
He was done.
"The plan was to have a couple of at-bats, that was the plan coming into today," Jeter said. "I was hoping I'd get a hit my last at-bat."
The single gave Jeter 3,465 career hits, ranking him sixth all-time, and a career .310 average.
As McCann trotted out, Jeter turned and first embraced first base coach Mick Kelleher and then intercepted McCann. He then began his walk off the field, doffing his cap to the roaring sellout crowd of 36,879. He acknowledged the Red Sox dugout - every player took to the top step applauding Jeter - and walked toward the mound to shake hands with Buchholz, himself a veteran of this rivalry.
Jeter hugged third base coach Rob Thomson, then made his way to do the same to each of his teammates, who had emerged from the dugout. As Jeter finished embracing them, each of the Red Sox position players on the field, Buchholz included, applauded.
"It made me extremely proud and happy that I was a part of this rivalry," Jeter said.
None of it, of course, not even the stirring pregame ceremony that involved past Boston sports legends like Carl Yastrzemski and Bobby Orr, could match Thursday's emotional sendoff at the Stadium that culminated in Jeter's walk-off single in the ninth to beat the Orioles.
"You can't top what happened Thursday, I don't care if I came to Boston and I hit a home run every single at-bat, if I hit four home runs while I was here," Jeter said. "It just couldn't top what happened because New York's been a special place for me. The way that game ended, at home, you couldn't have written a script that I would have bought into. So when I got here I was just ready. I'm ready for my career to be over with."
Jeter's single gave him 149 hits this season and within one of making it 18 seasons in which he reached 150 or more hits, which would have tied him with Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Pete Rose for first all-time. Instead, he'll happily settle for 17, tying him with Hank Aaron.
"I've never played this game for numbers so why start now?" Jeter said of being tempted to perhaps take one more at-bat. "One more hit I would have tied Cobb's record but I'm tied with Hank Aaron, that's enough for me."
As was a healthy season, one in which Jeter hit .256 with a .304 on-base percentage. But he played in 145 games, something no one would have bet on after a disastrous 2013 in which a slew of injuries limited Jeter to 17 games.
"I'm happy that I was able to come back and stay healthy for the whole year, that was my No. 1 priority after last year," Jeter said. "I didn't want to be forced to retire due to injury."
Instead, he retired on his own terms, after fulfilling, mostly spectacularly, a childhood goal.
"Fun," he said, asked to describe his career. "I had a blast. Listen, I had an opportunity to do what I wanted to do, the only thing that I ever wanted to do and I know not a lot of people can say that. There isn't a thing I would change. I wouldn't change it because this is what I wanted to do."
And his legacy?
"You want to be known as someone who had respect for the game, respect for your teammates, respect for the fans, respect for the media, played the game hard," he said. "But for me, I'm happy to be known as a Yankee. That's the only thing I ever wanted to be was the shortstop for the New York Yankees and I had an opportunity to do that for parts of 20 years. So being remembered as a Yankee is good enough for me."