15 Most Valuable 1994 Pinnacle Baseball Cards

Written By Ross Uitts

Last Updated: May 11, 2024

Although 1994 Pinnacle baseball cards received a design overhaul to give them a more premium look and feel, the hobby wasn't immediately impressed.

Most collectors today may not remember them at all...

Given the fierce competition of the day, multiple brands had already gone down that route.

Leaf, Stadium Club, Ultra and Upper Deck already had a premium look.

And Finest, Flair, and SP had even cracked into the "super-premium" segment the year before.

To make matters worse, the hobby would soon decline severely after the fallout of the 1994 MLB players' strike.

It may have already been too little, too late, for the Pinnacle brand, which would last through 1998.

Despite the lack of hobby recognition, 1994 Pinnacle will surely trigger some nostalgia for any collector who was active at that time.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 15 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

1994 Pinnacle #100 Ken Griffey Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $55

Usually, I like to see a Griffey card showcasing his iconic smooth swing as he watches a likely home run sail over the outfield fence.

Yet, other times it's nice to see him presented in the happy-go-lucky nature with which he approached the game.

When Griffey arrived on the professional baseball scene, nobody was used to a guy running around with his hat backward, sunglasses propped on it and smiling all the time.

But that's who Griffey was.

What else could you expect from a guy nicknamed "The Kid"?

Baseball traditionalists at the time may have been a bit annoyed or disturbed by his playful antics, but all was quickly forgotten when they saw the seriousness with which he took his craft.

Griffey had begun the first five years of his career with a bang.

But no one could've imagined the blazing pace he'd set out upon during the 1994 season.

On July 1, Griffey had already racked up 32 home runs, putting him two ahead of Babe Ruth's record of 30 by that date.

In May alone, the slugger had belted 15 dingers.

Fans were on edge game after game, wondering if he could eventually catch Roger Maris's single-season record of 61 homers.

Yet, the players' strike slammed the brakes on his pursuit, ending it at 40.

1994 Pinnacle #100 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #23 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

On August 12, 1994, the New Yankees' held a 6.5-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East with a 70-43 record.

All season long, it seemed like this might finally be the year for Mattingly.

After first making his MLB debut against the Baltimore Orioles on September 8, 1982, he and the Yankees had missed the playoffs every year.

Yet, once again, the playoff door slammed shut as the ensuing MLB players' strike caused MLB commissioner Bud Selig to cancel the rest of the season on September 14.

Before the strike, Mattingly had been playing well as team captain, hitting over .300 (.304) for the first time since 1989 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 62 runs scored.

He rightfully earned a ninth Gold Glove at the season's end, too.

Though the strike arguably hit Mattingly harder than most since it derailed his playoff hopes, he'd finally get his chance at postseason play during the shortened 144-game 1995 season.

1994 Pinnacle #23 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #450 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

Given how Rickey Henderson was so electric on the base paths, it's always nice to see him doing what he does best on a card like this.

The Hall of Famer goes down in history as the all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored, solidifying his place as the game's greatest lead-off man who ever played.

Much to the joy of Henderson fans and collectors, many card manufacturers captured him in that light.

Of all his cards printed in 1994, some stand out more than others, including this one.

It's easy to appreciate the historical importance of the image on his 1994 Bowman card.

On it, Henderson is shown removing second base as a souvenir after breaking Yutaka Fukumoto's world record with his 1,066th career stolen base.

Yet, the action on this card is intense.

The bright colors and dirt flying up in his face as he dives head-first into the bag are vital components of what makes a great-looking baseball card.

In 87 games with the Oakland A's in 1994, Henderson stole 22 of his jaw-dropping 1,406 career stolen bases on his march towards baseball immortality.

1994 Pinnacle #450 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #50 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

On August 10, 1994, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. went 3-5 at the plate in an 8-1 victory over the division rival New York Yankees on the road.

The win pulled Baltimore within 6.5 games of New York for first place in the AL East.

It also pulled Ripken within 121 games of tying Yankee great Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games.

When Ripken's career began 23 years before, on August 10, 1981, no one could have predicted he would be in that position so many years later.

Everyone knew he could play and was extremely talented.

But no one knew he'd have the iron will to play so long without taking a day off.

For context, the next closest to Gehrig's record was, and still is, Everett Scott, who played in 1,307 consecutive games during his career that spanned from 1912 to 1926.

