Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parkhurst Champions Wire Photos

I've got a day full of poker and floor hockey ahead of me, so there's not much time for a legitimate post. Instead, enjoy some scans of a few 2011-12 Parkhurst Champions wire photo cards, some of the better looking hockey cards released so far this year in my opinion.

Here's an awesome shot of Mike Bossy celebrating a Stanley Cup Final goal on the very same day that he'd hoist the Cup for the third straight year.

A helmetless, and very tiny looking, Johnny Bower. Love those pads.

Of the few of these cards that I have, this one is my favorite by a long shot. When it comes to capturing a moment on cardboard this is close to perfection. Two of the game's all-time greats celebrating as the referee signals the goal and the crowd goes wild. Even my favorite mac 'n' cheese maker gets some exposure.

I recently saw a very nice autographed (by both Park and Barber) version of this card on eBay, but it sold for much more than I'd ever be willing to pay for it.

Denis here will be making another appearance on the blog in the very near future...

These 8 are the only wire photo cards I have. I'm still looking for the other 22, if you have any you'd be interested in parting with let me know. I'll try to resume regular posting this week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WHA Card of the Month - January 2012

Beginning in 2012, I'm going to start paying some long overdue respect to the World Hockey Association here at Shoebox Legends. My Card of the Month posts this year will instead be WHA Card of the Month posts, and I'll talk a little bit about the "rival league"...

1972-73 O-Pee-Chee - #297 - Bobby Sheehan

Bobby Sheehan here represents my very first 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee card. He also represents my favorite part of the '72-73 O-Pee-Chee set, the fourth and final series (cards 290 - 341) featuring players from the World Hockey Association. Given that 1972 was the first year of existence for the league, these are obviously the first WHA hockey cards issued by O-Pee-Chee. It's a crime that it took me close to 5 years to add one to my collection.

The NHL has seen a few competitors throughout the course of its history, but none of them as successful as the WHA was. The Association began in 1972, and challenged the NHL by establishing a 12 team league and attracting a few bonafide NHL stars, most notably Bobby Hull and Gerry Cheevers (and eventually Gordie Howe). All told, 67 NHL players jumped ship to the WHA for its inaugural season. They were lured by higher pay and the promise that there would be no reserve clause.

I stated above that none of the NHL's competitors throughout its many years were as successful as the WHA, but success is a relative term. Many franchises, and indeed the WHA as a whole, encountered plenty of logistical and financial challenges. In the brief period that the WHA existed it saw its teams change their names (sometimes mid-season), relocate (sometimes mid-season), swap divisions, and sometimes never play a single game! It saw expansion, teams fold (sometimes mid-season), its divisions disappear and then eventually a merger with its cheif rival, the NHL.

The WHA's founders did have experience at this sort of thing. They were the same guys that were responsible for basketball's ABA, begun a few years prior in the late '60s. Putting together an operation on this scale is no easy task though, and things went far from perfectly. One of the best examples of failure would be the team Bobby Sheehan skated for in '72-73, the New York Raiders.

The Raiders wore some very 1970s red and blue sweaters, and although it's difficult to make out on this card, the logo is actually a hockey player wearing a viking helmet skating in front of a backdrop of the city. They were supposed to be the team in the WHA, but they were doomed from the very beginning. Their first overall draft pick from the WHA's entry draft? He signed with the Boston Bruins in the NHL. Oh, and guess where they had to play their home games? At Madison Square Garden, the home of their major competition from the NHL, the New York Rangers. The original owners didn't even last the first season, with the league taking control of the team and selling it in the off-season. The new owners renamed the team to the New York Golden Blades but were no more successful than the first group. Just 24 games into that second season they were out of the picture and the league once again had control of the team. After two failed attempts, the WHA realized that it could not compete in the New York market and moved the team to New Jersey where they played on a rink where the ice was sloped (I'm not kidding).

The New York Raiders were just one of many great failures from the other league, but there were many successes as well. I'll be sharing plenty of them here through cards in the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #2 - Don Cherry!

Time for the runner-up in the 2011 Top 20 Under $25 Countdown...

What is it? A 1974-75 Topps Don Cherry!
When and where did I get it?, September 19th
How much did it cost me? $5.80 (plus a little for shipping)

My quest to hand collate the 1974-75 Topps hockey set presses onward, and Don here was a major addition this past fall. Only Bobby Orr and the Scotty Bowman card I featured a few weeks ago have a higher book value as this set goes. This is one card I would have loved to add to my collection even if I weren't in pursuit of this set though.

I mentioned in my last post that this spot in the countdown was occupied by someone better known for their personality than for anything they accomplished in professional sports. I'm sure that when many young hockey fans out there hear the name Don Cherry they think of this guy:

These days you can tune in to the "Coach's Corner" segment of Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night and enjoy some commentary from Don along with some over-the-top suits like this one. I can't sum it up any better than his Wikipedia page, which states that he "is known for his outspoken manner, flamboyant dress, and staunch patriotism".

Back in the mid-'70's though, you could find Cherry in slightly more muted attire (although I do like the polka-dot tie on this card) standing behind the Boston Bruins' bench. Unfortunately for Don, superstars Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr weren't around long after he took the reigns and he was never able to replicate the success of the Bruins teams from earlier in the decade.

Don't get me wrong, this is only because the bar was set so high by those previous Bruins teams. In fact, Don was pretty damn successful as a coach. He led the B's through a stretch of four straight division titles and two Stanley Cup Finals appearances, although the team lost both times. He even won the Jack Adams award as coach of the year in 1976. Not too shabby at all, but I still stand by my claim that he is better known for his work as an analyst than for his accomplishments as a coach.

Don was also a player, which is mentioned on the card back. Interestingly enough, despite playing over 18 seasons of professional hockey he appeared in just one single NHL game, called up for a playoff game in 1955 for the Boston Bruins. If a professional hockey career that long with just a single NHL game played doesn't show Cherry's love for and dedication to the sport, then I don't know what does. Maybe the decades that he's spent closely involved with the sport of hockey since then?

Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Don Cherry is one of the most significant and recognizable figures in hockey's illustrious history. This is a card that I will enjoy for a long time to come!

Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #3 - Al Kaline Auto

We've finally reached the top 3 in the 2011 Under $25 countdown. Here's the bronze medalist...

What is it? A 2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Al Kaline Auto, #'d/99
When and where did I get it? During baseball season, back in June, on eBay
How much did it cost me? $20 (plus $3.75 shipping)

What's not to like about Al Kaline? He won a batting crown at age 20, was an 18-time All-Star and a 10-time Gold Glove winner. He won a World Series (.379, 2HR, 8RBI in 7 games!), amassed 3,000 career hits and came just a home run shy of 400. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Aside from all of that, you have to respect a guy who played his entire 22-year career for a single ballclub. When I think of the Detroit Tigers, Al's name is the first that comes to mind.

This card, which commemorates the last of Kaline's 18 All-Star game appearances, is from the 2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes set. The autographs from this set are something I only got into this past year, and they are definitely some of my favorite autographed baseball cards. I think these cards look great, and the checklist is extremely impressive. Not long after I picked up this Kaline I ended up with Harmon Killebrew and Ozzie Smith autos from this same set. All of the autos are hard signed and serial numbered based on the color, with this emerald version numbered to 99.

Two more posts and I can finally put this thing to bed. Coming up next is someone who's more famous for his personality than for anything he accomplished in professional sports...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #4 - A Pair of 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee

At #4 in the 2011 Top 20 Under $25 countdown we have a pair of '80s O-Pee-Chee superstars:

What is it? Two of the top four cards from the '87-88 O-Pee-Chee set, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemiuex
When and where did I get them? At the local hobby shop, way back in July
How much did it cost me? $22 total ($10 for the Gretzky, $12 for the Lemieux).

You could make an argument that at $22 for the pair I may have overpaid slightly for these cards. I'm sure that had I spent hours scouring the web I could have found them for a bit cheaper. These are truly mint, well-centered copies though. Besides, I like giving business to the local hobby shop when I can, in the same way that I'll spend $15 on something at the family owned hardware store down the street that I could have purchased at Home Depot for $10. Don't forget the best part about purchasing at the shop, no shipping.

I don't have very many '87-88 O-Pee-Chee cards, and this was a good way to knock off two of the more valuable cards from the set in one fell swoop. I have to say that I like Mario's '86-87 card better.

What a start to Lemieux's career with back-to-back-to-back 100 point seasons. Still not as impressive as this guy though:

Always nice to add a new Gretzky to the collection. While I don't collect him actively, I've got over 100 unique Gretzky cards now. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn't.

The statistics on the back of this card are just insane. 1,520 points in his first 8 NHL seasons. There will never be another scorer like this.

Three spots to go in the countdown, coming up next is an on-card autograph of a Hall of Famer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #5 - 1968-69 Topps Gump

Getting close to the end on this series of posts (thankfully), here is the first of the five remaining items...

What is it? A 1968-69 Topps Gump Worsley, graded NM 7 by PSA
When and where did I get it? eBay, in October
How much did it cost me? $12.30 (plus $2.70 shipping).

The 1968-69 Topps hockey set has long been a favorite of mine. While I'm not working hard at any '60s sets until I've at least finished off the '80s Topps hockey run, I've ended up accumulating quite a few of these '68-69s. Gump here is actually my 24th card from the set, which isn't bad considering it consists of 132 cards in total. Just a couple more cards will put me over the 20% mark. Normally I wouldn't pay $12 and change for this card, but I've got a soft spot for Gump and I couldn't pass it up in this condition. The card is fairly well-centered, and more importantly not plagued by the "diamond-cut", which was pretty common with these. Here's a better look at the front:

I think what attracted me to this card is the old school Habs jersey and the glorious brown pads. Gump's paddle looks pretty beat up as well, but unfortunately whoever cropped his photo for the card took out the blade of the stick. I like the back of the card nearly as much as I do the front:

Topps starts off with some flattering material, mentioning in the cartoon caption that "Gump has one of the sharpest wits in the NHL". The compliments continue in the write-up, where it is mentioned that Lorne had won more pro trophies than any other goaltender at the time (really?). In the end though, after commenting on his sharp wit and success in accumulating hardware, the writer made sure not to inflate Gump's ego too much by stating that Worsley was "inclined to put on weight". Certainly an interesting card back!

Coming up next in the countdown will be a pair of '80s greats...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #6 - 1985-86 7-Eleven Hockey Set

What is it? A 1985-86 7-Eleven hockey card set
When and where did I get it? Flea market, in October
How much did it cost me? Ready for this? $1.

Back in early October I went to a very small, hole-in-the-wall flea market with my younger brother. The place was nothing special, maybe 20 total tables and only two people there with any form of sports cards. One guy had a glass case with terribly overpriced '90s singles and inserts, no thank you. The other guy was a disorganized mess, with boxes, binders and piles everywhere. I don't think he had any idea what he had, just a gigantic cardboard disaster spread out on some folding tables and bookshelves. This is more my type of seller, so I decided to poke around for a few. I ended up spending $11 with this guy and coming away with two items. The first was my 1992 Topps baseball factory set, and the other was this hockey card set.

I found this small stack of cards in a ziploc bag at the bottom of a shoebox that was filled with mostly small, non-sport sets. I wasn't entirely sure what they were myself, although they were obviously released by the 7-Eleven chain in the mid-80s. I would have purchased these had he said $10, or maybe even $15, but all he wanted was $1. Sold! I didn't even bother looking beforehand, but after buying them I was psyched to see that it was a complete 25-card set.

They aren't the world's most exciting cards. The front is largely plain black, and contains two (often blurry) portraits of notable players from an NHL franchise. Each of the 21 teams that existed at the time has a card, and the teams are sorted alphabetically.

The backs are not that exciting either, with the left portion dedicated to card number, team logo and 7-Eleven logo, and the right portion reserved for team name and a brief write-up on the organization. According to the copyright these were produced by Super Star Sports. I scanned in the fronts and backs of all 25 cards in case you'd like to see what Super Star Sports had to say about your favorite franchise.

Tom Barrasso's is arguably the cheesiest photo of the 42 subjects pictured.

I always appreciate the chance to add a new Lanny McDonald to the collection. Heck, I would have forked over $1 for just this card.

In looking these up after the fact, I've seen them referred to as the 1985-86 7-Eleven "credit cards" set. I can see that, given that they are a bit smaller than your average card, and have a horizontal layout and rounded corners. I'd say they're slightly smaller than a credit card though, and thicker as well.

Ron Duguay's photo is the one most obviously from the '80s. He looks like he could step in and play guitar for Winger if they were in a pinch.

Wayne Gretzky is not present in this set, which seems odd given the year these came out.

Even the Whalers get a card. I guess this is technically one of my older Ron Francis cards. Mike Liut is obviously wearing a St. Louis sweater in his photo. This is the last time the Whalers will be featured in this countdown.

I like that the back of the card mentions the infamous Hartford Civic Center roof collapse!

I have to say, these write-ups are more informative than half the crap that gets released these days...

For a small set, there are Hall-of-Famers a plenty.

This would be the most valuable card in the set, if anyone considers any of these valuable that is. I guess this is technically a Lemieux rookie, although it doesn't feel right to call it that. Obviously it can't compete with the 1985-86 Topps/OPC Lemieux but it's not a bad companion to that card.

I don't know how these were distributed by 7-Eleven...can anyone help?

The next three cards in the set are the ones I like most, as they feature some of hockey's hardware.

Finally we close things out with a checklist.

These are certainly unique, and while they aren't exactly the best of what '80s hockey cards have to offer there's no way I could turn them down for the price. I hope you enjoyed this look at a set that you don't see every day.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...