As promised, here are the next 20 cards in my second attempt to identify my top 60 hockey cards...
I started the last post with Gordie Howe and I'll do it again this time. I think this card will be a permanent resident here, no matter how many times I re-do this list. It's one of the best Hartford Whalers cards ever made. What I love most about the card though is the season it represents. 51-year-old Howe played in all 80 games for the Whalers in '79-80, scoring 15 goals, 26 assists and 41 points, and leading the Whalers to the Stanley Cup playoffs. We will never see anything like that again in the NHL.
I don't really think much explanation is necessary here. That might have been the single easiest decision to make throughout my whole process. One of the premier rookie cards from the first decade that I ever collected cards. This is actually one of the cards that made me start to think about doing this list over.
Here's a survivor from the first list, card #1 in the 1972-73 Topps set, which pays tribute to the 1972 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Growing up a Whalers fan, I wasn't exposed to much post-season play at all, much less post-season success. When the team left Hartford and I became a Bruins fan by default, it wasn't exactly a pretty stretch for the B's either. So, for the longest time this was the card I had in my collection that most closely represented my favorite team winning it all. I also like the card because Topps did not issue team checklist cards in the '72-73 release, so as Stanley Cup Champs the season prior the Bruins were the only team to get their own card in the set.
Maybe I'm a bit biased because I just finished this set off, but I think this Esposito is much nicer than the one above. This has to be one of the best goalie cards of the '70s. I don't think there's one thing I'd change about this card, it's close to perfect.
Look, I know he only played 12 total games for the Whalers at the very end of his career (9 regular season, 3 playoffs), but that doesn't detract from my love of this card. First of all, I've wanted a Hull on-card auto for years, so when I heard about this one I knew it was time to bite. I also wanted to include this card because it represents my favorite insert set from any product over the past few years, the Brass Bonanza autographs from 2010-11 Panini Dominion. I don't ever buy high-end wax, but I do snipe singles on the secondary market if I'm interested enough, and like most collectors I agree that Panini hit a definite home run with the inaugural release of their super-high-end product. I liked these so much that I ended up completing the entire 10-card set. I am really grateful to own one of the 24 copies of this Hull auto that exist out there. Sorry die-cut Lindros, you didn't stand a chance...
I didn't really have much '84-85 O-Pee-Chee the first time I put my list together, but since then I've come a long way, in fact I'm just a few commons away from finishing the set I believe. Like most hockey card collectors, I feel that it's up there among the best sets of the decade, and may actually be the best set of the decade. Neely's rookie is one of the best cards in the set, and certainly a more fitting choice here than the Sedin twins.
I have no problem admitting that I'm very biased towards the 1981-82 Topps set. I think it's a really nice-looking, extremely under-rated set that can be had very, very cheap. I'll cover that in another post, but for now I feel good that I got the Stastny rookie in here. This is another of those cards that I like enough that I bothered to chase down a graded copy as well:
This is a card I don't think I've shown here before, although I've had it for well over a year now. I still don't have very many cards from the '50s at all, but of the few I do have this is one of the two or three I like most. I really, really like '54-55 Parkhurst, enough that it might be the first set of the '50s that I try to chase some day. I'm a ways off from that, since I'd like to finish off the '70s and '80s Topps runs before moving onto anything older, but for now I'm happy to have this one at least. This cost me less than a blaster shipped, which I thought was more than reasonable given the condition.
I think it's fairly obvious why this card was chosen. Why Topps would go with posed off-ice portraits for much of the decade instead of using great in-game photos like this is beyond me. I could see this one coming off the list someday, but for now I think it's a solid upgrade over the Gretzky O-Pee-Chee leaders card.
See? Still plenty of Gretzky. Much like the '79-80 NHL Entries card I chose in the last post, this one is on the list due to the historical event that the card signifies. This trade and the Ron Francis trade come to mind as the most memorable trades of my lifetime as a fan. I think this also represents one of the few times in the decade where in my opinion Topps did something better than O-Pee-Chee in a hockey release. I've always preferred this photo to the one O-Pee-Chee used for its '88-89 Gretzky card. This is another one that I thought was slab-worthy:
Last time I did the list I didn't select this card because it was fairly new to my collection. I don't really get that logic in retrospect, this card is just much, much better than the '85-86 Topps Francis. Besides, it's not new to my collection anymore.
Ah, much better! I fell in love with this card when I stumbled across it on Check Out My Cards over a year ago now. I have a few Stanley Cup cards, but this one from the '70-71 O-Pee-Chee set is my favorite because it reminds me of a pop art piece. I think it's appropriate to dedicate one of my 60 selections to the greatest trophy in professional sports.
Jari's rookie survives the cut and makes the second list as well. I admit that this selection is based largely on feelings of nostalgia, but nonetheless it is a rookie card of a Hall-of-Famer.
This John Davidson is one of my favorite goalie cards from the early-'80s. It's basically here for three reasons; the brown goalie gear, the low crouch, and the mask.
One of the most successful individuals in NHL history, and by all accounts one of the game's true gentlemen. One day I hope to own an even older Beliveau, but this late-career Topps card is certainly more than a worthy placeholder in the meantime.
I had to keep at least one '89-90 Topps card on my revised list since it was the very first set I collected and hand-collated as a kid. Sakic's rookie was the obvious choice. I selected this one for my Ultimate Hockey Card franken-set a while ago as well. I know this card is over-produced and not worth a whole lot, but that's all the more reason that everyone should have a copy.
1968-69 Topps is probably the set from the '60s that I've made the most progress on, with 26 cards in hand. This Tim Horton is my favorite Maple Leaf card, and one of my better cards from the '60s period.
Here's Gilmour's rookie instead, another Hall-of-Fame rookie card from the vaunted '84-85 O-Pee-Chee set. Until recently I only had '84-85 Topps cards, and Gilmour wasn't on the checklist for the Topps set, so this is a relatively new card for me.
This card is just awesome. Bedard didn't have a long career in the NHL, but he did play for many years overseas. Here he just looks like the last kid to be picked for a team in gym class.
In case you can't tell, I am a big rookie card guy when it comes to hockey cards. Bourque's one of the game's all-time best defensemen, and would have been the best defensemen to ever wear a B's sweater had it not been for Bobby Orr. Even though the 1980-81 Topps scratch-off puck design drives me nuts, I still like this card quite a bit.
Mixed Emotions - Another year has come and gone and the 36th Annual The National Sports Collectors Convention is officially over... and I'm totally envious of the thousands...