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1997 Pinnacle Certified Baseball Review

Certified
Shortly after the aforementioned NJ trip from my last post, I decided to crack a box of 1997 Pinnacle Duplified er….Certified (you can see where this is going). The set includes 150 cards, and then 1 extra card, number 151 was available only through an exchange. Didn’t I just write about a set with a similar trait? That extra card belonged to Jose Cruz, Jr. If you don’t know who he is, you obviously weren’t following baseball in 1997. Anyways, back to the product. There were 135 regular base cards, followed by a 15-card subset known as “Certified Stars” that featured some of the game’s best. Some of the names in this subset included Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Greg Maddux, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Hideo Nomo (I know it sounds funny saying this today). This box contained 20 packs of 6 cards each. In these packs, one could find some nice inserts and some REALLY nice parallels. Let’s examine:

Base cards: Out of 150 (I didn’t not receive a Cruz exchange card) base cards, I only received 85 to the set. I received THIRTY duplicates. I don’t know if this product is notorious for bad collation, but this was horrible. I didn’t think I’d be that far away from putting together the set after 1 box!

Certified Red: Following in the footsteps of 1996 Select Certified, this product comes with a Certified Red parallel. They are seeded 1 in every 5 packs. I received these parallel cards of Will Clark, Jorge Posada, Bobby Bonilla, and Matt Williams. Unlike its predecessor though, this is the only NON-mirror parallel to the set. Some of you may remember that 1996 Select Certified had (in addition to the Mirror Red, Blue, and Gold variations) Artist’s Proof, Certified Red, and Certified Blue parallels.

Mirror Red: I was lucky enough to pull a Mirror Red card in this box, and it was a Hall of Famer to boot! It was of the Certified Stars subset of Tony Gwynn. Mirror Red cards can be found 1 in every 99 packs on average. That’s 5 boxes worth right there! I would’ve been happy with just about any mirror given the rarity of them so this was nice. For the record, Mirror Blue cards are seeded 1 in every 199 packs and Mirror Gold cards are seeded 1 in every 299 packs! In 1996 Select Certified, these mirrors had basically the same odds and print runs for those were stated as follows: Red (90 of each), Blue (45 of each), Gold (30 of each). No such print runs were given for 1997’s parallels, but one could assume that they’re most likely pretty similar.

There is also a supposed Mirror Black parallel, but the details are still sketchy to this day. What do these look like? Picture that Hideo Nomo base card above with a mirror finish but still with the black nameplate area. It is unknown if all the cards in the set have this parallel. Whenever these cards appeared, they were thought to be 1/1 cards, but a blurb in Beckett long ago claimed that at least TWO copies of Jay Buhner and the Juan Gonzalez Certified Stars subset had been pulled so we may never know the truth about this phantom parallel.

One strange thing about this box was (I am aware of that “ON AVERAGE” mumbo jumbo, mind you) that I did not get any inserts from the Certified Team or Lasting Impressions sets. Both have stated odds of 1:19 packs, roughly 1 per box. It was a little disappointing not receiving anything from either set. No, I don’t think I got a crooked box. I got this from a pretty reputable seller (Dave and Adam’s!). So I got shorted a couple inserts, but hit a 1 in 5 box parallel. I guess those somewhat even out. Then again, out of the 85 cards I needed to build the set, 35% of those came with an extra copy, which sucks. Overall, I’d say it was about an average break, not real great, but not the worst either.

Thanks for the read!
-John

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