And, yet, there stood Ripken on August 10, 1994, with 2,009 consecutive games under his belt.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the baseball world, Ripken would have to wait until April 26, 1995, to play in his 2,010th consecutive game once the strike ended the 1994 season.

1994 Pinnacle #50 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #264 Billy Wagner Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

After earning 10.5% of the BBWAA vote during his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot and 51% during his seventh year of eligibility in 2022, Billy Wagner's Cooperstown chances continue to increase.

I think he eventually gets the call to the Hall.

It's just a matter of time.

If he were to make it to Cooperstown, he'd be the only pitcher to do so, having pitched less than 1,000 innings (903).

No one doubts he was an incredibly talented pitcher, but some use those 903 innings to say he didn't pitch over a long enough timeframe.

And others may continue to knock his struggles in the postseason.

Yet, his 422 career saves put him at sixth on the all-time leaderboard while he ranks first in ERA (2.31), WHIP (0.998), SO/9 IPM (11.9) and BAA (0.187) among pitchers with a minimum of 750 innings pitched.

Billy Wagner retired when he was 38.

Hall of Famers Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera each had sixty more saves than Wagner (482) when they were 38, but both stayed around longer and finished with more than 600.

Had Wagner done the same, he might have joined them in the 600-club and been a much easier choice for Cooperstown by getting over the 1,000-inning mark.

But, like I said, I still think he eventually gets enough votes.

1994 Pinnacle #264 Billy Wagner Rookie Card

1994 Pinnacle #267 Torii Hunter Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

If your name sits just behind Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Andruw Jones as the only players in MLB history to outdo you in a particular category, you know you must've been great.

And that's the case for Twins/Angels legend Torii "Spiderman" Hunter.

Of all center fielders who ever roamed the position, only those three guys have more Gold Gloves than Torii Hunter.

From 2001 to 2009, Hunter was a lockdown defender, earning nine-straight Gold Gloves for his efforts.

Had he been able to pull off one more Gold Glove, he'd have as many as Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones, yet would still be two shy of tying Mays.

Hunter was no slouch with the bat, either.

Over his 19-year career, Hunter hit 353 home runs with 1,391 RBIs and 1,296 runs scored while sporting a respectable .271 batting average.

It remains to be seen if Hunter eventually gets the call to the Hall.

After receiving just 5.3% of the BBWAA vote during his second year of eligibility in 2022, it seems unlikely he'll get in that way.

If he eventually makes it to Cooperstown, it will likely be by committee years from now.

1994 Pinnacle #267 Torii Hunter Rookie Card

1994 Pinnacle #4 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

With eight batting titles to his name, tying him for second-most all time with Honus Wagner, Tony Gwynn left a legacy as one of the greatest hitters of any era.

But, he was always known as a contact hitter and was never really a home run threat.

That makes this card interesting because it looks like the Hall of Famer is in the middle of admiring a moonshot he just sent toward the outfield bleachers.

Yet, Gwynn did always credit advice he received from legendary hitter Ted Williams in 1992 about how to increase the power in his stroke.

And, if you look at his slugging percentage around the time he met with Williams, his slugging percentage started to increase, meaning the advice must have worked.

Gwynn's career slugging percentage clocked in at .459, yet from 1993 onward, it either came in right around that mark or greatly exceeded it.

The story of Gwynn almost hitting .400 in 1994 has been well covered.

However, people rarely discuss how much his power took off that year.

For the 1994 season, Gwynn finished with a career-high .568 slugging percentage, over 100 points higher than his career average.

Whether intentional or not, the image on this card perfectly symbolized that uptick in power.

1994 Pinnacle #4 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #21 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

Whenever the 1994 Minnesota Twins had anyone in scoring position and needed a run, they hoped Kirby Puckett was in the batter's box.

That season, Puckett drove in runs at the most torrid pace in his Hall of Fame career, sending a runner across the plate in just over every four at-bats.

In 439 at-bats, Puckett led all AL hitters with 112 RBIs.

It was the second-highest total in his twelve years in Major League Baseball, with only 1988 seeing him drive in more with 121, albeit with far more at-bats (657).

The imagery on this card could not have been better, as it perfectly symbolized how dialed-in Puckett was in 1994.

Yet, as hot as Puckett was that year, the Minnesota Twins just couldn't seem to put the entire package together.

Finishing fourth in the AL West at 53-60, the Twins turned in a losing season for the second consecutive season.

That made their 1991 World Series victory from just three seasons before seem like ages ago.

This Twins team was a shadow of its former self.

But at least Minnesota fans still had their hero to cheer for in center field.

