Friday, February 22, 2013

Brave New World: the Griffeys of Pinnacle '94


In my collection: 10 regular, 1 Museum Collection, 2 Team Pinnacle, 1 of every other insert, no Artist's Proof :-(
Griffey looks: like the cat that ate the canary
Is this a good Griffey card?: Yes.  One of the more bizarre images to grace a Griffey card, and a nice, simple design by Pinnacle.
The set: 1994 is the year that borders started disappearing from cards.  Pinnacle, Upper Deck, even Donruss shed their borders for logos and bit of foil lettering - no complaints here.  Moreover, this is the year paper stock became thinner and sharper and every card became high-gloss industry-wide.  It was a big year in the evolution of the modern baseball card.
Parallel sets also started popping up in more brands in 1994. Topps had made Topps Gold since 1992, but now Upper Deck introduced Electric Diamond and Donruss introduced Special Edition.  Pinnacle added two different parallels to the mix with Museum Collection limited to 6500 and Artist’s Proof limited to 1000.  These parallels would last until Pinnacle shut down in 1998. 

Here's a few base cards from the ol' binders:

Javy Lopez!  Hm?  Anyone?  This guy is underappreciated.....

More great catchers

As you can see it's a sharp-looking set with great photography.  Pinnacle included one key stat per card in lieu of a proper blurb so as not to interfere with the two-picture aesthetic (AB per HR came up a lot).  In 1994 I would have been buying pack after pack of this stuff.
Hey, look.  McGwire's card has the gold Anniversary MLB logo.  Hm.  Even Griffey doesn't have that.  And also, what is that white rectangle with the black stippling?  These are on all the Pinnacle base cards, even in later years.  Is that a counterfeit protection thing?  It looks like pieces of letters.  A magnifying glass didn't help - I'll have to attack them with an electron microsope someday.

Now to the Griffeys:

Oh......hey!  Uhhh, what's up?
Those things he’s holding are called projector slides.  They are the Powerpoint of a forgotten age.  Slideshows were notoriously easy to sabotage; hence, Griffey looks like the cat that ate the canary as he’s caught sneaking a picture of Randy Johnson in a dress into coach’s slideshow.  It would seem the Pinnacle photographer caught him red handed (and high-hatted).  Griffey, being the type to never negotiate with blackmailers, ended up on this card, evidence in hand.
If you look at his Oakleys, you can see the field in the reflection.  This seems to have been taken in the dugout.

Pinnacle started employing a printing technology called Dufex that utilizes gnome kisses and baby polar bear fur to give the surface of the card an etched-sheen quality that looks frickin’ awesome.  It could be found on the Museum Collection parallels as well as a few of the inserts.

Museum Collection

Where on the regular set there is that speckled white field, here you see the green and purple Museum Collection logo.  Besides that the back is the same as the regular.

Let's peep some inserts.

Team Pinnacle Insert (1:90)

The rarest insert you can pull.  Yesssssss!  And it’s the Griffey!  WOO-HOO!!!!!  He’s….on the back?  Hm. Okay, who’s on the front?  

Oh.  Yippee.
1994 was totally trying to hook these two up like crazy.  Check out that Topps All Stars card from the same year.
There have been some bizarre pairings of Griffey with non-Griffey players on cards like this.  Infact, those cards deserve their own post.   

As a Griffey fan, I choose to believe that it is because Griffey is so very awesome that his inclusion is meant to balance out a card’s desireability.  Like if this card featured Lenny Dykstra and, say, Ron Kittle.  How excited would you be?  You wouldn’t, because 2+3=5.  On the other hand, 2+10=12.  Yep, Dykstra is a 2, Kittle a 3.  Baseless, unreasonable Griffey math - you heard it here first.

Still, a great-looking insert with a neat titular logo and nice fonts.  Also, is it just me or does it seem like just about everybody paints better than Diamond King artist Dick Perez?

[We give Perez a hard time, but really he's a talented artist and a good sport.  Check out his stuff here.  I'd give my left nipple for one of those action shot originals.]

Tribute Insert (1:18)

This is the greatest and best player in the world…..tribute.  Not a bad design, and the name bar along the bottom matches my blog background perfectly.

And look at that clean-cut, all-American guy on the back.  It's called freedom, middle east.  Look it up. 
Run Creators Insert 1:4 Superpacks

Griffey looks spinny like he's in a washing machine.

Pinnacle released two different 25-card boxed hobby sets in 1994.  I tend to pigeon-hole sets like these as money-grabs, but both are actually pretty decent:
Power Surge

Marblized accents and a cool 3D graphic effect set off this resonably cool card.  Check out that follow-through on the front.  Daaaaaaamn.  Dude’s a natch, fo’ sho’.
Speaking of dudes being natches…….

The Naturals

This thing is positively decked out in Dufex bling.  The crazy waves in the background are one thing, but look at the detail in his uniform.  It’s just awesome.  Plus the back is very shiny and lightningy.  It's is a set I would love to go back and buy.

I guess what I’m saying, card companies of the world, is that you can have all the money-grabs you want as long as the cards are cool.
Apparently they made 100,000 of this set and serial numbered them, but the numbering must be on the box because there's nothing on the card that suggests this.

I read up on Dufex.  Turns out this printing technology makes zero sense to both my brain and my eyes, but damn does it ever turn me on. 

Well played, Pinnacle.  I miss you.

Fun with Grammar!  See if you can spot the conjunctive adverb in today’s post.  Highlight the hidden text below for the answer…..
[Answer:  Hence - from the paragraph that begins with “Those things he’s holding…”  A conjunctive adverb takes the place of a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, for, but, yet, so) in a sentence containing two independent clauses separated by a semicolon.  Philosophically speaking, I find that conjunctive adverbs tend to tie ideas more closely together where most coordinating conjunctions further emphasize the independence of said ideas.  OK, enough of that – this ain’t no grammar rodeo.]

1 comment:

  1. That stripe was Pinnacle's answer to Upper Deck's hologram in regard to counterfeit protection. If I remember, you could order something that allowed you to read that barcode thingy.