Jan 12, 2011

Junior High Countdown: 82. 1996 Pacific Crown Collection

NOTE: I will be doing these out of order from now on because I don't like looking at all the sets I don't remember fondly first

I will admit this, I have a soft spot for 1996 Pacific because it's actually a brand I actively collected during those years. I may be one of the few people left on this blue, green, and brown earth still trying to hand collate this set. I am down to three cards: 117, 317, 382.

The Stats
Issued in a one series 450 card set, coming in a 36 pack box with 12 cards per pack. I believe the suggested retail price at the time was $1.99 per pack.
The Design
Pacific tried to position this in the same realm as Stadium Club and Fleer Ultra by using a full bleed design. The Pacific logo was conspicuous in the upper left. The team logo was at the lower left. In a nice touch, the player's last name was accented by team colors and the triple crown of Pacific. All hail the gold foil of the '90s.

The back was adorned in a primary team color with a headshot of the player in a fading halo. There was the previous year's stats and card copy in Spanish (large font) and English (small font)

The Rookies
There really weren't that many (I count 4 on the checklist). The most significant that I've heard of was Matt Lawton (remember him? traded for Roberto Alomar?)
The Inserts
These range from forgettable to flashy to iconic. (there are other insert sets as well.
Forgettable: Hometown Heroes, had the stars of the day on the checklist with the requisite amount of '90s gold foil (half the card)
Estrellas Latinas: black cards with gold foil in the background like lightning left no impression.
Flashy: Milestones: obscene amounts of blue foil and etching, you will be blinded by this card
Cramer's Choice: a rare insert that was prismatic and die-cut in the shape of a pyramid
Iconic: Gold-Crown Diecuts: this design begat a franchise that lasts to this day. Who doesn't like royalty in cards?

The Impact
I would say in terms of content there isn't much impact on future generations of card sets. The one lasting design feature that has maintained itself beyond Pacific's demise is the gold-crown diecut design as evidenced by even this year's Panini Crown Royale set. In addition, the Cramer's Choice inserts were pretty snazzy (though I haven't seen one in person). A case hit of an insert were pretty steep odds (1: 720 packs) and led to actual scarcity. Otherwise, it continued the 'mid-90s trend of full bleed photos with gold foil stamping.

1996 Pacific was a mid-level set that appealed to those who didn't want to chase two series of Stadium Club or be inundated with the inserts of Fleer Ultra. The Spanish language aspect of Pacific was appealing, but until 1996, the card stock did not lend itself to collectability and handling. This set was a precursor to the full-bore Pacific license of the 1998-2000 where they fully embraced the "locura" of paralleling the base set and took die-cutting to an unbelievable arena of whimsy. Luckily, this set only had die-cuts for the most desirable inserts and no parallels, so in the end, it was fairly collectible, though largely unpursued by a majority of collectors since Pacific had not distinguished itself before.

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