Monday, September 9, 2013

Leggo My Logo: 2013 Pinnacle

2013 Pinnacle #104

In my collection: 1 #104, 1 Awaiting the Call, 1 Swing for the Fences, 1 Team Pinnacle Junior front, 1 Team pinnacle Trout front, 1 Clear Vision Double

Griffey looks: out

Is this a good Griffey card?  Yes.  Pinnacle’s first set in fifteen years, and Junior got several cards.

The set: Pinnacle’s return after a fifteen year absence came as a surprise to me.  I had heard nothing about it until I happened upon Baseballcardpedia one day and there it was on the home page.  I know Panini is starting to build market presence with their Triple Play, Cooperstown, and Prizm sets; but having just assembled what I thought was going to be Pinnacle’s entire Design Timeline, I obviously was not expecting any more cards from this brand.  The implications of this move are very exciting.

Panini owns Donruss and Leaf as well as all of the Pinnacle brands which include Select and Score.  I know you’re thinking that without a license the cards can't be too great, but they seem to be making do with the brands they’re releasing already, are they not?  View from the Skybox had a pretty positive response to his Prizm group break, so people do want the cards.  I bet this is not the last brand we see that makes a comeback.  I hope it’s not - this market needs the competition. 

And I don’t want to quote myself, but I have been requesting throwback sets for several of the more popular ‘90’s designs.  This seems like more of a possibility now than ever.

So how did they do with Pinnacle?  The design aesthetic seems intact, remaining as angular and bold as ever.  The original logo is back as are a couple of the inserts and that great Dufex printing.  The lack of gold foil is very noticeable, but overall this still feels like a Pinnacle card. 

The most glaring difference, even more than the lack of logos, is the lack of variety among the photos.  There are a whole lot of shots of Griffey at the top of his swing where his body is turned sideways and the absence of logos can slip by unnoticed.  This major limitation on Panini is handled gracefully on most of the cards, but more variety among the pictures would help particularly because much of the card verbiage touts Junior’s prowess as an outfielder.  Number of fielding photos used?  Zero.

Here are the Griffeys:

2013 Pinnacle #104

This is clearly a pop-fly.  Look at the angle of his gaze - he’s looking straight up.  Junior is more than likely out.  Then again, maybe there’s a runner on third and this is a sac fly.  We may never know.

I think the inspiration for the base card design here must have come from that first ’92 Pinnacle set.  The black-and-greyed-out background, the subtle white framing, the touch of team-appropriate color - these are similar elements to those from the ’92 set.  And even though the ’92 set didn’t have it, again, I miss the foil.

Awaiting the Call # AC10

Awaiting the Call appears to be the most common of the inserts.  There’s no gold foil or holofoil or translucence like you can find in the other inserts.  Plus it’s got the same angled corners as the base set, so frankly this looks more like a subset.  While the paragraph is nice, I would also like to have seen some HOF-worthy stats on the back, though I’m not entirely against that circular logo.  Overall, meh.

There are two versions of this next insert, so bear with me.

Griffey front version:
2013 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #TP3, Griffey front

Trout front version:

2013 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #TP3, Trout front

I instantly remembered this insert from Pinnacle sets of the past, but this year we have a major improvement that only a long-time collector would recognize.  In old TP insert sets, one player always got the better-looking side of the card.  In 2013, however, each player gets a version where they have the better side.  Totally fair.  Interestingly, both cards have the same number.  Here’s both versions for comparison.

Another interesting aspect is that placement of that MLBPA logo - it’s always on Trout.  I figure that’s probably there because Trout is an active player and Griffey is not, but it could also be an error.  Let’s get our extensive legal team on this.

Hey, I hope you like that picture, because....

2013 Pinnacle Clear Vision #CV75 Double

Here it is again.  That’s right - Team Pinnacle has the same picture as Clear Vision.  I’ll let it slide, though, as the card itself is pretty cool.  The red-tinted section is translucent plastic framed by the rest of the card which is in holofoil.  The field is red here but the colors vary by which type you pull.  They range in rarity from Single to Home Run, and there is also a Circuit card that is a 1/1.  This looks like one of those cards where they shape the blurb paragraph to fit the player silhouette on the back….

Whoops - strike that, reverse it.  At least we got a career line at the bottom there.  Enjoy that.

2013 Pinnacle Swing for the Fences #SF4

The Swing for the Fences insert is another that was around during Pinnacle’s original run in the 90’s.  It’s very similar to the Clear Vision card in that it sports an opaque player silhouette over translucent effects.  I bet this time they got the back right - come on, Griffey-shaped blurb!  Show me the blurb!  Bluuuuurb!

Denied again.  Not even a stat line this time.  Lucky for us the card design speaks metaphorical volumes.  The background here is transparent plastic with white printing to simulate wood grain.  Hence, it is a non-fence.  Such a fence is easily penetrable by light and, presumably, baseballs.  The message here is that for the power hitters of this insert, the fence may as well not even be there.

There are quite a few Juniors in this set, and I am missing a whole lot of them:

#104 Museum Collection
#104 Artist Proof
#104 Blue Artist Proof
Awaiting the Call #AC10 Museum Collection
Awaiting the Call #AC10 Artist Proof
Awaiting the Call #AC10 Blue Artist proof
Essence of the Game #EG3
Clear Vision #CV75 Single
Clear Vision #CV75 Triple
Clear Vision #CV75 Home Run
Clear Vision #CV75 Cycle 1/1
Autographs #46

There are so many more sets I want to see return!  I am still amazed Topps hasn't brought back Stadium Club (correctly, I mean).  There's money to be made as all us collectors from the 90's rediscover our cardboard and start shoveling our disposable incomes into the engines of capitalism.

Logos or not, this is a step in the right direction.


  1. Kudos to Panini for doing their best w/o the MLB license. I personally want to see the logos... especially with their dufex technology and the use of acetate in this product. It's a shame that MLB won't open things up to other companies... especially Upper Deck.

    1. I think there's still some bad blood between MLB and Upper Deck. I think it's much more likely that Panini would get a license before UD does.

      One thing is certain: if they do get a license, they better not screw it up. I want to see some amazing new sets with lots of Griffeys. My own sense of entitlement will not accept any less.

    2. It's a shame, because although I'm a Topps supporter through and through(can't get over the fact that they've been around so many years)... Upper Deck definitely had some of the coolest designs with UD Black, UD Masterpieces, etc.