1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player Series A Hockey Review

Back in 1996 I took my first foray into the one-autograph-per-pack realm. The set was 1996 Leaf Signature Series Baseball. The pack set me back $15 and all I got to show for it was a scrub signature whose name I have long forgotten. I tried my luck again with the follow-up series with similar results. So ended my pack ripping of these sorts of products. Or so I thought.

Browsing around websites a couple weeks ago I found a local site that offered a box of 1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player Series A Hockey for the low cost of $20. Each box held 16 packs with one autograph per pack. The quick math in my head calculated $1.25 per autograph and a bunch of base cards left over. Why not?

Granted, there is a reason this stuff is so cheap. The majority of the players are commons, so finding a "superstar" autograph is unlikely. Even still, at a buck and couch change, I knew I'd be happy to rip the box and find one or two familiar faces from a decade ago.

As promised, each pack did indeed yield an autograph. Three packs even had autographs with a foil finish and the brand name cut out. Cool. The packs offer little information so I don't know what that's all about with all of my hockey reference materials filed away for the time being. As expected, no superstars, although I was able to add a Gary Roberts signature and Dave Babych's mustache to my autograph collection. Nothing big, but I was nonetheless pleased with the low-key result. One thing that did confuse me was that I pulled a couple of "Rookie" autographs numbered in the 200s. So much for those coming in Series B, unless of course Pinnacle made a typical Pinnacle move and made things a whole lot more complicated than necessary.

All the other inserts are lumped together on the pack as falling 1:4 packs. These include One Timers, Stacking the Pdas and Take a Number. With only one box, I don't know if any are rarer than the others but I do like the Dufex design of the goalie-centric Stacking the Pads set. Outside of autographs I pulled four inserts: two One Timers and one each of Stacking the Pads and Take a Number.

Where my disappointment arose with this set was with the collation of the base cards. With only 125 cards on the Series A checklist, I figured I'd make a nice dent in a set. Nope. In fact, I received 42 duplicates and only 66 singles - not even half the set.

The design itself is clean, albeit forgettable. Card fronts showcase a player action shot and large borders. Both the player's name and the Pinnacle brand are done in silver foil (gold foil on the autographs). Card backs include a small head shot, short bio and stats for 1996-97 and their career.

Overall, 1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player Hockey is a fun break at $20 per box. However, if it were 1998 and packs were $10-15, things could have been ugly.

1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player Series A Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 16
Cards per pack: 8
Total cards: 128

Cards in set: 125
Singles: 66
Doubles: 41
Triples+: 1

Inserts: 20

Autographs (overall autograph odds 1:1): 13

  • 23. Dean Malkoc, Bruins
  • 38. Mattias Norstrom, Kings
  • 49. Dave Babych, Canucks
  • 55. Gerald Diduck, Coyotes
  • 72. Todd Marchant, Oilers
  • 73. Gary Roberts, Hurricanes
  • 85. Brent Gilchrist, Red Wings
  • 99. Alexei Zhamnov, Blackhawks
  • 114. Tim Taylor, Bruins
  • 212. Alexei Morozov, Penguins
  • 213. Vaclav Prospal, Flyers
  • 214. Brad Bombardir, Devils
  • 245. Derek Morris, Flames

Foil Autographs: 3

  • 68. Zarley Zalapski, Flames
  • 91. Ken Klee, Capitals
  • 107. Jamie McLennan

Foil Prism Autographs: 0

One Timers: 2

  • 6. Brett Hull, Blues
  • 15. Pat LaFontaine, Rangers

Stacking the Pads: 1

  • 7. Curtis Joseph, Oilers

Take a Number: 1

  • TN3. Ed Belfour, Stars

 

1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
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1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
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1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Autographs Autographed #22 Keith Tkachuk Auto Card
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97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER GARY ROBERTS PRISMATIC DIE CUT AUTOGRAPH /100 BAP 73
97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER GARY ROBERTS PRISMATIC DIE CUT AUTOGRAPH /100 BAP 73
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97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER GUY CARBONNEAU DIE CUT AUTOGRAPH BAP 194 DALLAS STARS
97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER GUY CARBONNEAU DIE CUT AUTOGRAPH BAP 194 DALLAS STARS
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97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN AUTOGRAPH AUTO BAP 13 COYOTES
97-98 1997-98 BE A PLAYER NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN AUTOGRAPH AUTO BAP 13 COYOTES
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1997-98 Be A Player Foil Diecut Signature Autograph Jari Kurri HALL of FAME AUTO
1997-98 Be A Player Foil Diecut Signature Autograph Jari Kurri HALL of FAME AUTO
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1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Signature Autograph Adam Oates HALL of FAME AUTO
1997-98 Pinnacle Be A Player Signature Autograph Adam Oates HALL of FAME AUTO
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97/98 PETER BONDRA BAP BE A PLAYER AUTO AUTOGRAPH SIGNED CARD WASHINGTON CAPITAL
97/98 PETER BONDRA BAP BE A PLAYER AUTO AUTOGRAPH SIGNED CARD WASHINGTON CAPITAL
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97-98 Felix Potvin Pinnacle Be A Player Auto Hard Signed #4 Toronto Maple Leafs
97-98 Felix Potvin Pinnacle Be A Player Auto Hard Signed #4 Toronto Maple Leafs
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97/98 DAVE GAGNER BE A PLAYER BAP PRISMATIC AUTOGRAPH AUTO SIGNED CARD PANTHERS
97/98 DAVE GAGNER BE A PLAYER BAP PRISMATIC AUTOGRAPH AUTO SIGNED CARD PANTHERS
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Felix Potvin 1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player BAP auto autograph - MAPLE LEAFS
Felix Potvin 1997-98 Pinnacle Be a Player BAP auto autograph - MAPLE LEAFS
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