When Pacific debuted the Prisms line of cards in 1995, it contained one and only one Rickey Henderson, his base card. The 1996 set contained a base as well as a gold version, which was still acceptable to me, as I did like some variation. Rickey was left out of the 150 card base set in 1997, but he was included in the 220 card "Gems of the Diamond" insert set (Does it seem odd to anyone else that there are almost 50% more "Gems" than there are base cards). In 1998, there wasn't even a Prisms set produced.
The 1996 Prisms base card is on the left, with the gold version on the right. I'm still actually missing the 1995 card, and hope to acquire it in the near future.
This Gems of the Diamond insert was the only Rickey card included in the 1997 set, as he was excluded from the base set.
In 1999, the set was back, only ironically, considering the onslaught of cards it would contain, it was now singular, and called Pacific Prism. As sort of a preview of what was to come, Rickey had a base card included in the set, a Red parallel, and Holographic Blue, Gold, Mirror, and Purple cards.
I only have the base version of his 1999 card, as seen above.
But, if 6 versions of the same card weren't enough, Pacific pulled out all of the stops for the 2000 (and final) release of the Prism line of cards, when there were a total of 15 different Rickey card variations to collect!
The pictures below are from a fellow Rickey Henderson collector, robe024, whom I met over at The Bench trading site. He meticulously and methodically worked through the 2000 Prism set, and was able to piece together all 15 of the available Rickey's. This was not an easy feat, which was made tougher by the fact that it was almost impossible to identify which variation was which! You knew what the base card looked like, but if you had a "silvery looking" variation, how were you supposed to know if it was the Rapture Silver, Slider Silver, Tinsel Silver, or one of the other silvery choices. After much hard work on his part, the scans below include all 15 variations, along with their accompanying identification. I commend him for the dedication necessary to put something like this together, as I know it wasn't easy!
Pacific Prism Base Card
Drops Silver (print run of 799)
Holgraphic Blue #/80
Holographic Gold #/480
Holographic Mirror #/160
Holographic Purple #/99
Pebbly Dots (print run of 691)
Premiere Date #/61
Rapture Gold (print run of 565)
Rapture Silver (print run of 916)
Sheen Silver (print run of 448)
Slider Silver (print run of 334)
Texture Silver (print run of 448)
Tinsel Silver (print run of 331)
Surprisingly, looking back on this set today, I'm much less upset about what Prism was trying to accomplish. Yes, they did have 15 different variations, but most of them were at least accessible to the everyday collector, as long as they put in the necessary work to find one. This is in stark contrast to sets today, such as Topps Sterling and Triple Threads, which although gorgeous, produce an inordinate amount of low serial-numbered and 1/1 cards that are not accessible to most player collectors.
As you can probably tell, since I'm blogging right now, I have resumed my Rickey collection in the past year, now that I've finally gotten over what I affectionately refer to as the "Prism fiasco." But, it has now become more focused, and I've resigned myself to collecting only his base cards, which are readily attainable with a little effort. I'm still interested in the ever present inserts/parallels/game-used cards, but am trying to stick to only those which feature him in an A's jersey. That way, I can still enjoy the thrill of collecting, while keeping my sanity, and the balance in my bank account, at the same time.