Welcome back – let’s get to it.
You’ve seen 12 Griffey base cards, but you know your boy totally counts cameos, right?
|1995 Pinnacle Sandy Alomar #39 (cameo)|
This is one of the first cameos of the Kid I can say I discovered myself completely by accident. It’s not the best cameo, but it is 100% unmistakable. What a photo. Nice stop, Sandy!
Okay, it’s precedent time. If I show the back of this cameo card I will have to continue to show the backs of cameo cards in perpetuity. There’s no Griffey-centric reason to do it. So should I?
Screw it. Here’s the damn back.
|1995 Pinnacle Sandy Alomar #39 Museum Collection (cameo)|
And the super-shiny version, of course. I do not yet have the AP of this one, but I don’t expect it to command much coin when it does pop up. Hoping to land one soon. Cameos count!
On to the inserts:
|1995 Pinnacle Gate Attraction #GA01|
There’s nothing particularly special about this insert. It’s flat foil, not Dufex; the blurb is a bit innocuous, and there’s no unique stat boxes or anything fun like that. They gave it its own logo, and I really like the photo and simple layout on the back, but I’ve seen better from Pinnacle in the 90’s. Let’s keep looking.
|1995 Pinnacle Red Hot #RH2|
Well damn – that is a pretty sweet-ass card right there. At a casual 1:8 packs, even I was able to pull a few of these in my time. I don’t know exactly how I landed a Griffey, but I know I’ve had it a long time. I probably traded a Frank Thomas to my cousin for it. It was amazing how often I would pull his favorite player and he would pull mine.
Ok, so it’s not Dufex, but this is what Pinnacle inserts are supposed to look like. Plenty of bold, primary colors on the front and a big, gaudy, full-bleed design on the back. Junior’s jersey appears even greener than normal against that fiery red. Another innocuous blurb, yes, but a much cooler (hotter?) card than that last one. And it gets better:
|1995 Pinnacle White Hot #WH2|
I went 20 years before I learned that these things even existed. It’s a blue DUFEX version of the Red Hot insert, and it is freakin’ beautiful. I am positively obsessed with the way Dufex interacts with the flame designs here. Definitely much hotter (cooler?) than the common red version. What a stunner.
There are no stated odds given for this insert parallel, but it is certainly far rarer than the regular old 1:8 Red Hot insert. I suspect it has roughly the same scarcity as the Artist’s Proof parallels based on how many I’ve seen in the wild (very few), and the price tends to follow this theory. They’re not quite expensive enough to classify as white whales – these tend to fall into the gray whale category compared with similar Griffeys, especially for rare inserts from this era. Despite high retail and Buy It Now prices, I see these sell around $50 or less. I think they’re a bargain.
|1995 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #TP7 Griffey Dufex (w/ Barry Bonds)|
At 1:90 packs, this insert has the toughest stated odds of all the Griffeys in 1995 Pinnacle (although when you factor in the total number of cards in the set, any single Artist’s Proof card is significantly rarer), and there are TWO VERSIONS, both of which you need if you wanna be a cool cat Griffey completionist like your truly. The card has two sides, one with Griffey and the other…um, without.
As for the two versions, there is one with a Dufex Griffey side and foil on the other side, and the other with those same effects reversed. The two versions appear to be equally scarce:
|1995 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #TP7 Bonds Dufex (w/ Barry Bonds)|
For how rare it is, I’m not 100% sold on the design here. I like the insert logo, and the Dufex side is great with the flames and large team logo, but the foil side always comes across as dark. Usually scanning is the culprit when it comes to dark foil but not here. Even in person those foil sides are too damn dark. Also I’d probably appreciate this one more if they’d have put something worthwhile on the flip side of the card. Too bad.
|1995 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle Collector Pin Redemption Card #14|
The second-rarest Griffey insert by insertion ratio, these were meant to be mailed in exchange for a pin of the player on the front. This offer ended back in November 1995, and according to the rules Pinnacle would not send you back your exchange card – you would receive the pin only. Personally I would have preferred to keep the card (which is a good thing because I have the card and not the pin), but a lot of folks went ahead with the exchange; and as a result there are plenty of pins available on eBay and at card shows and such. Plus you have to admit – that is one good-looking exchange card, am I right? Pretty neat, Pinnacle.
While we’re rolling through 1995 Pinnacle, I have one more card to show:
|1995 Pinnacle All-Star Fan Fest #11|
I’m just going to pull straight from Baseballcardpedia for this one: “1995 Pinnacle FanFest is a 30-card set, distributed in two-card cello packs at the 1995 FanFest in Arlington, Texas. This was the first year Pinnacle Brands was the presenting sponsor on FanFest.”
This is far and away the simplest design Pinnacle would use on their Fan Fest cards during their three-year sponsorship run. The biggest design element here is that gold foil ball field in the bottom corner beside the Fan Fest logo. The front has a run-of-the-mill batting pose and little else.
The back, though – the back is a masterpiece. Look at that great portrait, the beautiful widescreen stadium shot, the score board, the beer signs! To hell with stats and blurbs – they nailed this card back. These are ridiculously cheap – go grab one.
So technically I have completed the Griffey checklist for 1995 Pinnacle, but if you want to get strict (and I like to get strict), there is still one card I need because I count cameos and their parallels. The Artist’s Proof of Sandy Alomar #39 is the last card I need to truly finish this one off. In addition to that, while it’s a non-official “backdoor” item, I would like to own one of those holofoil Artist’s Proof prototypes as they’re not as rare as some other backdoored Griffeys I’ve seen. I don’t consider it part of the Griffey checklist in any way – I just want one. And yes, the stupid pin. Here are my remaining needs (and wants) for 1995 Pinnacle:
1995 Pinnacle #39 Sandy Alomar, Jr. (cameo) Artist’s Proof
1995 Pinnacle Prototype Artist’s Proof (backdoored) (any)
1995 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle Collector Pin #14
That about wraps it up. While the inserts did get a lot better for the 1996 set and they added a new dimension to help bolster the rare Artist’s Proof parallel, the availability of Dufex cards of your favorite non-superstar players was greatly diminished and Pinnacle’s base designs began to decline year-after-year from here on out. There are no really big chase cards from this set, but it remains one of my favorites from the mid-90’s.