Ranking the Best Derek Jeter Rookie Cards
With lots to pick from, what is the best Derek Jeter rookie card? Over the course of his career, all have reached a certain level of respectability. That said, a handful have taken things even further, including the 1993 SP Derek Jeter, which is one of the most iconic cards of the 1990s.
Excluding inserts, special issues, minor league cards and parallels, Derek Jeter has eight rookie cards. We've ranked them all from worst to best. Value was certainly an important part of the the criteria, but design and status in the hobby world were also taken into consideration.
Best Derek Jeter Rookie Card Countdown
Click on the card names or images to shop for specific cards on eBay.
When Score first burst onto the scene, it was popular simply because the hobby was growing fast and there weren't a lot of options. By the time 1993 rolled around, collectors had lots of choices and the base brand was losing its way. Simply put, the 1993 Score Derek Jeter doesn't have nearly the same appeal as his other rookies. It starts with the low-end quality but is hurt further by the overly busy design that includes Jeter's name written as though he were a part of The Dukes of Hazzard opening credits. Not surprisingly, this is often the cheapest Derek Jeter rookie card on the market.
A few years before R. Kelly serenaded us with "I Believe I Can Fly" in Space Jam, Jeter was ready to take off in 1993 Select Baseball. While the cloud-based design certainly stands out, the product didn't reach the same heights. For some, it might be the most fun Derek Jeter rookie card. It's also one of the cheapest.
The greatest strength of the 1993 Topps Derek Jeter is that it comes from the most iconic brand in the hobby. It has been used on various reprints and will likely continue to do so as long as Topps opts to recycle classic cards. Part of the Draft Picks subset, the card is found in Series 1 packs and boxes of 1993 Topps Baseball. Besides the regular version, there's also a Topps Gold parallel.
Even rarer are versions included in special Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies Inaugural sets. These are essentially the same except they have a special stamp noting each team's debut. The sets were available primarily in the local Colorado and Florida markets and have a relatively low print run.
Like Topps, flagship Upper Deck cards always have a lot of broad appeal. Slightly higher quality than Topps, Jeter is part of the Top Prospects subset. 1993 Upper Deck Baseball was released in two series. Jeter's rookie is in the second.
While the basic version is one of the more affordable Derek Jeter rookie cards, there's also a much rarer version that has a gold hologram on the back. Random factory sets were filled with the slight variations but the cards were never in traditional packs. These command significant premiums over the regular 1993 Upper Deck Derek Jeter.
It was to be tough to follow up on the popular 1992 Bowman Baseball release and its loaded rookie crop. 1993 Bowman doesn't have nearly the same depth, but it does have Jeter. Easily the most popular card in the set, its place on the secondary market is bolstered by the Bowman brand, which remains a top choice with rookie card collectors and prospectors.
At the time, Pinnacle was one of the hobby's premium brands. It's slicker than many of the other Derek Jeter rookie cards. The simple design and portrait make it one of his most attractive cards. Although it is by no means rare, the black borders make it a little tougher to grade. As a result, top-grade versions command a bit of a premium over many of his other rookies.
The 1993 Stadium Club Murphy Derek Jeter is found in a special box set. In recent years it has become very popular, bolstered largely by a smaller print run than a lot of his other rookie cards. The card does have the same design as 1992 Stadium Club, not 1993. However, because of the set's late release, it's considered by most as a 1993 card.
One of the most iconic baseball cards of the 1990s, this is, by far, the most popular Derek Jeter rookie card. It's also the most valuable. Since its debut in 1989, Upper Deck focused on pushing boundaries for high-end cards. 1993 SP Baseball took things to another level. While it's not nearly as premium as it was when Jeter was breaking in with the Yankees, this is an extremely important card from an equally important release.
Produced with a foil background, it's notorious for being a tough card to find in top condition. Most come with a noticeable amount of edge or corner wear. As a result, high-grade PSA and BGS 1993 SP Derek Jeter rookie cards can command four figures.
What's your favorite Derek Jeter rookie card? Let us know in the comments below.