Back in the late-1990s, the Pinnacle brand tried something a little different.
They released baseball, football, and hockey versions for a couple of years, along with an accompanying card set. Depending on the sport, each pack came with at least a couple of cards, plus a coin that was nestled in a little plastic tray. Back then I was a college hockey player, working at a sports collectibles store that sold autographed memorabilia, clothing, jerseys, and packs of cards—a preponderance of packs—including Pinnacle Mint coins. So it only follows that I bought a couple of packs of the hockey version with my employee discount, just to see what the fuss was about.
Out of the 30 possible coins in the set, I pulled a Teemu Selanne and a Jaromir Jagr from those packs, which I certainly wasn't complaining about. But you know what?
They were coins.
Not really my thing at the end of the day. So they went into a shoebox, and that's where they lived for decades. But now they're seeing the light of day again, because I found a good use for them.
You see, this past year I got back into playing golf. And when your golf ball makes it onto the green, you're permitted to mark it with a coin of some sort, pick it up, clean any little pieces of grass or dirt from it, and put it back down. I'd been using a couple of random coins throughout the season, but eventually came across Mr. Selanne and Mr. Jagr in that old box, and figured why not add them to my golf bag? Here's a closer look at Teemu.
I've mainly been getting out on the course with my brother, who lives nearby, and who loves the idea of using the Pinnacle coins as golf ball markers. He's been into golf for the past couple of years, and has clearly been bitten by the bug. Hearing him talk so excitedly about a sport that I was once really into has motivated me to play a lot more as well. In fact, he and I had a weekly golf date throughout most of this season. It was tremendous. I saw the dude every week, and we had so much fun on the course. And because he only started to truly focus on his game this past year, his improvement has come in leaps and bounds. He's also younger than me. And stronger. Next season I'll need to step up my game if I want to stay ahead of him. And I figure some sports stars on coins might help me out.
On that note, here's Jaromir.
It's nice to have choices.
Have my scores improved as a result? No. Coins don't improve your game. And besides, golf is too random anyway. I'm sure I've shot some good scores while using each coin, and some poor scores as well.
But it's still fun to mark your golf ball on the green and see a pro hockey player smiling back at you.
Me: [Gulp] Five feet for par. Downhill. Fast. Right to left...
Jaromir Jagr: Come on, Greggy. Just roll it right in there.
How can you not put forth a solid effort after that pep-talk? In fact, I've recently added another coin to the collection.
That's right. I needed a baseball coin. Who better than Donnie Baseball?
This one comes from a special set of 46 Starting Lineup coins issued in 1991. Lots of star power on the checklist there.
Maybe envisioning that sweet, smooth Mattingly baseball swing will keep my golf swing smooth as well. It's a fun thought, anyhow. And golf should be fun. Not too serious. So I'm happy with the addition.
And although I don't really need any more of these coins, the fact remains that I'm a collector, just like many of you. So now that I'm putting the coins to good use, I have to admit that I've been searching the web to see what other baseball or hockey options might be out there, and which players might be available.
What do you all think? Which baseball or hockey players from the 1990s would be the best for giving a golfer some extra mojo on the course? Junior Griffey is one that immediately comes to mind.
Share your choices in the comment section, and thanks for reading!