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1996 Topps Derek Jeter Future Star

1996 Topps Derek Jeter Future Star

1996 Topps Derek Jeter Future Star

In 1996, while Derek Jeter was still a work in progress, a retro-style card of him was published in the Topps baseball card set. Twenty years later, Jeter would have a much different looking card—and a much different baseball career.

Derek Jet

via GIPHY

Over the course of his 20-year MLB career, Derek Jeter became one of the game's most beloved players. While his career numbers are worthy of Cooperstown, it's his persona and championship pedigree that has made Jeter the all-time great that he is. Wearing the Yankee pinstripes for his entire career doesn't hurt either. That popularity has transferred over to the collecting world as well. Derek Jeter cards remain among the most popular in the hobby. Yet, with licensing and a revolving door of card manufacturers and brands, only one set has captured his career from start to finish—Topps.

With the Internet still in its infancy and eBay still several years away, I had two card shops I could ride my bike to. It just so happened that one of them, Florida Frank’s in Weston, Florida, had two full boxes with packs costing $8 a piece. I was able to afford 3 packs and was lucky enough to pull a Derek Jeter Refractor. At first, I didn’t even know it was a Refractor. Keep in mind this is 1996 and Refractors were almost identical to regular Chrome cards and the technology made the shine so subtle that unless you held it up in direct sunlight, it was easy to miss. Yes, I was one of those kids who missed it and threw the Derek Jeter, an unknown player to me, in my commons box. (Source: completist.wordpress.com)

Topps

via GIPHY

When it comes to baseball cards, to me, there’s nothing more beautiful than a Topps ™ Refractor. No, not a cheap knock-off from Leaf or Panini, I want the real thing. Topps introduced the Refractor in the debut of their Finest line in 1993 when I was 13 and money was hard to come by. I didn’t get my hands on a Finest pack until 1997 after I had a part-time job. Refractors eventually made it into Bowman’s Best debut in 1994 as well but again, thanks to soaring prices, I was kept away. For me, and I imagine many other young collectors on a budget, my first “chromium” pack of Topps card came in 1996 with the debut of Topps Chrome.

Fast forward three years and while going through my box, I found the 1996 Topps Chrome Derek Jeter Future Star Refractor. The year I found it, 1999, was Jeter’s first truly great season in which he led the league in Hits. He wasn’t a future Hall of Famer yet and non-Finest refractors hadn’t caught on with collectors but I knew the card could fetch something great in a trade. I immediately placed the Jeter in a penny sleeve and top loader and began looking for a Yankees fan. What happened next was shocking, my entire group of collecting friends weren’t interested and most of them didn’t even know what a Refractor was. This was how collecting was to many before the days of the internet. (Source: completist.wordpress.com)

 

 

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