Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1996 Summit Baseball

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Summit was a premium product introduced by Pinnacle in 1995. The cards were printed on thicker card stock than other Pinnacle sets. The 1996 Summit Baseball set released that July and looked almost nothing like the debut release. The base set consists of 200 cards that feature a starburst design surrounding the photo, with a black pinstripe background. The only holdovers from the 1995 Summit design were gold foil names and team logos.

1996 Summit Baseball Box

Also new to 1996 Summit Baseball were serial numbered inserts. Overall, the checklist has five different insert sets, all withg serial numbering on the backs. On release day, packs of 1996 Summit Baseball carried a $3 price tag. Summit disappeared from Pinnacle’s product mix after this 1996 release.

Fun Facts are provided by Bleacher Report National MLB Columnist Joel Reuter. You can follow Joel on Twitter (@JoelReuterBR) and check out his work at Bleacher Report. You can also catch Joel regularly on Beckett with his One-Sheet Collections series.

1996 Summit Baseball Box Break

Cards per pack: 7
Packs per box: 18
Price paid: $40

Shop for 1996 Summit Baseball boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Carlos Baerga, Lee Smith, Bobby Bonilla & Mark Grace

Pack 1 fun fact: Mark Grace hit a career-high .331 during the 1996 season, good for fifth in the NL batting title race behind Tony Gwynn (.353), Ellis Burks (.344), Mike Piazza (.336) and Lance Johnson (.333).

Pack 2:

Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez & Paul Wilson/Roger Clemens Above and Beyond (1:4 packs)

Pack 2 fun fact: The No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 draft, Paul Wilson was the No. 2 prospect on the Baseball America Top 100 list at the start of the 1996 campaign.

Pack 3:

Jim Abbott, Bernie Williams, Ryne Sandberg & Sandberg Hitters Inc. #ed 0734/4000 (1:36 packs)

Pack 3 fun fact: After briefly retiring for the 1995 season, Ryne Sandberg returned with a 25-homer, 92-RBI season in 1996.

Pack 4:

Raul Mondesi, Cecil Fielder & Chipper Jones

Pack 4 fun fact: An All-Star for the first time in his age-24 season in 1996, Chipper Jones hit .309/.393/.530 with 32 doubles, 30 home runs and 110 RBI to finish fourth in NL MVP balloting.

Pack 5:

Derek Jeter, Juan Gonzalez, Edgar Martinez & Trevor Hoffman Above and Beyond (1:4 packs)

Pack 5 fun fact: Derek Jeter won AL Rookie of the Year honors unanimously in 1996. He was followed in voting by James Baldwin (White Sox) and Tony Clark (Tigers).

Pack 6:

Greg Maddux, David Cone, Mike Piazza & Ken Griffey, Jr. CL

Pack 6 fun fact: Greg Maddux had a “down” year in 1996 to snap his run of four straight NL Cy Young wins. He went 15-11 with a 2.72 ERA and finished fifth in the balloting.

Pack 7:

Will Clark, Roberto Alomar, Raul Mondesi/Tim Salmon & Fred McGriff

Pack 7 fun fact: Tim Salmon ranks 152nd on the all-time home run list with 299 career long balls. Raul Mondesi is not far behind at 193rd with 271 career big flies. This had to be one of the better comparisons in the Deja Vu insert set.

Pack 8:

Livan Hernandez & duplicate Mo Vaughn cards

Pack 8 fun fact: Livan Hernandez made one appearance as a September call-up in 1996, throwing three scoreless innings of relief. The following year he finished runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting and won NLCS and World Series MVP honors.

Pack 9:

Frank Thomas CL, Tino Martinez & Will Clark Above and Beyond (1:4 packs)

Pack 9 fun fact: The Yankees acquired Tino Martinez prior to the 1996 season from the Seattle Mariners in a five-player deal that also brought reliever Jeff Nelson to New York. That stands as one of the better trades in recent franchise history.

Pack 10:

Andres Galarraga & Jeff Bagwell Ballparks (1:15 packs)

Pack 10 fun fact: Jeff Bagwell was a .303/.421/.546 hitter with 126 home runs and 469 RBI in 661 career games at the Astrodome.

Pack 11:

Garret Anderson, Ken Caminiti, Karim Garcia/Sammy Sosa & Ivan Rodriguez

Pack 11 fun fact: Karim Garcia was No. 7 on the Baseball America Top 100 prospect list at the start of the 1996 season. His power potential never materialized in the majors, but he hit 285 home runs in 12 seasons in the Japanese League, Korean Baseball Organization and Mexican League.

Pack 12:

Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla & Joe Carter

Pack 12 fun fact: Dante Bichette is perhaps the single greatest example of the Coors Field Effect in club history. In 1996, he hit .366 with 22 home runs and 99 RBI in 81 games at home, compared to .253 with nine home runs and 42 RBI on the road.

Pack 13:

Trevor Hoffman, Paul Molitor, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kenny Lofton & John Valentin

Pack 13 fun fact: One of the most underrated players of the 1990s, John Valentin hit 118 home runs and racked up 32.3 WAR during the decade.

Pack 14:

Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Shawn Green, Greg Vaughn, Moises Alou & Mike Grace Above and Beyond (1:4 packs)

Pack 14 fun fact: Mike Grace went 7-2 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts as a rookie in 1996. However, his career failed to take off from there and he played just three more seasons in the majors.

Pack 15:

Stealin’ Sammy Sosa. That doesn’t seem right.

Pack 15 fun fact: Sammy Sosa had 159 career steals at the start of the 1996 season, including a pair of 30-30 campaigns. He went on to steal just 75 more bases over the final 11 years of his career.

Pack 16:

Livan Hernandez, Larry Walker & Mike Mussina

Pack 16 fun fact: Mike Mussina won his first of seven Gold Glove Awards in 1996. Only Greg Maddux (18), Jim Kaat (16), Bob Gibson (9) and Bobby Shantz (8) have more.

Pack 17:

Carlos Delgado, Omar Vizquel & Jim Edmonds

Pack 17 fun fact: Omar Vizquel is remembered for his defense, but he also made an impact offensively in his prime. He hit .297 with 35 steals and 98 runs scored in 1996, tallying more walks (56) than strikeouts (42).

Pack 18:

Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Gwynn & Hideo Nomo Above and Beyond (1:4 packs)

Pack 18 fun fact: Hideo Nomo struck out at least 200 batters four times in his 12-year career, and his 1,918 career strikeouts rank 100th on the all-time list.

Lastly, the Bonds card back. Pinnacle tried something different here, showing each player’s monthly stats for the 1995 season.

I actually enjoyed 1996 Summit Baseball . I am not quite sure why this product only lasted for two baseball releases. The thicker card stock is nice, and they chose some great photos, my favorites being the players off the field, signing autographs or in the dugout. The Above and Beyond parallels really pop after seeing the mostly black base cards.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pull any of the tougher inserts. In addition to the two inserts I did pull, there are Big Bang and Big Bang Mirage, both found once in every 72 packs and numbered to just 600 copies. All things considered, I did fairly well, especially when you look at the names I pulled Above and Beyond parallels of: Clemes/Wilson, Will Clark, Hideo Nomo and Trevor Hoffman being the biggest.

This is a fun product to open, especially if you can find it cheap.

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Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site, like eBay, and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission.

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  1. Benjamin Pfiester 7 October, 2020 at 21:19

    I love this product. Above and Beyond parallels are some of the best of the era! Great box!

  2. Moz 8 October, 2020 at 03:16

    This was a great set to collect at the time. I really enjoyed the serial numbered inserts. something you don’t see now.

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