Flashback Product of the Week: 1997 Pinnacle Inside WNBA

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Its the weekend of the Super Bowl and I’m writing about WNBA trading cards.  Something doesn’t seem quite right.

I believe that Pinnacle has the distinguished honor of being the first manufacturer to issue cards for the WNBA.  The product was called 1997 Pinnacle Inside, and if you remember anything from the “Inside” brand its that the cards came sealed inside a soup can.  Pinnacle was obsessed with doing this back in the 90’s.  They put basketball, baseball, football, and hockey cards inside cans.  If I’m not mistaken, Pinnacle even made a can opener that came with each case.  You would walk into your local card shop and think you were at the grocery store.  The can idea is by far one of the most unique ways for cards to be packaged.

The WNBA began league play back in 1997 after receiving some hefty backing from the NBA.  It wasn’t the first time a women’s professional basketball league was put together.  The WBL (Women’s Pro Basketball League) gave it a shot back in 1978, but folded in 1981.  Teams have a strong following, but the WNBA is far from a commercial success.

1997 Pinnacle Inside WNBA is an 82-card set that covers all the main women to play in the inaugural season.  Key rookies to look for include Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson.  Sealed cans can be found for a couple dollars.  There really isn’t a whole lot of value when it comes to this set.  WNBA cards made by Fleer and Rittenhouse seem to hold much more value due to having low numbered parallels and autographs/relics.

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