It is hard to believe that seven years have passed since one of the most famous modern era Topps base cards was issued—or at least one of the most well publicized. This card, ostensibly featuring Derek Jeter as the subject, also had President George W. Bush in the stands and fellow Yankee great Mickey Mantle in the Yankee dugout.
The oddity began the tradition, which has seemingly grown exponentially, of Topps using photo variations in their base sets. While not every collector appreciates having to check all their cards to verify the short prints, I think there is little doubt that these cards, usually not that expensive to produce, help to boost prices on the basic Topps box (as well as other Topps brands which use pose variations).
They’re still readily available and in conjunction with eBay, our Card of the Day is the 2007 Derek Jeter/George Bush/Mickey Mantle card you see here.
Once that Jeter card—and its more expensive parallels-- hit the secondary market and then the general public got wind of it, the mania surrounding the 2007 Topps 1 Boxes was off and running. I remember I had been thinking about purchasing my yearly Topps box and by the time I had gotten around to actually doing it, the prices had exploded at the local Dallas area stores. And for those collectors who not only hit the Jeter card out of their boxes but snared a parallel version, the rewards were truly staggering.
While having other famous players in the background or in the photo is certainly not unique to baseball cards. Ken Griffey Jr. made several appearances in other players’ Upper Deck cards, Pete Rose was in the background in the 1971 Topps Chris Short and a young Ryne Sandberg appeared on the 1983 Topps Reggie Smith card. Perhaps the most famous ballplayer background appearance was when Maury Wills showed up on a 1960 Topps World Series card although he wasn't under contract to Topps and would not formally appear in the company's sets for seven more years.
However, the 2007 Jeter/Mantle/Bush was more than a little different and began a Topps marketing push toward short printed variations that is still happening with the brand new 2014 products.
Jeter’s first baseball card photos back in 1992 show him as a high school player for Kalamazoo Central. You can see many more Jeter cards on eBay here.
We’d love to feature your suggestion for eBay card of the Day. Please feel free to contact us and include your name and home town so you can be properly credited.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]