Baseball cards create lasting memories for one Derek Jeter collector


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

I knew the day would come. It inched closer and closer with every at-bat, every season, every centimeter of forehead that was new and fresh.

Derek Jeter would eventually retire from baseball.

Jeter announced today that 2014 season would be his last. Even though I knew it was coming, it gave me a pause. I stopped what I was doing and simply stared out into nothing.

Then, I smiled.

While there is a part of me that is sad because Jeter has been my favorite since 1996, I can’t help but enjoy thinking about the way he played. I had season tickets to Yankee Stadium for several years; I traveled on the road to more than 15 different ballparks to watch them play. I got to see spectacular plays in person that get replayed on highlights reels all these years later.

For me, Jeter is the Yankees. He is my Mickey Mantle, my Joe DiMaggio, my Babe Ruth.

He has defined the New York Yankees I have known for two decades.

Collecting Derek Jeter cards has been one of my greatest hobbies since the late 1990s. When I got my first job as a cashier at The Sports Authority, I used my hard-earned money to buy Jeter card lots on eBay. I would write check after check, sending them to people around the country to get more and more Jeter cards. Bubble mailers would show up every day, which usually got an eye roll from my mother.

Not much has changed since I was 16 years old. Bubble mailers still show up in the mail with Jeter cards – mostly recently I added a handful of 2014 Topps Series 1 cards to add to my ever-growing collection.

At this point, I have more than 2,000 unique Jeter cards dating back to his pre-MLB days. There are favorites that I love to look at when the mood strikes. I bet this week, I will spend a lot of time going through the binders and boxes filled with Jeter cards.

That’s one of the greatest things about collecting cards. Even though Jeter’s career is near its end, I have 20 years’ worth of memories tucked away that I can view at any time. I get to laugh at how boyish he looked when he started with the Yankees or marvel at him diving into the stands to catch a foul ball or wonder why President George W. Bush is in the stands at Yankee Stadium with Mickey Mantle in the dugout while Jeter is at-bat.

And every time, I am going to smile.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor at Beckett Media. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.


Tens of millions of cards available for sale in the
Beckett Marketplace!

Get up-to-date pricing for your favorite sports cards with a
Beckett OPG Subscription


  1. Brian Blankenburg 12 February, 2014 at 19:09

    Susan, I understand exactly what you mean and what we will go through when he retires. I have been a Yankee fan since 1958, and no I’m not telling my age. Anyway, except for Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter will define the pinstripes for a generation. I live in Iowa, so most of my watching has been on TV or radio. However, I did get to go to 3 games in Kansas City in 2003, sitting 6 rows up from the Yankee dugout. Those images I brought back from those games will never be forgotten. My collection habits won’t change or be forgotten either.

    • Susan Lulgjuraj 12 February, 2014 at 20:09

      That was really cool, Brian. Thanks for sharing. I’m lucky enough to live about 15 minutes from Yankee Stadium. In the old stadium, I used to fill like a 5-year-old anytime I would into that park. It’s always been, and probably always will be, one my favorite things.

  2. Brian Blankenburg 12 February, 2014 at 21:21

    Thanks Susan. One thing I always have liked, have you ever noticed when they talk about the Stadium, we know exactly what they mean. What’s more, we’ll always know: Bob Sheppard up there, green grass down below, and the beloved pinstripes in between.

  3. Steve Speir 13 February, 2014 at 13:00

    Been a Yankee fan since 1957. Been lucky to see Mantle, Ford, Murcer, Skowron, Boyer, Hector Lopez, Roger Maris, Yogi, Elston Howard, Catfish, Goose, Cone, Doc and much of the entire great Jeter/Posada/Mo/Bernie run either on Yes or at the Stadium or in Kansas City or Arlington. Have never heard a louder silence than the game where Bernie blasted two homeruns to knock the Rangers out of the playoffs in Arlington. Awesome! Saw the first games in the Astrodome and Mantle’s homerun. Even spent two great weeks in Tampa at Spring training. Caught Andy’s last game in Houston – a win!

    All I can say is thanks for the memories, Captain. It will be a long time before we see another athlete with your level of class and a family that is so committed to others less fortunate. Jeter would make a perfect baseball commissioner at some point.

  4. karl 14 February, 2014 at 10:34

    Just need to get jeter back in cards…

    Glaring hobby problem…

    topps needs to get him signed to auto contract

  5. Mickey 10 May, 2014 at 08:05

    I too am a Derek Jeter Fan. And have been for years. I was going through my cards and actually pulled out about 60 Jeter rookies. And a massive amount of cards from his career in baseball. I found a 2008 UD A Piece Of History Blue # to 25 Stadium Scenes auto/jersey card I pulled and had to call up UD to mail it out to me. I was pretty excited about that pull. Don’t know how much it books for? If anyone knows I would be thankful. Lol and along with that I found another jersey card and many Ken Griffey Jr rookies. Thinking of selling my collection. Mickey from Philly.

Leave a reply

We use cookies to help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience. By navigating the site, you agree to the use of cookies to collect information. Read our Cookie Policy.
Accept & Close