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NEW YORK (AP) — Vinny Milano has spent his whole adult life cheering for Derek Jeter, and getting his pals to join him.
Sometime soon, Milano — aka Bald Vinny, the longtime roll-call leader for the renowned Bleacher Creatures — will salute Jeter for the last time at Yankee Stadium.
Milano predicts the crescendo will come as the retiring captain steps in for his last at-bat on Thursday night in New York's final home game of the season.
"That's when it will be off the hook," Milano said.
So, how long will fans stand to chant that familiar "Der-ek Je-ter!" refrain? Will it match what Cal Ripken Jr. received on the biggest night of his career, or what Mickey Mantle or Michael Jordan heard at their farewells?
Milano's guess might surprise some.
"I don't think it's going to be an epic ovation," he said. "I don't think it will be some 11-minute ovation."
"I don't see him taking a victory lap around the Stadium," he said. "He's always been too cool for school for that."
Just not Jeter's way.
Milano was a 19-year-old teenager when Jeter made his big league debut. Now a liquor sales representative, Milano turns 40 on the day the 40-year-old Jeter is set to play his last home game.
"My daughter is 6, my son is 4, they were at the Stadium for his 3,000th hit. They've grown up with him," Milano said. "I feel like I have, too."
Going into Jeter's goodbye in the Bronx, here's a look back at other ovations through the years:
IT'S TIME TO GO
Sept. 26, 2013
All-time saves leader Mo Rivera quickly got two outs in the ninth inning of the Yankees' final home game of the season, then a strange sight — longtime teammates Andy Pettitte and Jeter strolling from the dugout to make a pitching change. As Jeter neared the mound, he told the retiring closer what no New York fan wanted to hear: "It's time to go." A tearful Rivera hugged both of them and left to an adoring four-minute tribute.
MJ COMES HOME
Jan. 24, 2003
Michael Jordan always could raise the roof in Chicago, even when he was wearing a Wizards jersey. So when he came back to the United Center for his last game, the crowd cheered the 40-year-old Washington star for all those great years with the Bulls. After a standing ovation that lasted more than three minutes, he took a microphone and told the fans, "Thank you all. I love you very much."
AU REVOIR, ROCKET
March 11, 1996
There was a hardly a dry eye at hockey's most hallowed home when several decades of the greatest Montreal Canadiens parade on the ice for the final time at the famed Forum. The biggest cheer, by far, was reserved for Maurice Richard — the pride of Canada, the Rocket drew a thunderous ovation that shook the old rafters for seven minutes during closing ceremonies after the last game.
CAL'S VICTORY LAP
Sept. 6, 1995
The night Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game, the Iron Man might have set a mark for the longest ovation in sports: 22 minutes, 15 seconds. The Orioles star took eight curtain calls before his Baltimore buddies pushed the reluctant hero back onto the field for his signature moment. President Bill Clinton, former Gehrig teammate Joe DiMaggio and the rest of the crowd at Camden Yards cheered ol' blue eyes every step of the way as he circled the ballpark, slapping hands with everyone he could reach, from fans to the grounds crew to security officers to the visiting Angels.
THE HOUSE THAT MICK MAGNIFIED
June 8, 1969
A season after Mickey Mantle stepped away, he returned to the old Yankee Stadium when the team retired his No. 7. The crowd roared for eight straight minutes as he stood in the middle of diamond, casually chewing gum. Five times the emcee and the club president tried to quiet the fans over the public-address system, but instead they just kept chanting "We want Mickey!"
KEEP 'EM CLAPPING
Sept. 28, 1960
Ted Williams stamped his Hall of Fame legacy by homering into the Red Sox bullpen in his final big league at-bat. The Fenway Park crowd hollered for four solid minutes, but the Splendid Splinter offered no acknowledgment. No tip of the cap, no wave from the dugout. He had a prickly relationship with Boston fans, and only 10,454 of them showed up that Wednesday afternoon. He skipped the team's last three games of the season at Yankee Stadium.
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