Long before Derek Jeter became the face of the New York Yankees, he was just an ordinary kid playing little league baseball. Like many future MLB stars, he honed his craft over the years before making the leap to star status. And as it turns out, a baseball Jeter signed when he was just 8 years old turned into a highly expensive piece of memorabilia history.
Derek Jeter was recently elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
Setting records and winning championships made Derek Jeter one of baseball’s all-time greats. The 1996 MLB Rookie of the Year established a reputation as one of the most respected players in the game as the face of the sport’s most powerful franchise. A 14-time All-Star selection, Jeter became a human highlight reel who always seemed to come up clutch in the biggest moments.
Never one to put his individual success before the team, he led the Yankees to five World Series championships. The 2000 World Series MVP shined in the postseason. Incredibly, Jeter played essentially an entire extra season of playoff games (158) and put up remarkable numbers. He hit .308 in the postseason with 20 home runs and 61 RBI. The epitome of consistency, Jeter retired after the 2014 season with a career batting average of .310.
The perennial All-Star and five-time World Series champion should have been a unanimous Hall of Fame selection. But thanks to one unidentified voter, he fell just short. Still, that takes nothing away from his legacy as one of the best players of his era. Fellow Yankees star Mariano Rivera became the first player in MLB history to get unanimously selected for enshrinement in Cooperstown.
A baseball signed by Jeter and his little league teammates sold for $36,000
Sports memorabilia enthusiasts have been known to pay exorbitant prices to get their hands on particular items. Recently, a Mike Trout signed card sold for $900,000, which shattered the previous record. Signed memorabilia from older players like Yankees legend Lou Gehrig have also done well. One of his jerseys fetched $2.58 million. A fan even paid more than $1 million for one of his game-used bats.
However, most fans who pay crazy prices to hold a piece of baseball history often buy something signed by a player during his prime. That wasn’t the case recently. According to Darren Rovell, a ball signed by 8-year-old Derek Jeter, along with his little league teammates, sold for $36,000 through Goldin Auctions. Less than six years ago, that same ball went for just $4,338.
Jeter’s name can be seen written in blue pen, though he doesn’t get credit for his penmanship. According to the auction site, Jeter’s teammates signed the ball for coach Don Brown, who led his team to an undefeated season.
What is the 45-year-old Yankees legend doing today?
It’s safe to say an 8-year-old Derek Jeter could have never envisioned that signed baseball going for the price of a car someday. At the same time, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that he’d be running an MLB franchise. However, since retiring from the Yankees, Jeter has made the move from the diamond to the front office.
In 2017, he and a group of investors that also included Michael Jordan purchased the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion. According to Business Insider, he personally contributed $25 million. Though he succeeded as a player, Jeter has not been so lucky as CEO of the South Florida-based franchise.
The Marlins have been cellar-dwellers under Derek Jeter’s watch. The Marlins went 63-98 in 2018. Last season, they went 57-105, which represented the second-worst record in franchise history. Miami hasn’t had a winning record since 2009.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference