Revisiting’s Pinnacle’s 1994 Baseball Card Box Sets – Boxed Set Boom

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Remember the boxed set boom of the 1980s and early 1990s?

It was all the fun of baseball card collecting without the hassle of opening packs and wondering who you were going to pull. Alright, so maybe it’s not hard to see why they fell by the wayside…

Still, while most of those sets hold little value these days as a result of mass production, they make the perfect oddball addition for single player or team collectors, not to mention the nostalgia factor.

While the bulk of our focus in this series so far have been the mass-produced sets released by Fleer and Topps in conjunction with retail stores in the late 80s and early 90s, there were some boxed sets released a bit later in the game.

The Pinnacle brand debuted in 1992 as a premium product under the Score umbrella, and in 1993 they unveiled their Dufex technology which was used for a wide variety of inserts and parallels throughout the 1990s.

After putting out a trio of boxed sets in 1993, they returned with three more in 1994. One highlighted the game’s top prospects, another focused on power hitters, and a third was a more general collection of the top stars in baseball.

1994 Pinnacle Baseball Card Box Sets

1994 Pinnacle New Generation

Cards: 25
Hall of Famers: 2

Prospects are often a major focal point of the hobby, so highlighting the game’s top youngsters in a boxed set was an obvious move.

The checklist begins with 1993 AL Rookie of the Year Tim Salmon and 1993 NL Rookie of the Year Mike Piazza, but the rest of the checklist is made up of players on the rise still who were still trying to break through in the majors.

There are plenty of duds on the checklist, but they also hit on several future MLB contributors, including Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Delgado, Javy Lopez, Cliff Floyd, Jeromy Burnitz, J.T. Snow and Rondell White. A total of 100,000 sets were printed.

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1994 Pinnacle Power Surge

Cards: 25
Hall of Famers: 4

Surprisingly, there are only four Hall of Famers included in a 25-card set that focused on the biggest power hitters in baseball heading into the 1994 season.

The foursome of enshrined players is Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, while Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield are among the other big names. Curiously absent is Barry Bonds, who hit an NL-high 46 home runs the previous year and was undoubtedly one of the game’s top sluggers.

Meanwhile, Phil Plantier, Mark Whiten, Rick Wilkins and Chris Hoiles all found their way into the set. This one also has a print run of 100,000.

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1994 Pinnacle The Naturals

Cards: 25
Hall of Famers: 10

The only one of the three boxed sets to use Pinnacle’s Dufex technology, 1994 Pinnacle The Naturals Baseball stands up as one of the best-looking boxed sets of the 1990s.

There are 10 Hall of Famers included on the 25-card checklist, with Roberto Alomar, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken Jr., Ryne Sandberg and Frank Thomas all part of the mix.

Unlike the Power Surge set, Barry Bonds did make the cut in this one.

Florida Marlins slugger Gary Sheffield was the cover athlete for this boxed set, alongside a sticker that claims the set highlights 25 players with “outstanding athletic ability” and hypes the product’s Dufex technology.

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Joel Reuter

Joel is a National MLB Columnist at Bleacher Report who has spent the last decade as a full-time MLB writer. A lifelong Cubs fan and Chicago resident, nostalgia drives his card-collecting focus. He is currently working on assembling the entire base catalogs of four of his all-time favorites—Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.

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