A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pinnacle + Tony Gwynn = Pretty Rad

I've been meaning to post this for a few days, but the Padres have been on a four game losing streak, which has put me in a less-than-great mood with baseball-related stuff.  However, they won today, so now I'm back on the wagon.

Lots of people have favorite card sets, right?  I know I do.  Something that looks really great in a binder page.  It makes sense, we collectors are a visual breed.

But what about favorite brands?  Seems like a strange concept, perhaps, since things change and vary so much from set to set, but if I had to choose a favorite brand, it'd be Pinnacle.  While a lot of it would have to do with it's inaugural set, which is my favorite all time set, there's something about Pinnacle that I just love.

Anyways, my favorite card brand combined with my favorite binder to look through (my GWYNN binder), leads to a look at the base set of each Pinnacle release, looking at each Tony Gwynn card in there.

1992 Pinnacle #400
Man, I seriously love this card.  It is so rad.  This kind of photo is the best kind of action photo to use for Gwynn cards.  The black border looks awesome, and the way the ball is passing through the border into the photo is killer.  In my book, '92 Pinnacle is too tough to top.  I also like that Tony got number 400.  He became the closest to hit .400 since Ted Williams a few years later, so it seems like a good, solid number to use.

1993 Pinnacle #98
Alright, so everything that was rad about the '92 Gwynn is pretty much gone here, except for the black borders.  Pretty unimaginative, overly simplistic.  The photo here is also pretty weak, though I dig the shades.  Meh, let's move on, I don't want to change my mind about this post now.

1994 Pinnacle #4
Wow, hey, this is a pretty low number.  That's cool.  If I had built this set, he'd be on the front page.  With some full bleed cards like this one, it's kind of hard to judge the design.  The only thing that separates this from a plain old 2"x3" photo is the logo in the top right corner and the nameplate-thingy in the bottom left corner.  These things both look above average to me, and this is a pretty sweet shot of Tony.  I'd imagine that the ball that Mr. Padre has just hit is a foul one, but if you squint a bit, I can imagine that he just launched one into the right field bleachers at Jack Murphy Stadium.

1995 Pinnacle #93
ALL RIGHT!  Some multiple exposure photography!  While not quite on par with some of Upper Deck's masterpieces, this is still pretty awesome.  I'm kinda over the overuse of gold-type foil on baseball cards now, but at the time, these were pretty cool.  Sure, they only have the last name on them, and the horizontal cards don't look sharp, but I liked these still.

1996 Pinnacle #205
Probably the most boring of the Gwynn pictures in this post, but Pinnacle made up for it by including a few other Gwynn's in the set.  This is the base card though, so here it is.  I really liked the '96 Pinnacle set because the Padres team set was so rad.  Lots of gold foil again.  Still solid.

1997 Pinnacle #42
If you are familiar with '97 Pinnacle, you'll know that it was initially going to be released in two series, but the idea got scrapped and instead, "Pinnacle New" was released after it.  The design was completely different.  At this point, the gold foil on the bottom of the card is beginning to feel overused, but I actually really like the details they've added in the foil, which are different locations around the cities that each team play in.  Seaport Village, the Gaslamp District, Miramar, Balboa Park, and La Jolla Cove are among the places that get mentioned for San Diego.  While this was probably pretty lame to thirteen year old me at the time, it is really cool to thirty year old me.

1998 Pinnacle #1
Alright, this is the end of the ride.  The last base set to be released by Pinnacle (well, until it was shortly revived in 2013).  And where did good old Tony end up?  With the very first card!  Can't ask for much more than that.  To be honest, this seems almost like an Upper Deck design, but still pretty solid.

Well, it's only seven years worth of cards, which certainly doesn't hold a candle to Topps, or even Fleer or Upper Deck, and after taking a harder look, my love of Pinnacle seems a little less warranted, but I love it still.

I guess it's hard to take advice from someone who goes out of his way to follow the Padres, who are flat out horrible at worst and mediocre at best.  Sometimes, they're as mediocre as a '93 Pinnacle card.  But every once in a while, they have some '92 Pinnacle moments, and they keep me coming back.

EDIT: I would've included the card from 2013 Pinnacle, but there was no card of Tony's in the base set.  He had to settle for an insert card.  Maybe I'll do a post on "other" Pinnacle cards later.


  1. I'm with you on the foil being overused, but the detail on the 1997 cards is pretty neat!

  2. All I can say is: Pinnacle rules.

  3. I really enjoyed Pinnacle the first couple of years... but it eventually lost its luster. The one thing I'll never stop appreciating is the use of Dufex technology on their parallels. That stuff is awesome!

  4. I'll keep saying it: I think '98 was one of the best years for cards. 98 Pinnacle was gorgeous.