Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1995 Pinnacle Hobby Box Break (Series Two)

If you were to say "Why are you writing about a box nobody cares about these days?" I'd have to say, I guess the thing that happens is you start studying these sets and they become more interesting.  There's some goodness in every set, practically.

This box is inexpensive (now) and enjoyable.  You may get some hard to pull inserts and you will get some easier to pull inserts.  The inserts still look pretty sharp.

There's also some very creative photography in the base set.

I collected cards from 1978 to 1992 or so.  I then pretty much stopped until 2003.  Although I opened a few of these Pinnacle boxes several weeks ago, it was the first time I had ever cracked this product.  There are many cards I had never seen.  There is a certain thrill in discovering new pictures of old heroes, 14 years after the fact.

Many of you know about this set.  I am curious as to what your thoughts were of it when it first came out?  Did you enjoy it?  Was there buzz about it or was it just another run-of-the-mill release?

I think it holds up well, but I am admittedly a somewhat easy audience to please when the price doesn't break me.

So let the box break begin!

(Click image to view the insert odds) 

1995 Pinnacle Hobby Box (Series Two)
24 packs, 12 cards per pack
Cost: $9.00 (includes shipping)

Series Two consists of 225 cards.  You'll receive 288 cards total so expect a fair amount of doubles.

The design is pleasing, with gold foil running across the bottom.  A peek-a-boo Glavine.

 A winking Eck.

The backs are nice as well.  Two more pictures.  What the heck kind expression IS that on Joey's face?  Is that surprise?  Is that hope?  Surprise mixed with hope and a touch of fear or disbelief?

Two wonderful cards.  I'm always a sucker for sky and cloud shots.

This is a classic Frank Thomas card that really summed up how pitchers must have felt about him at that time.  Thomas was coming off back to back MVP seasons (1993, 1994).  He was indeed literally a monster on the field.

Kenny Rogers right after throwing a perfect game (just the 12th in history at that time).

When I was a kid, to me, Kirby looked like a stuffed animal that had come to life.  He looked super friendly and always happy.  He was my favorite new player in 1984.  By the end of 1985 he was my favorite player, period.  I didn't care that up to that point he had hit just four home runs in some 1200 career at bats.  In 1986, when he exploded for 31 home runs, it confirmed what I knew all along:  Kirby was magical.

Kirk being Kirk.  Steinbach lacing a ball to right with perfect lines.

Creative shot of O'Neil.  O'Neil sure had a temper.  He once misplayed a ball in right field and in one fluid motion kicked the ball to the infield.  It was a great kick too.  His anger was almost always directed at himself.

For a guy known to be humble and not at all arrogant, The Kruker sure looks like he has a big head.

You are looking at a combination that eventually hit 896 home runs total.

This card really made me say WOW.  It's a dramatic shot even though Clark signing autographs is not an inherently dramatic moment.

The late Rod Beck signing for the fans.  Check out the baseballs being handed to him!  That one ball in the bag looks loaded with autos.

The moment I saw this it became one of my favorite Albert Belle cards.  It has it all.  The intense look, the monster swing.  And on the back...

A smiling Belle!  And Belle hard at work before the game.  Plus, BAM, the 1994 stats:  .357 ba with 36 bombs in just 412 at bats.

The front of this Belle card is one of only two base cards in Series Two that shows an action shot in a small bubble coupled with a larger shot to the right.  The other card with this design is Tim Salmon.  At least I believe they are the only two cards set up this way in this series.  I think I've seen all Series Two base by now.

Ah, the Rusty Greer we all remember, turning double plays at second base.  He was definitely a gamer.  The problem is Greer never played second base in the majors.  Not one game.  Not one inning from what I could find.  This is either Jeff Frye or Doug Strange.  I believe it's Doug Strange but it's hard to tell.  Strange, Frye and Greer really did look very similar in 1994.

Here's the design they chose for rookies:

This is the weakest design in the series.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are no rookies worth owning in this set.

Look at Ray McDavid's swing.  It's a huge, triumphant follow through.  His expression and high raised arms would give us the indication he regularly mashed balls out of the park.  It's a Ruthian pose.  McDavid never actually hit a major league home run.  In 45 lifetime at bats he hit just .222 with one extra base hit (a double).  I guess those were harmless fly balls.  Thank God I wasn't collecting in 1995 because this type of picture is exactly the kind of thing that would have duped me into collecting McDavid.  He definitely looks like a legend here. 

There's also some super stadium shots on numerous cards.  Another angle on this set:

Series Two has a 30 player subset called 'Swing Men' as well:

Because these constitute 13% of Series Two, you can expect a good amount.  I received 39 'Swing Men' from this box.  That's almost exactly 13% of the cards I opened so the distribution was dead on.

Like the rest of the base in this set, the cards aren't worth much.  But they do look pretty cool and most of them are stars or at least semi-stars.

The back of the 'Swing Men' cards have bats stacked all nice.  It's a good look.

On the left is a 'Museum Collection' insert.  On the right is the standard base version.  This scan does not do the 'Museum Collection' justice but they are visually pleasing in person.  Most of you probably have some of these in your collection.

You get a better idea of the 'Museum Collection' look in this scan.


Of the six 'Museum Collection' cards from this box it was basically two stars, a semi star (Abbott), and three commons.  That's about the usual mix from what I've seen in previous boxes.  They fall on average 1 in 4 packs so six is the norm you will receive each box.

Now for the biggest hits (as this box goes).  These two cards came in the same pack.  I have to think that is unusual:


'Red Hot' inserts fall 1 in 16 packs on average, so you will almost always get at least one per box.  There are 25 different 'Red Hot' cards including Puckett, Maddux, Griffey Jr., Clemens, Mattingly and many other big stars.  A handful are semi-duds (Mondesi, Floyd, Baerga).  Gwynn is a nice pull and my favorite card of the box.

This is actually the hardest insert to pull (that they list).  Only 1 in 90 packs will have a 'New Blood' card.  There are just nine different 'New Blood' players.  Chipper Jones and Delgado are the only notable stars besides Alex Rodriguez.

Other possible inserts include White Hot (1:36 packs), Artist's Proof (1:36 packs) and Pin Redemption (1:48 packs).

Overall you will end up with about eight inserts total.  Combine that with a reasonable price (should be 10-20 dollars) and a pretty impressive set of pictures and designs, and this box is a good way to go if you want to grab some inserts without busting the wallet.

Plus it brings back memories of the players a lot of us watched as kids.

Thanks for reading!


  1. That Ozzie museum collection is AMAZING. Great pull!

  2. I have the "Greer" card set aside to post on at some point. I'm fairly sure that is Jeff Frye. Also, I have NEVER seen that Will Clark card.

  3. I would have to guess that's Jeff Frye on the Greer card.

  4. At some point, I think that I need to break open at least one box of every 90s Pinnacle baseball product. I bust 1995 back when it came out and the cards still hold up. The Dufex cards are always beautiful. I've got a Piazza White Hot in my collection and it is definitely one of the best looking cards that I have.