derek jeterLast week, my two favorite things came together – baseball and books.

Even more specifically, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced he was partnering with Simon & Schuster to create a literary imprint Jeter Publishing.

Those that know me know I have a large baseball card collection with most of it dedicated to Jeter, who will be 40 next June. There are about 2,000 unique cards of his in my collection. So I was intrigued when I saw the New York Times story about Jeter’s preparation for retirement from baseball, which will be sooner than I would like.

“I understand how important content is this day and age,” Jeter told a group of reporters at Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation dinner last week. “You get an opportunity to share people’s stories – it doesn’t necessarily have to be baseball – that I find interesting, I’m happy I get an opportunity to do it. I’m looking forward to it. This is my publishing imprint. It has my name on it. I’m going to try and make everyone proud.”

Jeter says he doesn’t plan on writing another book anytime soon – he wrote “The Life You Imagine” in 2010 – but he is interested in other people’s stories. The focus will be on adult non-fiction, children’s books and middle-grade fiction.

According to the New York Daily News, Louise Burke, the president and publisher of Gallery Books (the S&S division, which will collaborate with the Jeter Publishing non-fiction titles), told The Score:

“I meet a lot of celebrities in my business and I’m sometimes disappointed when you meet them in person,” Burke said. “But Derek wasn’t looking around the room during the meeting. When he talks, he looks you in the eye, and is very focused. We were very impressed with his passion for the project.”

I’m usually pretty good in not following hype. I see it all the time and can easily see though PR moves, but – wow – I’m a sucker for this one.

Mostly, I’m interested to see what kind of books will be printed under Jeter’s name. However, I am not at all surprised at the focus of the imprint. Jeter has spent his time in baseball raising money for his Turn 2 Foundation, which was established in 1996 to help children and teenagers avoid drug and alcohol addiction.

I am not sure I would call this the most practical way to enjoy ‘retirement’ especially since he is already a millionaire multiple times over. However, it is one of the more creative ways I have seen an athlete move into that part of their life and should keep him busy.


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