Retirement Gifts for the Person Who Has Everything: Derek Jeter, This One’s for You

3,465 hits.  12-time Major League Baseball All-Star.  More accolades than anyone could ever dream of.  18 seasons with the New York Yankees, matching the record of Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.  Lest you think that his talents are limited to the field, he also started a charity that encourages kids to “turn to” healthy lifestyles and “turn away” from drugs and alcohol.  The Turn 2 Foundation has raised $18M…and counting.

Chances are most people won’t actually need a retirement gift for the Captain.  What’s far more likely is someday YOU may need a retirement gift for someone you know…who, like Derek Jeter, seemingly has everything.

Here are some ideas for retirement gifts that will hit a homerun:

1.     Something to remind them of how their career started-a gift that harkens back to their humble beginnings is sure to bring a smile to their face.  For the high tech executive who started out as a product engineer, a slide rule to remind her how far she’s come will help her wax nostalgic.   For an award-winning journalist, you can still actually find a typewriter ribbon, a bottle of white out and a hardcover dictionary with actual pages.

2.     Something forward looking-retirement is a major life transition.  A gift that helps the person get excited about their next chapter is a lovely gesture.  My friend Ellen has always had an artistic side and talked about the day she would finally have enough time to be creative.  To celebrate her retirement, we gave her painting lessons, along with a beret, palette and brushes.

3.     Something to celebrate a great career-whether the retiree was a waitress, a plumber or a CEO, a career represents a tremendous body of work.  You could have a lot of fun with this and tally up their “accomplishments.”  For the waitress, “45 years and 1,350,000 meals served” would be a fun inscription on a breakfast-in-bed tray.  The card might read, “After all the people you’ve served, we thought you might like to relax.” For someone who made a positive impact at a publicly traded company, frame a picture of the stock performance from the year they started, “Congratulations on the impact you’ve had.”

4.     Something to reinforce the shared connection you have-find gift inspiration by looking at the connection between you.  If your dad retired from being a carpenter and he’s the reason you’re now an architect, why not sketch up a 3D drawing of your childhood home?  For your grade school music teacher who inspired you to become a rock-n-roll guitarist, what about some personalized guitar picks "Mr. Smith: 50 Years of ROCK." Remember, sentimental gifts always trump all others.

And just in case Derek Jeter invites me to his retirement party?   Looking back, I’d go with a Kalamazoo High School sweatshirt to celebrate where his career started (I suggested this to Jason Gay of the Wall St. Journal who also had gift ideas for Derek).  Looking forward, I’d order some personalized book plates for him to use in his new publishing venture.  To celebrate his career, I’d take a cue from the creative folks at Gatorade (terrific video!), and frame some original sheet music from Frank Sinatra, “I Did It My Way."  And to celebrate the shared connection between us?  Well, since we’ve never actually met, I guess we’ll just have to bond over some really great New York pizza.  I hear he's got some time on his hands.


Wondering what teams did to commemorate Derek Jeter's retirement?  Check out Peter F. Richman's article that discusses the gifts the Captain received, along with a very entertaining "rating" of the gifts on creativity, utility and bonus points. 

thank u 2 derek jeter

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