10 Most Valuable 1993 Pinnacle Baseball Cards

Most Valuable 1993 Pinnacle Baseball Cards


Much like its predecessor that debuted the year before, the 1993 Pinnacle baseball card set featured a sleek, black-border design with white accent lines.

In an era of overproduction and stiff competition, brands were doing whatever it took to stand out.

And Pinnacle certainly hit the mark from a design standpoint...

Even without the Pinnacle name in the lower-right corner of the card fronts, hobbyists knew exactly what brand they were looking at.

Time would eventually reveal that another thing Pinnacle got right was including a Derek Jeter rookie card in its checklist.

It may not be one of the greatest sets of all time, but the 1993 Pinnacle set hits the mark nostalgically and features many great-looking cards.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 10 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

Ross Uitts

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Let's be clear: most of the cards from this set do not have any value these days.

Like the 1993 Donruss, Fleer, Leaf, Topps and Upper Deck sets, large print runs saturated the market with these cards, driving down their values.

So, for the cards on this list to be worth much, they'll have to be graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition.

That means the card needs to be flawless.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the list:

1993 Pinnacle #457 Derek Jeter Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $700

During his senior season at Kalamazoo Central High School, Derek Jeter lit up the baseball field, earning multiple "High School Player of the Year" honors from Gatorade, USA Today and the American Baseball Coaches Association.

So it was no surprise when the New York Yankees drafted him in the first round of the 1992 MLB Draft with the sixth pick.

Though he wouldn't make his MLB debut until 1995, Jeter's professional baseball career began to accelerate in a big way during the 1993 season.

In 128 games for the Class A Greensboro Hornets, Jeter slashed .295/.376/.394 with five home runs, 71 RBI and 85 runs scored.

He also flashed his speed on the base paths by swiping 18 bases.

Heading into the 1993 campaign, Jeter carried the title of the 44th-best prospect in baseball but after his standout performance that year, he moved up to the 16th-best prospect heading into the 1994 season.

The wheels were in motion for one of the most outstanding careers in New York Yankees' history.

1993 Pinnacle #457 Derek Jeter Rookie Card

1993 Pinnacle #110 Ken Griffey Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $200

I love it when a baseball card showcases a given player in action doing what they were best known for.

You'll see that with other cards on this list in Nolan Ryan throwing heat, Rickey Henderson speeding along the base path, and Don Mattingly flashing his incredible glove at first base.

But the action shot on Ken Griffey Jr.'s card is easily my favorite.

It's no secret that "The Kid" had one of, if not the sweetest, swings the game has ever seen and this card perfectly captures that work of art in progress.

You can almost hear the crack of the bat as the superstar slugger sends a moon shot over the outfield wall.

Griffey was only 23 during the 1993 season but still sported a .617 slugging percentage that helped catapult his home run total above 40 (45) for the first time in his legendary career.

His incredible power helped produce 109 RBIs and an AL-best 359 total bases, ultimately landing him a second Silver Slugger in just his fifth season in the Majors.

1993 Pinnacle #110 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #75 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $150

At 46 years old, Nolan Ryan worked hard to prepare and fight through constant aches and pains to produce for the Texas Rangers in his 27th MLB season.

However, his 5-5 record, 4.88ERA, and career-low 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings clearly showed that his better days were behind him.

Yet, the fans in Arlington loved Ryan and regarded him as a hero.

That relationship with Rangers fans had been that way ever since he debuted with them in 1989.

That season, attendance climbed above the two million mark for the first time in franchise history and marked a significant uptick from just under 1.6 million who attended in 1988.

And attendance remained above two million yearly until Ryan's final season in 1993.

Sadly, Rangers fans and the baseball world would never see Ryan pitch again after a ligament in his pitching elbow popped during the first inning of a game at Seattle on September 22, 1993.

After years of wear and tear, Ryan's body had finally broken down past the point of return.

The legendary fireballer knew then and there that his iconic career had finally ended, albeit not on his terms.

1993 Pinnacle #75 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #252 Mike Piazza

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $125

Mike Piazza's father, Vince, had long worked with him to develop the raw potential and talent he saw in his son at a young age.

