He was barely out of a high school. A well-known baseball prospect, yes, but still a few years away from his first big league at-bat. The Yankees thought Derek Jeter would be special, but like every other minor leaguer in the system, he had to prove himself at the lowest levels and work his way up. Joe Ferguson was pretty confident getting Derek Jeter to sign autographs at a Greensboro, NC card show he was promoting would be a good idea back in 1993. He paid him five times as much as a few teammates were getting that day: $250.
The two would strike up a friendship while the youngster from Michigan was feeling his way along the path to the bright lights.
At a local establishment later in the season, Jeter signed a few more autographs and talked about his deal with Classic Sports for some of his earliest baseball cards.
“All the while, he was so polite and such a gentleman,” Ferguson recalled. Nothing has changed from what anybody can see.”
Ferguson also recalled the card show for another reason. It’s where Jeter learned the proper placement of a star’s signature.
The stories from the genesis of Jeter’s pro career and that first autograph session are worth a read.