1994 Pinnacle #21 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #28 Mike Piazza

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

After a Hall of Fame sixteen-year career that saw him play for five different teams, most notably the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, Mike Piazza retired as one of the best offensive catchers in history.

He wasn't a horrible catcher by any means.

But, for perspective, he was a ten-time Silver Slugger with 427 career home runs.

If Tommy Lasorda hadn't encouraged Mike Piazza to switch from his natural position at first base to catcher, it's unlikely he would've ever played in the Majors.

And that's even after considering Lasorda even drafted him at all, with the 1,390th pick of the 1988 MLB Amateur Draft no less, at the request of his friend, Mike's father.

But those two key things did happen and the rest is history.

Piazza followed up his incredible 1993 NL Rookie of the Year campaign with another stellar performance in 1994.

On the season, Piazza slashed .319/.370/.541, a nearly-identical slash line to his rookie year, with 24 home runs, 94 RBIs and 64 runs scored.

The superstar slugger also played in his second-straight All-Star Game and picked up his second-straight Silver Slugger award at the end of the season.

A sixth-place finish in the MVP vote solidified his reputation as one of the game's best.

1994 Pinnacle #28 Mike Piazza Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #509 Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

As a two-sport phenom for the Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City Royals, Jackson wowed audiences with his ability to star in both sports during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Besides Bo, no other athlete has ever been both an NFL Pro Bowler and an MLB All-Star.

That's how incredible he was.

Sadly, it all came crashing down when he injured his hip during the NFL Playoffs in 1991 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

His NFL career ended on that fateful play, but the Chicago White Sox gave him a shot at extending his MLB career with a three-year deal in 1991.

Jackson's 1991 MLB season was limited to just 23 games.

He missed the entire 1992 season because of hip replacement surgery.

But he began to show flashes of his former self in 1993, hitting 16 home runs with 45 RBIs in 85 games to earn 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year.

And that was it for his time on the South Side.

On January 31, 1994, Jackson signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the California Angels.

In a platoon role, Jackson played 75 games and finished with career-bests in batting average (.279) and on-base percentage (.344).

1994 Pinnacle #509 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #1 Frank Thomas

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

Coming off his first MVP season in 1993, becoming just the eighth unanimous AL MVP at the time and the first White Sox MVP since Dick Allen in 1972, Frank Thomas raised the bar even higher in 1994.

Shockingly, it took him only 399 at-bats in the strike-shortened season to do so.

On the year, Thomas slashed .353/.487/.729 with 38 home runs, 101 RBIs, 106 runs scored and 109 walks.

He also posted an insane, MLB-best and career-high OPS (1.217).

In simpler terms, The Big Hurt dominated opposing pitchers and lived up to his nickname perhaps better than he did in any other season.

At the time of the strike, Thomas was also on a path to becoming the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the highly elusive Triple Crown.

Paul O'Neill's .359 batting average was just six points higher.

Ken Griffey Jr. had belted two more home runs (40).

And Kirby Puckett's 112 RBIs were eleven more than Thomas had driven in at that point.

Given Puckett's torrid RBI pace, catching him may have been most difficult.

But no one knows how the season would have turned out and maybe Thomas would have added a Triple Crown to his incredible resumé.

1994 Pinnacle #1 Frank Thomas Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #6 Ryne Sandberg

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $25

Chicago Cubs legend and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg appeared in just 57 games in 1994 with 223 at-bats as the heart and soul of a struggling Cubs team that finished at 49-64 on the year.

For his part, Ryno slashed an un-Sandberglike .238/.312/.390 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

On June 10, during the first game of a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sandberg went 0-4 at the plate.

That put him in the middle of a 1-28 slump at the time.

Clearly, something wasn't right.

When he sat out the next two games against Los Angeles, most thought he was using the time to regroup and clear his mind to get out of the hitting slump.

Yet, something much more severe than a hitting slump was lurking behind the scenes.

Sandberg had lost the desire to play baseball altogether.

So, in front of a surprise news conference on June 13, 1994, when the Cubs had their next day off, Sandberg announced he would retire.

Rumors of marital problems and distractions at home now started to make more sense.

No one wanted to see him step away from the Cubs, but Sandberg needed to get his personal life in order before thinking of playing again.

1994 Pinnacle #6 Ryne Sandberg Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #31 Wade Boggs

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $25

During the 1992 season, Wade Boggs failed to hit better than .300 since making his debut for the Boston Red Sox in 1982.

