1997 was a weird year for the baseball card industry. The market was filling up with one worthless product after another all while card shows and hobby shops were becoming less and less successful. Something had to give and three companies decided to go against the grain to try to single-handedly save the industry. All three of them failed miserably.
Below are three of the worst gimmicks of 1997. All of them did create minor buzz in the beginning, but in the long run could not keep up and now dwell in the $1 bins of the Baseball Card Shop from Hell.
3. Donruss Signature
I know what you are thinking. Autographs INSIDE of baseball packs? That will never work. Actually, it almost didn’t. Imagine going into your local card shop and buying a pack of $20-$25 ’97 Donruss Signature and finding an autograph of Mark Kotsay. Unless you live in Florida you pretty much just got ripped off. It didn’t end there, though. Check out this list of autographs from Donruss Signature; Edgardo Alfonso, Mark Grudzialanek, Mike Sweeney, and Esteban Loaiza. Yeah, and then you wonder why Donruss is out of MLB baseball.
2. Pinnacle Inside
You can live in denial the rest of your life or you can just admit it here at Wax Heaven; collecting baseball cards is NOT cool. That being said, I am damn proud of my cards and my hobby but to the outside world we are just a level above those Dungeons & Dragons weirdos. The last thing I wanted in my room was a bunch of weird cans of sweaty guys on it.
In 1997 I was 17 and my main goal in life was to get laid. Nothing more, nothing less. Sad to say, like many of you I am guilty of purchasing a few of those cans of Pinnacle Inside, which I believe ran about $10-$15 each and contained a bunch of cheap, worthless cards inside the tin, which unless you collect cards AND memorabilia….had no place to go but the dumpster. Yeah, and then you wonder why Pinnacle is out of MLB baseball.
1. Topps ScreenPlays
These things were just awful. In my shop they sold them for $17 per pack, which was really one ridiculously-thick card with a Tabacco-shaped tin to carry it in. The player selection was terrible, too. So if you liked someone other than Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken, or Ken Griffey Jr., you were pretty much S.O.L.
Does anyone remember SportsFlics? These Topps cards were about 6 regular SportFlics on one card. They were thick and the animation was lousy. Unless someone can refresh my memory on other products from that year this is easily the worst of 1997.