Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top 10 National Pick-Ups: #4. Epix Mo-Jo!!!

#4: One Orange 1998 Pinnacle Epix "Season" Mo Vaughn and one Emerald 1998 Pinnacle All-Star Epix of Mo Vaughn.

Paid: $0.25 each.

I guess it's kind of apropos that I post these cards today, the 13th anniversary of Pinnacle Brands' bankruptcy filing. There were a lot of stupid things that Pinnacle did that drove them into Chapter 11, and as a bit of foreshadowing, we'll be discussing one of the most egregious examples later in this countdown. One of the few things Pinnacle did right, however, was Epix.

Epix was a 72-card, multi-brand, multi-tiered, insert seeded into packs of 1998 Score, Pinnacle and Zenith. There were 24 players in the set and each player was supposed to have had four cards celebrating their greatest (in ascending order of scarcity) play, game, moment, or season. One of each player's card was inserted into each product with the fourth card scheduled to have been in 1998 Pinnacle Certified. Pinnacle, of course, wouldn't last that long. Each card was also available in Purple and Emerald parallels. According to Pinnacle, about 20% of the total production run was in Purple, 10% in Emerald, and the remaining 70% (the "base" cards) in Orange.

What makes the Pinnacle Epix cards so great are, of course, the look. Nothing says "late 90s" than holographic matrix foilboard and Epix had plenty with each of the four tiers having their own unique matrix pattern. Decades from now, when you're thumbing through a quarter box at The National and come across an Epix insert, even if you've never seen one before in your life, you'll know it's from the late 90s.

But wait, that's not all! Later in the season, Pinnacle released another batch of Epix cards known as "All-Star Epix." Unlike the regular Epix cards, only one card for each of the 24 players was produced, with the first 12 cards in the set seeded into packs of 1998 Score Rookie/Traded and the other 12 in Pinnacle Plus. The All-Star Epix cards were also in three different flavors: Orange (70% of the production run), Purple (20%), and Emerald (10%).

I have no idea why I found two different Mo Vaughn Epix cards in the same quarter box. They were the only Epix cards in that particular dealer's box; and I don't recall seeing any other Vaughn cards. 1998 was Vaughn's last season as a Red Sox and his last truly productive season. He went to Anaheim the following season, and his career went to complete shit. Too bad. I always liked "The Hit Dog." Yes, he won the AL MVP in '95, although that probably had more to do with the fact that his name wasn't "Albert Belle."

#10: It's for "Members Only"
#9: The case of the mysterious rookie reprints
#8: 75 for 25
#7: A point is a point
#6: OH NOEZ!!!!!
#5: What do they know about partying? Or anything else?
#4: Epix Mo-Jo!!!
#3: Satisfyin' the ladies, one printin' plate at a time
#2: The Mother of all junk waxboxes
#1: Ironic ain't just the name of an Alanis Morrisette song

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