Friday, February 26, 2010

Completed Set - 1987-88 Topps Hockey

One of my major goals for this year is to complete the run of Topps Hockey sets from 1980-81 through 1990-91 (there were no Topps sets in 82-83 or 83-84), which includes scanning in every card and organizing them nicely in binders. The 80's Topps hockey sets were cards I grew up with and they have a lot of sentimental value to me as a result. I've heard people pose the question "If your house was on fire and you could save only one item from your collection, what would it be?" or "If you had to be stranded on a desert island...". For me, these sets would be near the top of those lists.

Unlike Topps' 80's baseball releases, the hockey sets have actually maintained some value in the marketplace as well. Thanks to rookie cards of guys like Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy, Brett Hull and Ray Bourque, collecting all of these sets is actually a decent challenge. So far I've talked about the 1989-90 Topps set. Next up is the 87-88 Topps set. I didn't have many of these in my original childhood collection, but I was lucky enough to pick up a complete set a while back. There are 198 cards in the base set. What better way to discuss the set than to show off my favorite cards, as usual. You won't find the base set Whalers in this post, I've already shown them off here. I could probably write at length about any card from any of these sets, but here are a few that stick out to me:

#15 - Mario Lemieux - Pittsburgh Penguins - This is Super Mario's third Topps base card. The Topps/OPC design from this year is pretty darn good. I guess if they made this set nowadays the stick border would have to be composite.

#20 - Lanny McDonald - Calgary Flames - Any Lanny card is a good Lanny card.

#53 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers - A classic shot of the Great One donning the 80's Oilers uni...

#69 - Cam Neely - Boston Bruins

#83 - Bernie Federko - St. Louis Blues - This card cracks me up, Bernie's expression is priceless. The fantastic Blues jersey makes the card even better.

#87 - Ray Bourque - Boston Bruins - Ray's number hadn't changed from 7 to 77 just yet.

#105 - Mike Bossy - New York Islanders - Without looking, I think this may be Bossy's final Topps card.

#106 - Chris Chelios - Montreal Canadiens - I believe this is Chelios' first Topps card.

#112 - Mark Messier - Edmonton Oilers - Mark makes an appearance in the Hockey Heroes subset in 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 2 hockey. I should have my box break posted soon!

#123 - Adam Oates (Rookie) - Detroit Red Wings - Adam's gotta be one of the most under-rated setup men in the history of the game. Want to know how much the landscape of the game has changed since 1987? Oates' contract with the Red Wings, $1 million dollars over 4 years, was the richest rookie contract in history at the time.

#141 - Mike O'Connell - Detroit Red Wings - Doesn't it look like you could photoshop Mike right out of this picture, drop him on a 1950's card, and he wouldn't look out of place at all?

#148 - Jari Kurri - Edmonton Oilers - One of my favorite 80's players.

#149 - Dale Hawerchuk - Winnipeg Jets - I can't put my finger on why, but I love this card.

#163 - Patrick Roy - Montreal Canadiens - Patrick's second year card!

#172 - Tony McKegney - St. Louis Blues - If you missed Sal's Career in Cards post on McKegney, definitely check it out!

#184 - Dick "Better Known as Dirk" Graham - Minnesota North Stars - I always think of Graham as a Chicago Blackhawk. I had completely forgotten that he broke into the NHL with the North Stars...

#185 - Anton Stastny - Quebec Nordiques - This jersey absolutely kicks ass. I still say the NHL should force the Panthers owners to either move the team to Quebec or sell it to some new owners up in that fine province where hockey is actually appreciated.

#189 - Kelly Miller - Washington Capitals - Cousin of current Buffalo Sabres and team USA goaltender Ryan Miller. Somehow I didn't know that until recently.

What would any good 80's set be without stickers! My complete set also included the 33 sticker insert set. Here are some of the highlights:

Sticker #5 - Wayne Gretzky - The stickers have the same wooden stick design as the base set, just a bit busier.

Sticker #8 - Mike Liut - My favorite sticker from the 33 card set, for obvious reasons.

Sticker #11 - Mario Lemieux - The first 12 cards of the set are player cards, after that it's onto the classic team logo stickers...

Sticker #19 - Winnipeg Jets - Another franchise I'd like to see return to the NHL.

Sticker #20 - Quebec Nordiques

Sticker #24 - Vancouver Canucks - So much better than the modern Canucks logo...

Sticker #25 - Hartford Whalers

Sticker #29 - Minnesota North Stars
Sticker #30 - Washington Capitals

Well that about does it. A fantastic set overall and a must have for anyone who was a fan of the game during this era.


CaptKirk42 said...

Very cool looking set. Love they have the wooden stick as part of the design. I'll have to at least get my Capitals from that set.

TheRealDFG said...

If you have any doubles or triples or quadruples or quintuples (you get the point), I'd be interested in some possible trades.

Jeremy said...

Why are you going for the Topps sets instead of O-Pee-Chee?

shoeboxlegends said...

You should be able to pick up the Capitals pretty cheap CaptKirk42. The OPC set, as always, has the same design but more cards so if you're a completist grab the caps from that set too.

dogfacedgremlin, I don't have a single double from this particular set, but I do have a lot of baseball and hockey doubles and triples in general if you ever want to trade. You can find my email address in my blogger profile.

Jeremy, I'm going after the Topps sets first simply because they're what I collected as a kid. I know OPC has a bigger checklist, slightly better cardstock and brighter backs. I love the sets and will go after them someday. Once I get Topps done I'll get the 82-83 and 83-84 OPC sets since there were not Topps those years and then work from there.

Justin G. said...

Wouldn't it be interesting if the NHL forced goalies to wear the same sized pads that Roy has in that photo?

shoeboxlegends said...

I agree Justin! If the league wants increased offense (like we're seeing in the Olympics) to draw fans, I think goalie equipment would be a good place to start.

By the way, I got your package, post coming this weekend!

Drop The Gloves! said...

That Federko card is hilarious! The mid-80s hockey sets have some of the best designs.

Anonymous said...

These bring back memories..

Question, what where the sticker cards for? Was there an album form them. I can't remember.

email me at

*I most probably won't check back here to read an answer.


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