I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1976. I was 5 years old when I first saw Chris Chambliss hit an ALCS winning walk off home run that sent the Yankees to the World Series that season. I’ve seen players put on the pinstripes that would eventually be Hall Of Famers. Jackson, Hunter, Gossage, Winfield, Henderson were all Yankees at one point or another. I also saw players that might not be Hall Of Fame players, but personified what being a Yankee is all about. Players like Mattingly, Murcer, Randolph, O’Neill, Williams, Tino, Pettitte, Mussina, Cone all fit this description to a T. Then you have Mariano who is the greatest closer in the history of the game. An argument can be made that the Yankees may not have won all those World Series without number 42.
Then, there’s Jeter.
From the moment I saw him play on Opening Day against the Indians back in 1996, I knew this guy was something special. He hit a home run and made a nice over the shoulder catch in that first game, so how could I not be excited? Especially when all I heard coming out of spring training that year was he was a work in progress. He was going to make his share of errors and if he hit .270, the Yankees would be happy. He finished at .310 with 10 home runs and 78 RBI’s and had 183 hits that season. Oh yeah, he was going to be special all right.
With this being his final year, I decided I was going to create a binder for just his cards. That is a tremendous task for me as I am still in the process of organizing my thousands of Yankees cards. I am pulling all his cards and putting them in 9 pocket pages so I can see just what I have, Derek Jeter-wise. As I’m going along, I am seeing cards that I forgot I had. It’s like Christmas all over again for me.
So, over the course of this final season, I will post pictures of some of my favorite Jeter pieces. Cards, figures, bobbleheads, whatever I have of Derek Sanderson Jeter, I will post. Being that I am not a Jeter collector per say, I still have some very nice Jeter pieces in my Yankees collection.
I’ll start with my very first Jeter autograph that I picked up. I admitedly do not have a lot of Jeter autographs, just 3 in my Yankees collection. This 2003 Fleer Showcase Sweet Sigs autograph is the only one I paid for, the other two were incredibly lucky pulls in group breaks.
I remember going to the Westchester Sports Card show, like I always do. This particular year, I think it was 2005, I had gotten a pretty nice tax return that year and I went into the show telling myself I wasn’t walking out without a Derek Jeter autograph. I really wanted a signed baseball, but the prices were too high, as they remain to this day. Plus the few I could afford had sketchy autographs, so I turned to certified autographed cards. I saw some nice cards that day, but decided on the Sweet Sigs because I had wanted an autograph on a ball and this was the closest I would come to since it was signed on a piece of rawhide. I would have picked up a signed UD Sweet Spot, but this card was about 50.00 cheaper. The picture doesn’t do the card justice. The auto is actually pretty sharp to this day.
Being that Derek Jeter is one of the most popular Yankees of all time, his stuff can be pretty pricey. I did want to add a few more things this up coming season to my Yankee collection, but I may hold out since everyone is grabbing as much Jeter stuff, driving the prices up. A signed ball is still my holy grail, but I dn’t see myself paying the asking price for one.
Being that he is The Captain, there will always be items for us collectors to pick up and add to our collections. The card companies will always print up Jeter cards, McFarlane will probably make a few more Jeter figures. Plus, thanks to eBay, there will always be a plethora of Jeter goodies to get our grubby mitts on. As a Yankee collector, that is fine by me. Too much is never enough.