30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cheap Cool Cards #15: My Greg Maddux Team Pinnacle Collection

Within the last year or so, I've noticed a lot of collectors migrating back to the overproduced inserts of the 90's... and I'm right there with them. There's a myriad of reasons why I'm starting to appreciate them again... but it ultimately boils down to these three:

#1 - The two baseball players whom I will always collect were at the top of their games in the 90's, so they're featured on hundreds of different inserts/parallels during that decade.

#2 - I'm a huge fan of card technologies introduced during that decade: acetate, refractors, mirrors, dufex, foil, wood, and of course metal.

#3 - But... probably the biggest reason is that most of them can be picked up at a fraction of the cost on either eBay or COMC.

So... when I did my routine search for Tony Gwynn and Greg Maddux cards on COMC, I came across these Team Pinnacle cards from the mid 90's. The series of sets have always featured two players, who play the same position on one card (one on each side). Originally, the sets featured the artwork of Chris Greco... but eventually in 1995 they started using photographs.

The inaugural year for this set is 1992, but neither Gwynn or Maddux was featured in it. In 1993, Maddux was paired up with Mike Mussina of the Baltimore Orioles:

1993 Pinnacle "Team Pinnacle" #1 Greg Maddux/Mike Mussina (BV: $15)

That year the Team Pinnacle cards were inserted into Pinnacle Series 1 packs at a rate of 1:24 packs.

The following year, Maddux made his second consecutive appearance in the set. This time he was paired with White Sox ace... Jack McDowell.

1994 Pinnacle "Team Pinnacle" #9 Greg Maddux/Jack McDowell (BV: $10)

They were a little more difficult to pull in 1994... falling into collector's hands at a rate of 1:48 packs.

1995 marked the first year that Tony Gwynn was inserted into the set. He was paired with another one of my favorite players... Mr. Kirby Puckett. Maddux was also in the set along with his 1993 partner... Mike Mussina. I'm still trying to hunt down both of these cards, so if you have either and want to work out a trade... please PM me. The odds became even more insane as Pinnacle inserted them into packs at a rate of 1:90 packs.

In 1996, Maddux made his fourth straight Team Pinnacle issue... while Gwynn was left off the checklist. This time Maddux was paired up with Seattle's Randy Johnson.

1994 Pinnacle "Team Pinnacle" #9 Greg Maddux/Randy Johnson (BV: $12)

Pinnacle made it a little easier to pull that year, but not by much. They were inserted into packs at a rate of 1:72 packs.

Neither Maddux or Gwynn were part of the 1997 set. Maddux was replaced by teammate John Smoltz and Pinnacle went with Gary Sheffield instead of Gwynn to represent the National League's right field. Pinnacle went back to the 1:90 packs ratio that year.

1998 was the final year Team Pinnacle cards were produced and thankfully Maddux and Gwynn were both included. Unfortunately... neither are part of my collection, so I'm looking for these too. In it's final year, due to Pinnacle filing for bankruptcy... they were inserted into 1:71 packs.

In 2009, Panini purchased Donruss/Playoff, who own the rights to the Pinnacle brand. So... maybe one day Panini will obtain the right to produce MLB cards again... and we'll see these beautiful cards again.

Until then... I encourage you to head over to COMC and check out these cheap cool cards that were once considered pretty valuable. I was able to pick up all three of these cards for $4.60 (shipping not included).

So what about you...

What's your favorite baseball card insert set from the 90's?

Happy Saturday everyone... Sayonara!


  1. Someone posted an awesome insert set with stained glass windows in the background, which I loved, but now I forget the name and haven't been able to find them since :(

    Anyway, whatever they are, they're my favorites

  2. My favorite is the 1996 Ultra Hitting Machines (http://baseballcardsrule.blogspot.com/2011/02/1996-ultra-hitting-machines-2-barry.html). You know I love 90's inserts. If anyone has any for trade please contact me at info@baseballcardsrule.com.

  3. nathan - I wonder if you're talking about 1996 Studio Stained Glass Stars. You can see a picture of a Greg Maddux & others on COMC:


    baseball cards rule - That's the first time I've seen these... but they sure are nice. I'm going to the TriStar show next weekend and will keep my eyes peeled for you. Are there any in particular that you're looking for?

  4. Fuji: Not looking for anything inparticular. I am trying to collect any 90's inserts I can get my hands on.

  5. I miss Pinnacle so much. They were always trying new thing and putting out fun products. It's a shame that they're still not around.

    I've got a ton of cards that pair up Mike Piazza with Ivan Rodriguez. Whether it was an All-Star carc or a Team Pinnacle card, they'd show up together.

    It's pretty tough to pick one insert set from the 90s since both Fleer Ultra and Pinnacle did some beautiful ones, but off of the top of my head I'm going to have to go with Pinnacle's Red Hot and especially the White Hot parallels. Beautiful cards.

  6. offy - it's been years since i've seen those "red hot" and "white hot" cards. looks like I'll have to hunt down the gwynn and maddux cards from these sets too. couldn't agree more on your pinnacle comment... glad to see they produced a hockey set this year... maybe they'll bring them back in other sports too.

  7. I'm not sure if Pinnacle by Panini will be the same though. The Dufex doesn't look as good and there's no way that Panini will ever take the risks that Pinnacle did. Panini doesn't even take the risk of spending the money on different designs for their jersey and auto cards. Hopefully they'll at least bring back what worked for Pinnacle.