Yet, Major League scouts weren't necessarily beating down Piazza's door.

In fact, Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 MLB Amateur Draft, as 1,389 players were drafted ahead of him.

And the reason he was drafted at all was that his father also happened to be a good friend of the Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda.

To do a favor for Vince, Lasorda agreed to draft him.

Fortunately for Mike, Lasorda also saw his chances of making it in professional baseball as a first baseman would be pretty slim.

And so, Lasorda convinced Piazza to play catcher instead, and the rest is history.

After making his MLB debut on September 1, 1992, against the Chicago Cubs, Piazza returned for his rookie season in 1993 as the Dodgers' everyday catcher.

Not only did Piazza win Rookie of the Year honors that season, but he was also an All-Star and Silver Slugger.

And after sixteen seasons in the Majors, Piazza left a legacy as one of the greatest offensive catchers in baseball history.

1993 Pinnacle #252 Mike Piazza Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #20 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100

By the time the 1993 season rolled around, Cal Ripken Jr. had earned Rookie of the Year honors, won two MVP Awards, participated in ten consecutive All-Star Games and earned six Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.

He was well on his way to carving out his legacy as one of the game's greatest shortstops ever to play.

Yet, his other claim to fame, his record of playing in 2,632 consecutive games, nearly fell off the rails during the season.

During a heated matchup with the Seattle Mariners on June 6, Seattle's Bill Haselman charged the mound after Baltimore's Mike Mussina beaned him in the shoulder.

Both benches cleared, resulting in an all-out brawl.

However, on his way to the mound to help his teammates, Cal Ripken Jr. slipped in the grass, spraining the MCL in one of his knees.

Suddenly, Ripken's streak of 1,790 games in a row was in jeopardy.

Miraculously, Ripken prepared his knee well enough to suit up for the Orioles again the next day for a night game against the Oakland Athletics, despite not being able to put weight on it that morning.

Thankfully, one of the game's most impressive records remained in progress.

1993 Pinnacle #20 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #23 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100

Though Don Mattingly was one of the biggest superstars in the 1980s, sporting an incredible bat and one of the best gloves in the Majors, he had surprisingly never seen playoff action entering the 1993 season.

On the offensive side of things, Mattingly was a shell of his former self in 1993 as injuries had diminished the power he displayed during his heyday in the 80s.

Yet "Donnie Baseball" mustered enough strength and skill at the plate to produce arguably his best hitting campaign of the 1990s.

His .291/.364/.445 slash line, 17 home runs and 86 RBIs still showed the decline in power, but those numbers were respectable enough.

And he was still a wizard with the glove at first base.

More than individual achievements, though, Mattingly longed for the chance to make a postseason appearance.

At 88-74, the Yankees were a great team in 1993.

Unfortunately, the Yankees fell out of the division race and finished seven games behind the World Champion Toronto Blue Jays, again denying Mattingly of his playoff hopes.

1993 Pinnacle #23 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #29 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100

Through the first 90 games of the 1993 season, Rickey Henderson found himself doing what he did best for the Oakland Athletics: lighting up the basepaths.

At that point in the season, Henderson's reputation as the greatest table-setter in baseball history was on full display, as he batted .327 with 17 home runs, 47 RBIs, 77 runs scored and 31 stolen bases.

Unfortunately, the A's weren't finding ways to turn that production into wins.

And that's when the defending champion Toronto Blue Jays smelled opportunity.

Looking to make another deep run for a shot at repeating as champs, they traded Steve Karsay and José Herrera to Oakland in exchange for Henderson.

The prolific superstar's batting average fell to .241 and his on-base percentage clocked in at only .356 during his 44 games with the Blue Jays.

But, when he did get on base, he was as productive as ever, stealing another 22 bases and scoring 37 runs to help Toronto to a first-place finish in the AL East.

And in the bottom of the 9th of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series against the Phillies, Henderson found himself crossing home plate after Joe Carter sent a three-run walk-off into left to seal the repeat.

1993 Pinnacle #29 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #98 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100

Imagine hitting for a .358 average at the Major League level and not winning a batting title.

