1997 New Pinnacle Baseball Press Plates

Ryan Klesko 1997 New Pinnacle #13 Press Plate Black BackPress Plates have been around since day one. Every now and then the Topps Vault will release a few for auction. Just a little while ago, two of the four plates for the 1978 Topps Molitor/Trammell RC surfaced. As rare as this type of situation is, it does happen. Plates weren’t inserted into packs until 1997. Before then, they were naturally much more difficult to obtain. Either way, a plate is a plate and each is a 1/1 artifact. These days, plates are more common and can be had for just a few bucks on eBay. Like any novel innovation however, the first is always the most significant and often stands the test of time by retaining its value. The 1997 New Pinnacle Press Plates in particular are significant in the sense that they are the first plates to be inserted into packs. The on-card autograph of the then Pinnacle CEO, Jerry Meyer is, indeed a nice touch.

It’s too bad the concept of on-card CEO signatures didn’t flourish within the hobby. This little trick really sets the card apart from oversaturated hobby trends. Then again, I suppose that if this concept lasted, it too would have become a tired trend like the rest. The key is to keep it fresh, offer variety often and stay novel. That’s exactly what was happening at Pinnacle in the 90’s and I think that’s why I always found their products vastly superior to competing brands for the time. Not only was Pinnacle product superior but every year was a surprise. Whether it be dufex technology, highly popular Artist’s Proofs or even innovative packaging techniques, Pinnacle created some of the rarest and most attractive products.

Jerry Meyer: Former CEO of Pinnacle Brands:

Ryan Klesko 1997 New Pinnacle #13 Press Plate BlackLet’s talk for a moment about former Pinnacle CEO Jerry Meyer. As a business reviver and firm believer in and promotor of self-management, Meyer’s encouraged a great deal of autonomy among his employees. Mayer joined Pinnacle Brands in 1994 right in the middle of the baseball (and hockey) strike. This shift in paradigms significantly hurt the hobby and to survive, Pinnacle needed a morale boost. That boost came in the form of a philosophy of self-management. During a 1995 interview with Ted Koppel on Nightline, Mayer states, “The company doesn’t owe you anything. From now on, you’re going to create your own security.” As hard as this was to hear from Pinnacle employees, it forced them to stay on their game. As a result, the high degree of survival-autonomy resulted in the production of trading cards of superior quality. During this time, instead of sending them to Pinnacle’s law firm to be completed, the company’s legal assistant completed legal forms on her own, by which saving the company upwards of $100,000. Although Pinnacle was comfortably swimming the sea of success and survival, Meyer’s threw in the towel in 1998 which ultimately meant the desolve of the Pinnacle brand.

Pinnacle vs the rest:

Fast forward to today, hobby trends and gimmicks have come and gone but over the course of the past 12 years, Pinnacle products have become more valuable and more sought after with each passing year. Innovations like CEO on-card signatures (as depicted here), Artist’s Proofs, Press Plate availability and the famous dufex technology are still highly coveted by many collectors. As long as I am a collector, I will remain fond of the once exciting but now nostalgic feeling of pulling a Museum Collection or Artist’s Proof parallel. To me, no amount of memorabilia cards will ever hold a penny to Pinnacle’s dufex technology. From an overall aesthetics and innovations standpoint, to this day, Pinnacle wins every time, hands down, no contest…

Question of the Day:

How does a Real Estate company sell its office without causing confusion?

8 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *