In search of… 1998 Pinnacle 2

I’m probably closer to AARP membership than most bloggers, but I hope at least a few people remember a TV show I remember.  The show was called In Search Of.  Leonard Nimoy was the host. The show was a documentary and investigated X-Files stuff – bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, etc. As a kid it was awesome (and more than a little scary).

This post isn’t about the Bermuda Triangle or the Fountain of Youth, but it is about a hobby mystery – What happened to 1998 Pinnacle Series 2? Huh?!? 1998 Pinnacle was a one series product. Well, let’s just look at the facts.  (The truth is out there.)

Pinnacle folded in 1998

The collapse of Pinnacle in 1998 has been well documented.  Do a search over on Wax Heaven for “Pinnacle”, and you’ll find all you need.  If there was going to be a year in which Pinnacle was going to get caught with its pants down and not be able to finish its product, it was 1998.  The bankruptcy argument alone is pretty flimsy, but it opens the door for the discussion.

1998 Pinnacle Press Plates

We have Pinnacle to thank for press/printing plates.  Pinnacle started it all in 1997 and continued the tradition in 1998.  The backs of all 1998 Pinnacle Press Plates indicate that they are from Series 1.  If this isn’t evidence that 1998 Pinnacle was initially planned to have multiple series, then I don’t know what does.

I admit that this isn’t a lock.  Look at a box of 1999 Collector’s Choice (a single series product), and you’ll see Series One written on the front.  You could argue that any single series product could be called series one.

Do I have any other proof for multiple series for 1998 Pinnacle?  Funny you should ask…

Player checklist

Look at the starters in the 1997 All-Star Game.  They are shown below by league.  Players marked with an asterisk have a regular card (non subset) in the 1998 Pinnacle set.

American League
Brady Anderson
Alex Rodriguez
Ken Griffey Jr.
Tino Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Paul O’Neill
Cal Ripken
Ivan Rodriguez
Roberto Alomar
Randy Johnson

National League
Craig Biggio*
Tony Gwynn*
Barry Bonds*
Mike Piazza*
Jeff Bagwell*
Larry Walker*
Ken Caminiti*
Ray Lankford*
Jeff Blauser*
Greg Maddux*

Dang!!  Not a single American League starter made the set while every National League starter was included.  I would bet that Series 2 was going to focus on the AL All-Stars.

Conclusion

I think 1998 Pinnacle was meant to be a two series set.  At some point very early in the design (but after player selection and layout of the press plates) Pinnacle realized that they were just going to do a single series set.  By the time the boxes and packs were put together, essentially all evidence of multiple series had been erased. The reason for shortening the set was probably financial, but who knows.

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