Derek Jeter Rookie Cards (True RCs)
The fandom of the New York Yankees goes back over a century. It’s a place that will chew you up and spit you out if you don’t produce. They have little tolerance for ballplayers that are paid but are non-productive.
On the flip side, the fans of the New York Yankees can make a ballplayer a legend and will treat there own like kings. That is the current status of Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. A 20 year veteran of the game all with the New York Yankees, he goes into the Hall of Fame as a legend and will be thought of as an equal to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, and Mickey Mantle. This is the type of career Jeter produced.
Born in New Jersey on June 26, 1974, but was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jeter always aspired to be a professional baseball player. In high school, his talent began to separate him from everyone else and by his senior year, he was hitting .500 earning him local and national attention.
He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1992 and was the 6th pick of the 1st Round. He was quickly sent to the Gulf Coast League where he struggled. He was sent late and did not have anyone to room with. Alone he felt isolated and as the 1st Round pick was expected to show what he’s got. All he had to offer his first season in the minors was a not so pretty .210 batting average with 21 errors.
He entered the second season in the minors with a new determination and tore up the International League and as he moved up to AA and AAA ball he got better, so much so, the Yankees took notice and on May 29, 1995, he debuted in his first game.
He only played in 15 games in 1995 but that quickly changed the following season, an injury-plagued infield made room for Jeter to become the starting shortstop in 1996. He made an immediate impact and his veteran teammates credit his maturity for his quick adjustment to the pro level. Jeter went on to hit .314 in 1996 with 10 home runs, 78 RBI on 183 hits. Oh yeah, and he also won Rookie of the Year honors.
Jeter developed into an aggressive hitter but believed in keeping the swing simple. Defensively he had a natural instinct, his relays from his outfielders were the best in the game, it seemed he always made the right play at the right time. He had a flair for the dramatic, especially in the postseason. It seemed like the bigger the stage the more he would step up, helping his team when they needed him the most, and earning him the nickname Captain Clutch. And since the nickname Mr. October was given to another Yankee great in Reggie Jackson, Jeter was given another nickname, Mr. November for his clutch performances in the World Series.
Jeter is the first Yankee to win All-Star MVP and later that year won MVP of the World Series. He won both of these awards in 2000 but he didn’t earn MVP of the league although he batted .339 and carried his team through the postseason. That year the award was given to Jason Giambi.
Jeter had a career WAR of 72.4 | 3,465 Hits | 260 Home Runs | .310 Career Batting Avg. | 14x All-Star | 5x Gold Gloves | 5x Silver Slugger | 2009 Roberto Clemente Award | 2010 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment doesn’t have anything to do with awards or stats but in his character. Jeter always accepted the responsibility of being a role model, especially to young fans. He was a spokesman for the Yankees and even a heartthrob with his dashing good looks. For two decades he managed himself to have a flawless reputation, not even a hint of scandal or controversy. Derek Jeter an All-Time Great indeed!
OFFICIAL ROOKIE CARDS OF HOF
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1993 Bowman, Card No. 511
Leading us off is the Bowman brand which was also known as “Home of the Rookie Card” for their extremely large rookie checklist within the set. This 708 card set was issued as a single series. Full action photo showing the young Jeter in his practice uniform. Decent card stock with white borders makes the edges and corners much more forgiving when it comes to determining conditions. Card back is fantastic, wood grain design along the top portion of the card. Great photo, commentary, stats and player bio. There are no parallels in this set.
1993 Pinnacle, Card No. 457
Pinnacle was issued into two series and this RC can be found in Series 2 packs. This is one of my favorite Jeter RCs due to the pose being extremely similar to the iconic RC of Ken Griffey Jr. ’89 Upper Deck. Adding to that fantastic photo is a handsome black border and the placement of information at card front is fabulous. The card back lacks stats but hits the mark on everything else. Although it has decent card stock mint copies are difficult to find due to the black borders. There are no parallels for this card in this set.
1993 Score, Card No. 489
’93 Score is a single series 660 card set. It features friendly white cardboard stock on front and back that fairs well for the condition. Fantastic full action photo showing Jeter turning a double play, add to that clean lines and a draft pick logo really make it pop. Card back gives us a nice portrait photo, player commentary but that’s about it. Lacks in stats and player bio but overall a decent RC. There are no parallels for this card either.
