Known for consistency in the batter’s box and elite defensive abilities on the field, this modern Yankees great took the league by storm early on and carved out an incredible career that stacks up against, not only the Yankees greats, but the all-time greats of the game. They don’t make ‘em like Derek Jeter often.
But, despite the accolades, the comparison to all-time greats, the World Series Championships (all five of them), Jeter ascended the ranks of the game with an almost unparalleled respectability. His humble nature found the Yankees team captain keeping his eye on the ball, rather than rubbing his teammates and contemporaries the wrong way. He would lead his team to victory over yours, rob you of would-be extra base hits, but for some reason you still liked the guy. That was Jeter.
Believe it or not, the pinstriped hero almost never ended up as a New York Yankee. It was the Houston Astros who held the first overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft, and their scout had lobbied intently to draft the promising shortstop. But the Astros opted instead to draft journeyman Phil Nevin with their pick. Fortunately for the Yankees, their scout, Dick Groch, also had a watchful eye on Jeter.
Reportedly, the Yankees feared that the young shortstop would opt instead to play college ball rather than becoming a pro, to which Groch retorted “the only place Derek Jeter’s going is to Cooperstown.”
How prophetic those words were. Jeter decided to turn pro and signed with the Yankees. In 2020, with 3,245 hits, 14 All-Star appearances, and five championships, Mr. November was elected to the Hall of Fame. The one-time prospect did, in fact, make it to Cooperstown.
Jeter’s popularity isn’t just confined to sports; he’s immensely popular in the hobby as well, and his cards and collectibles are still sought after.
This exciting shortstop is also one of the most collected athletes on the PSA Set Registry. So, we took a look at three of the more well-known cards to explore the Derek Jeter Basic Set.
It was evident early on the Jeter would be special. But no one knew the impact his most popular rookie card would have on the hobby, nor just how popular it would become. And recording that “rookie card” phrase, though many collectors consider this among Jeter’s rookie cards, the legendary Yankee didn’t make his MLB debut until 1996, as we noted above. But, rookie card or not, this is the Holy Grail of Jeter cards.
The card features a floating image of the talented shortstop feeding the ball to his teammate (who is not in frame) to make a play at the plate. The scene is perfectly enhanced by the shiny, reflective surface of the card. This is, without a doubt, Jeter’s most coveted rookie card and one of the most valuable modern cards out there. Just look at the SMR price for PSA 10 examples below!
Though the card is plentiful in nature (PSA has graded over 16,000 examples), it’s one of the toughest finds in high-grade, as far as modern cards go. The foil coating the dark edges are so susceptible to scratches and wear, even examples pulled fresh from the pack show wear.
PSA 8: $750
PSA 10: $160,000
There’s an elegance in this card’s simplicity. Mr. November’s 1993 Pinnacle issue spares flashy visual elements for a simple bat-over-shoulder profile shot, framed by a white box and flanked by a black border. The card is sleek, easy on the eyes and condition sensitive, thanks in large part to the very thing that makes the design so streamlined. Those large black borders are easily chipped and show wear. Still, the incredible price tag of Jeter’s most popular card (above) might dissuade many collectors from pursuing it. This and the following cards on the list are much easier on the piggy bank.
PSA 8: $25
PSA 10: $475
Ending with one of the more interesting card layouts we’ll feature, 1993 Topps sees the stalwart shortstop gearing up to make a throw, floating above the illustration of a baseball diamond. Remember, this card comes in a rarer Gold version, as well as Florida Marlins and Colorado Rookies Inaugural versions, all of which are more valuable. And let’s not forget the Micro version of this card, which is essentially just a smaller version of this card, measuring 1″ x 1-3/8.” The good news for collectors, is that PSA 10 examples of this card are affordable, valued at just around $160.
PSA 8: $15
PSA 10: $450
In all, there are 176 cards required to complete the Derek Jeter Basic Set. You can even view each card in the set by visiting the photo gallery section of the PSA Set Registry.
With nerves of steel and an almost inhuman level of consistency, Jeter led a career of immense success and longevity, the likes of which very few players see. When the team captain wrapped up his illustrious career in a series against longtime rivals the Boston Redsox, he opted to do so exclusively as designated hitter – the Yankees hero wanted to remember his last days of playing shortstop at Yankees stadium. With his final hit, Jeter connected for an RBI infield single against Clay Bucholz. The rest is history.
No, they don’t make ‘em like Derek Jeter often. But they made lots of his trading cards. Head to the PSA Set Registry and check out the Derek Jeter Basic Set, a historic career as told by 176 cards.
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