Derrek Lee – 1997 UD Collector’s Choice

May 3, 2011


First an update – there are some teams left and some sets. The grab bags will be shipped after I send the sets.

I can tell you that the person who gets the Giants will have a 2011 Gypsy Queen Pablo Sandoval auto that I just pulled today from a blaster at Target!

I can tell you that the person who gets the Indians will have a Cliff Lee autograph from his Donruss rookie set circa 2002.

I can tell you that if you are trying to collect the 2011 Topps Series 1 and Opening Day I have a bunch of cards that can help.

I can tell you that if you ever thought about trying for 2009 Upper Deck (a nice looking set) I can really help!

Sign up today! Email me at

Derrek Lee is holding this bat like I hold my new girlfriend – close and tight – with love.

Lee’s career seems to be winding down. He’s not hitting, has no power and just seems a shell of himself. He’s 35, and while I hate to say that it could be terminal, his decline from 2009 to 2010 was pretty stark.

But this was Lee at the beginning of his career. I had totally forgotten he was a Padres prospect (the mind – it fades – and also there was Travis Lee that rose up at about that time so I mixed them up in my head for a while) and totally forgot he was the main bounty for the Padres renting Kevin Brown. Good trade, Florida! He established himself as a regular in 2000 and was a big cog in the Marlins 2003 Champions.

When the Cubs gave up on Hee Seop Choi (who really got a raw deal from every MLB club) they sent him to Florida for Lee. While Choi got short changed, Lee was everything the Cubs desired and more.

I wonder if Derrek used the bad he was loving in the photo above in 2005? The numbers he put up would have been a shoo-in MVP in many years, but in 2005 Andruw Jones and Albert Pujols outclassed everyone. But Lee had 50 doubles, 46 home runs, 120 runs scored, 105 RBI, 15 steals and the best OPS in the league.

He got hurt in 2006 – rebounded somewhat – but then slipped in 2010 as part of a team-wide suck that made Lou Piniella think that retirement was a great option. The Braves rented Lee for a while, and he rebounded a bit. That glimmer of success led to his latest contract.

It’s still early, and Lee could rebound. But the odds are against another .300 season with 30+ home runs. But he had a great career no matter what the end, and he did it by respecting his tools.

Well, at least in this photo.


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