1993 Select, Card No. 360
Score offered collectors this mid-grade level product. It has a smaller set size at only 405 cards and was issued as a single series. Design on this RC of Jeter is out of this world. Cropping a photo of Jeter perhaps turning two and placing him in the sky with clouds is artistic in nature. The card back lacks stats and player bio but the gigantic 1st Round Draft Pick logo really is a nice touch with the various shades of green and yellow font. There are no parallels for this card in this set.
1993 SP, Card No. 279
Upper Decks’ premium product was issued as a single series. It’s a very small set size coming in at 290 cards but it is by far the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world when it comes to Jeter RCs. This card has reached historic values for a modern-day card. On December 8, 2019, this card sold at Robert Edward Auctions in a PSA Gem Mint 10 condition for a whopping $168,000.00; the day before Heritage Auctions sold a Gem Mint PSA 10 copy for $138,000.00, that’s an average price of $153k and it’s expected to go up even more!
The reasons. Well for starters as of the day of this post, PSA has graded 16,627 copies and only 22 of them have been given a Gem Mint 10 grade. This makes it ultra-scarce in terms of gem-mint condition. Also, the entire front of the card is in silver foil making it ultra-sensitive in terms of condition. The edges are notorious for chipping and the foil front likely to have scratches. Overall this one is a beauty, the entire front of the card gives us an action photo of Jeter perhaps assisting in a double play and the card back goes above and beyond to give us everything a good card back should have.
I hope you got this one into your collections already, this one is turning into one of the most iconic cards the hobby has ever seen. Near mint copies (8s) are selling in the $700.00-850.00 range, respectively. There are no parallels for this card in this set, can you imagine if there was?
1993 Stadium Club Murphy, Card No. 117
Technically, the legitimacy of this one even being a rookie card is questionable to me. It was printed in 1992 but released in 1993. Also, its distribution method was in the form of a 200 card boxed set and not in pack form and not distributed Nationally. However, collectors have spoken and consider this one to be a true RC of Jeter but the reality is it should read more like an XRC or what we would consider today as a “prospect” card.
It’s called Murphy because the box card set was housed in a replica of San Diego Padres, also known as Jack Murphy Stadium which hosted the 1992 All-Star Game.
Regardless, I can see why collectors have taken a liking to this card, its a stunning card design. The card is on sturdy cardstock with that Stadium Club quality. As always the photography selection for this brand is second to none. A less is more approach with the design of card front and the card back is very creative and well balanced even though there is no commentary. There are no parallels for this card in this set.
1993 Topps, Card No. 98
Topps flagship is a collector favorite, the brand’s rich heritage is like a sweet smell of cardboard tradition. This is a large 825 card set split up kind of awkwardly too, Series 1 having 396 cards and Series 2 having 429 cards to complete the set. Jeter’s RCs can be found in Series 1 packs. The design of this card made it an instant winner with collectors. The baseball diamond background is artistic in nature and the photo used of Jeter goes nicely with the design. The genius of card design continues in the cards back as the layout is colorful, well balanced and thought out.
There are multiple parallels with this one. Topps Gold found one per wax pack. And several factory sets including Topps Micro, Topps Miami Marlins Inaugural and the Colorado Rockies Inaugural sets which are identical to the flagship with the exception of a gold foil stamp found on card front which indicates the premiere of those two ball clubs.
1993 Upper Deck, Card No. 449
Upper Decks’ flagship is large in size with an 840 card set split evenly into two series. Jeters RC can be found in Series 2 packs. The photo appears to be taken in the minor leagues perhaps when Jeter was in the Gulf Coast League. A simple action photo of Jeter with a Top Prospect logo at the lower right side of the card makes this the most desired card in the set. The card back gives collectors lots of commentary and stats.
The lone parallel for this one comes in the form of a factory set. A complete Gold Hologram set was inserted into every case. They feature a gold Upper Deck hologram found on the card back rather than the traditional silver hologram.
Happy Collecting, Collectors
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