1998 Pinnacle Performers was not the last baseball card product released by Pinnacle Brands (that would be Pinnacle Plus), but it might as well have been. Towards the end, just about every Pinnacle Brands set -- with the notable exception of Score -- followed the same predictable formula: A 150-200 card base set, 100-150 of the same veterans, 25-30 "rookies," double-up the superstars with a meaningless subset; throw in a few equally meaningless inserts and a parallel or two, and wah-lah!
'98 Performers followed this formula to a Tee. The 150-card base set has 100 veterans, followed by a 37-card "Rookie" subset, 10 "Far & Away" subsets, and three checklists.
Here's a vid of me opening a pack of this stuff, and inadvertently calling a phone sex line.
The stats on the back of the regular player cards are broken down by month. Give 'em credit, it is different.
Larry is shown here rounding third, trotting home after one of his 1997 National League leading 49 homers.
Shawn Estes won 19 games in 1997.
No, really. He did.
Although picture here as a Marlin, the card denotes -- on gold foil, no less -- his trade to the Dodgers.
Derek Jeter (Far & Away)
"The igniter for the high-powered Yankees' offense that finished second in the AL with 891 runs scored in 1997, Derek also helped the pitching staff past the circuit's lowest ERA with his terrific defense at shortstop. The team's youngest regular, Derek led the '97 Yankees in runs, triples and steals."
Travis Lee (Rookie)
"Travis recorded the first hit in Arizona Diamondback history when he singled to center field in his first major-league at-bat in the bottom of the first inning on March 31 against Colorado."
David Ortiz (Rookie)
"Formerly in the Mariners' organization, David made the Twins' roster in 1998 thanks largely to his great performance in spring training when he hit .354 (17-for-48) in Grapefruit League action."
OBTW, Ortiz was sent to Minnesota as a PTBNL for '93 Phillie Dave Hollins.
Peak Performers (1:7) Jeff Bagwell
Peak Performers was the generic "foil-fronted" parallel that was standard issue in every Pinnacle Brands set. Other than the words "Peak Performers" printed on the side of the card, there is nothing mentioning WHY this particular athlete was a Peak Perfomer.
Swing for the Fences (1:2) #39
Swing for the Fences is an "Interactive" insert. Each pack contained either one of 50 player cards or one of 50 number cards. The object of the game was to match either the 1998 American League or National League home run leaders with the number card of home runs hit that player hit in 1998. If you've got both the player and the correct number, you can then send them to Pinnacle and they'd send you either an autographed Juan Gonzalez card, or a 10-pack of Swing for the Fences "upgraded" (read: parallel) cards. You were then entered into a drawing for a trip to the '99 All-Star Game.
Since Pinnacle went out of business, none of these prizes were ever fulfilled.
One last pack to go!