For eleven seasons in Boston, Boggs was a perennial threat to win the batting title, successfully doing so five times during his time in Beantown.

Seeing him bat only .259 during the 1992 season was just strange.

It was a heck of a way to end his career with the Red Sox.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees heavily pursued him that offseason, with New York ultimately offering more favorable terms.

So, the future Hall of Famer signed a three-year deal with his former arch-rival.

At first, seeing Boggs in a Yankees uniform was a bit odd.

But New York fans quickly adjusted.

During his second season with the Yankees in 1994, Boggs was again brilliant at the plate, slashing .342/.433/.489 with 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and 61 runs scored in 366 at-bats.

He'd make the All-Star team for the tenth season in a row and earn his eighth Silver Slugger while picking up his first Gold Glove.

Boggs was back to his old self and by 1996, he'd get what had eluded him all those years in Boston: a World Series ring

1994 Pinnacle #31 Wade Boggs Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle #438 Derrek Lee Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $20

When the San Diego Padres drafted Derrek Lee with the 14th pick in the 1993 MLB Draft, they saw a kid with the potential to develop into a power hitter capable of driving runs.

And they were right.

After working his way up through rookie ball in 1993 to the Triple-A Las Vegas Stars in 1997, the Padres called him up for his debut at first base on April 28, 1997.

When the dust settled on his 15-year career, Lee had belted 331 home runs and driven in 1,078 RBIs while scoring another 1,081 runs at the Major League level.

Winning the 2003 World Series with the Florida Marlins was likely the highlight of his career if you ask him.

But his 2005 season with the Chicago Cubs stands as his personal best.

That year, led the Majors in batting average (.335), slugging percentage (.662), OPS (1.080), OPS+ (174), total bases (393), and doubles (50) while pacing the NL with 199 hits.

He also set career highs in home runs (46) and runs scored (120).

He'd make his first of two career All-Star appearances that year while earning his second Gold Glove, only Silver Slugger, and finishing third in the MVP race.

1994 Pinnacle #438 Derrek Lee Rookie Card

1994 Pinnacle #26 Barry Bonds

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $20

Barry Bonds entered his second season with the San Francisco Giants in 1994, having won back-to-back MVPs and helping the Giants improve from 72 wins in 1992 to 103 wins in 1993.

There was no doubt his big contract was paying huge dividends in San Francisco for new owner Peter Magowan.

And Bonds kept on delivering during the 1994 season, making his fourth trip to the All-Star Game and earning his fifth-straight Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

At the plate, the legendary slugger continued to be a nightmare for opposing pitchers.

In 112 games and 391 at-bats, Bonds led the NL in walks (74) while slashing .312/.426/.647 with 37 home runs, 81 RBIs and 89 runs scored, and a blistering 1.073 OPS.

During any other season, Bonds was obviously on track with a legitimate shot at winning yet another MVP Award.

But nobody was going to top Jeff Bagwell that season.

The Houston Astros Hall of Famer slashed a mind-blowing .368/.451/.750 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs and 106 runs scored as the National League's clear MVP.

Bagwell would never again win MVP after that, but there were four more MVP trophies in store for Barry Bonds down the road.

1994 Pinnacle #26 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1994 Pinnacle Baseball Cards In Review

The 1994 Pinnacle set looked a lot different than the previous two years.

With no borders, beautiful full-color photography, and gold foil stamping, the brand definitely achieved its goal of offering collectors a premium design.

But many brands had already included similar design elements and layouts so Pinnacle may not have stood out from the crowd all that much.

The lack of Hall of Fame rookie cards hurts the set overall.

We'll see if Billy Wagner eventually gets over the hump, but even then, don't expect collectors to come rushing back to this set in huge numbers.

Unopened Box of 1994 Pinnacle Baseball Cards

Other information about this set includes:

Checklist: 540 cards 

Distribution: Series 1 (#1 - 270), Series 2 (#271 - 540)


  • Rookie Prospects (#225 - 261)
  • Draft Picks (#262 - 270)


  • Museum Collection Redemptions
  • Rookie Team Pinnacle
  • Run Creators
  • Team Pinnacle
  • Tribute

Even if Billy Wagner eventually gets the call to the Hall, I would bet that the 1994 Pinnacle baseball set will continue to remain overlooked by most hobbyists.

Sure, the Hall of Famers and big-name superstars offer the player collector several to add to his or her collection.

But without any huge rookies, many will remember this set as one of many "junk" sets during the hobby craze of the late 80s and early 90s.