To say that Norah Jermaine enjoys baseball would be putting it mildly. The 13-year-old from California is too young to work in the front office for her favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, but she would not mind being the team’s batgirl.
Until that spot opens up, Norah is content attending sporting events — and adding to her burgeoning card and memorabilia collection.
Norah is not sure how many cards she has, although she figures it is somewhere around 20,000.
There are “at least 5,000 quality cards.”
Her collection is probably worth between $30,000 and $40,000, according to her father.
“She looks at baseball cards as a commodity,” Josh Jermaine said. “It’s not so much the quantity of cards as it is the quality of them.”
On Friday, Norah had just come home from a basketball camp, where she played guard. The rising eighth-grader also enjoys softball and has played first base and third base for a team in the San Mateo Youth Softball Association.
When it comes to card collecting, Norah is never tired. In fact, she’s downright intense.
“She’s a freak,” Josh said.
Norah began collecting baseball cards about six years ago. She became intrigued while watching her older brother, Jack, rip open packs of cards.
“My brother would watch games every night,” Norah said. “Every night when he was sitting on the couch I was watching him go through his baseball cards and I became interested.
“I was just hooked.”
Her obsession with sports memorabilia became even more pronounced when her father bought a vintage card collection.
“I bought a collection from a guy in his 80s,” Josh said. “There were Babe Ruths, Mickey Mantles and Jackie Robinsons. I had stacks of cards.
“It captured her.”
Norah said the first pack of cards she ever ripped open was from the 2016 Topps flagship set. Her favorite player for many years was Giants catcher Buster Posey, but now it is pitcher Carlos Rodon, who picked up his 10th victory on Saturday night against Oakland and is on track to top his personal best of 13 victories he had with the White Sox last year.
“It first started when we’d go to the games and I saw the players were on baseball cards,” Norah said. “It’s addictive, it’s exciting.”
Josh said her daughter’s room “is a complete shrine” to baseball.
And she’s just at home when the family goes to Oracle Park to watch the Giants play.
She is a savvy autograph collector and has had plenty of success.
“I know my way around,” she said. “I always get five autographs on a baseball.”
Whether near the dugout or the stadium’s field club area, Norah is tenacious. She has approximately 10 baseballs with up to 10 autographs on each one, and 200 signed baseball cards.”
“It’s kind of like a gambler, it’s just fun to collect. Baseball is my life.”
Norah is no stranger to card shows and can hold her own in negotiations, her father said.
“She’s getting there,” Josh said. “She likes me to get in the first punch.”
But at the end of the day, it is Norah closing the deal.
“She goes to shows, talks the talk and bargains like the best,” Josh said.
Now, she enjoys opening boxes and watches box breaks on YouTube.
Her favorite card? A 2019 Bowman’s Best Wander Franco autograph. She also owns some impressive rookie autographs of Ronald Acuna Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and other up and coming stars.
Born in Tampa, FL, Norah likes the Rays (her dad lived in downtown St. Petersburg more than a decade ago) and also roots for the Baltimore Orioles, since her mother is from that area. However, it’s the game as a whole that keeps her rapt attention.
“You have to love (Aaron) Judge, he is putting on a show,” Norah said. “And (Shohei) Ohtani is amazing, so fun to watch.”
In addition to the Giants, Norah likes the NFL’s 49ers and the Golden State Warriors. Her favorite player with the 49ers is wide receiver Deebo Samuel, while her NBA favorite is Jordan Poole — and Stephen Curry, of course.
Norah recently challenged Damion Lee to a game of rock, paper and scissors during pregame warmups. After Norah won, she received an autographed pair of shoes from the Golden State guard. The photos were a big hit on social media.
Norah’s passion and knowledge of the game has impressed collectors much older than her.
“A lot of my friends who are baseball fans were taken aback by her acumen,” Josh said. “She’s not a savant. She just likes the three major sports.
“She has a ton of knowledge, even with the prospects.”
With a room full of boxes and stacks of cards, Norah is ready to take the next step in sports.
“I want to be part of the Giants’ organization,” she said. “I want to have a job in the major leagues.”
One of Norah’s cherished autographs is from the Giants’ Alyssa Naken, the first woman hired as a full-time coach in the major leagues and the first to coach on the field during a game.
“She took Norah’s spot,” Josh joked.
For now, anyway.