Well, that's exactly what happened to Tony Gwynn during the 1993 season.

Gwynn headed into the 1993 season determined to help lead his San Diego Padres to their third winning season in a row and in pursuit of a fifth batting title.

The legendary hitter remained as sharp and disciplined as ever at the plate, finishing with a .358 average on the year and remaining one of the toughest outs in the league.

Despite his best efforts, there would not be a third consecutive winning season in the cards for the Padres that year.

Quite the opposite occurred.

The Padres were awful, finishing with a 61-101 record in last place in the NL West and 43 games behind the division-winning Atlanta Braves.

Even more disappointing for Gwynn fans, his .358 fell just short of Colorado's Andrés Galarragga's .370 batting average.

There wasn't much to cheer about in San Diego that season.

But, Gwynn did earn his ninth trip to the All-Star Game and would bounce back aggressively in 1994, finishing with a scorching .394 batting average to seal his fifth batting crown.

1993 Pinnacle #98 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #108 Frank Thomas

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $75

The 1993 season produced many significant milestones for Frank Thomas and the Chicago White Sox.

For starters, their superstar slugger continued to be an absolute menace at the plate, batting .317 with 41 home runs, 106 runs scored, 106 RBIs, and 112 walks.

To put those numbers in perspective, Thomas became just the fifth player in MLB history to hit .300+ with more than 20 home runs and more than 100 walks, RBIs, and runs scored for three straight seasons.

Who were the other guys?

Only Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Ted Williams had pulled off numbers like that for three consecutive years before "The Big Hurt" did it again.

Incredibly, Thomas set himself entirely apart from those guys and the rest of every hitter in MLB history by doing it again the next four years to finish with seven consecutive seasons with those numbers.

And on the back of Thomas's incredible season, the Chicago White Sox finished the 1993 campaign in first place in the AL West.

It was the team's first division title in ten years.

To cap things off, Thomas also became the first player for the White Sox to win MVP since Dick Allen did so in 1972.

1993 Pinnacle #108 Frank Thomas Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle #426 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $75

From the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, Kirby Puckett consistently found his name on the list of Major League Baseball's top outfielders.

He could play with the best of them on both sides of the ball.

Over his Hall of Fame career, Puckett earned six Silver Sluggers, six Gold Gloves, and eight All-Star appearances in his twelve years as a Minnesota Twin.

But most importantly to Puckett and Twins fans, he led the franchise to their only World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.

In the process, Puckett carved out a nice name for himself as one of the biggest sports icons in Minnesota sports history.

During the 1993 campaign, Puckett delivered another fantastic campaign, slashing .296/.349/.474 with 22 home runs, 89 RBIs, 89 runs scored and 39 doubles.

However, Minnesota struggled overall and fell to fifth place in the AL West with a 71-91 record.

Puckett would play two more seasons for the Twins before retiring in 1996 due to a loss of vision in one eye.

At 36 years old, Puckett's career was cut short, but during his twelve seasons, he played at such a high level to easily earn a spot in Cooperstown.

1993 Pinnacle #426 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1993 Pinnacle Baseball Cards In Review

I've always liked the black-border design of this set, even though it made the cards susceptible to showing wear and tear.

And the quality lineup of stars and Hall of Famers throughout the 620-card checklist brings back tons of nostalgia from that era.

Of course, having a Derek Jeter rookie card inside helps a lot, too.

Without the Jeter rookie, this set would probably become an afterthought among collectors.

Unopened Box of 1993 Pinnacle Baseball Cards

The set was divided evenly into 310 cards in Series 1 and Series 2, making it a pretty simple set to track.

And like the year before, there were several interesting subsets:

  • Rookies (#238 - 288; #575 - 620)
  • Now and Then (#289 - 296; #470 - 476)
  • Idols (#297 - 303; #477 - 483)
  • Hometown Heroes (#304 - 310; #484 - 490)
  • Draft Picks (#455 - 469)

I've always liked the black-border design of this set and the quality lineup of stars and Hall of Famers.

Overall, the Jeter rookie and other big names in this set make it relevant enough to enjoy as one of the better sets from 1993.

Ross Uitts

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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