Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Ultimate Hockey Card Set - Card #123

Time for the next induction to The Ultimate Hockey Card Set. Today I'm selecting card #123 for the set. Seems like an obscure number, but believe it or not even in my relatively small collection there was some good competition for this spot. Let's start with a couple of cards that didn't make the cut:

This 1972-73 Topps Brad Park was briefly considered. I love this set, in fact I'm casually working on accumulating the entire thing in a PSA 8 grade. There are a couple of issues with this one though. First of all, I already selected the Bobby Orr card from this same set as one of the first 4 cards that kicked off this series of posts. That's not to say I can't have multiple cards from the same set, but in a close race variety wins out. The other issue is that while I appreciate the in-game action photo, a rarity at the time, it's just not the greatest shot. A casual fan or collector who picked up this card might assume at first glance that Park is the Sabres player pictured front and center. Of course, we all know he's the Rangers defenseman in pursuit, wearing the #2 that he sported his entire career in New York. I can't help but think that a better photo could've been used.

This 1987-88 Topps Adam Oates rookie card would have been a fine choice. One of the league's top set-up men in his day. 1,079 career assists, 1,420 career points. Had some amazing years in Boston, including a career-best 142 point season in 1992-93. Even Adam's rookie card couldn't make the cut though. There were 2 cards that I liked even better than this one. I had a really tough time deciding between these. I'm only a few cards into the set here and I already find myself wishing I could choose an A and B for each number! In the end, only one card can win though, so here's the runner up first:

It really pained me to pass on Tim Horton here, and I'm sure it pained at least one other reader as well (I'm looking at you 1967ers). This card is fantastic, and it's from one of my favorite 60s sets. Definitely my best card of the Hall-of-Famer and Coffee giant. I like it so much that I featured it in my Top 60 Hockey Cards posts from last winter. So, what card could possibly beat out the 68-69 Horton for spot #123?

With the current theme of the blog being the Hartford Whalers, I'm sure one or two of you may have figured it out:

Card #123 - 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee - Ron Francis (RC)

Not much explanation needed as to why I went with this one. The rookie card of my favorite team's all-time best player. The only rookie card of my favorite team's all-time best player. More games played, goals, assists and points than anyone else in Whalers history. 1,798 career points, 4th in the history of the league, just 52 points behind Gordie Howe (Howe did play 36 games more than Francis).

It doesn't hurt that this card comes from a set loved by many collectors, including myself. The 82-83 design is amongst the best of the decade.

Strange way to start off the little paragraph below the stat lines...

I picked up this slightly off-center but pretty much pristine copy at the hobby shop for less than $10. I've stated this before, but it's absolutely criminal that this card is worth as little as it is. It books at just $20, while Grant Fuhr's card in the same set books for twice that. Are you kidding me?!?! Even Andy Moog's rookie from the year prior books at $25. What a joke. If anyone reading doesn't have this one yet, I'd strongly suggest snagging a copy. Without checking, I'd guess that this is one of the only big rookies of a top-5 career point guy in any sport that can be had for under $10. Regardless of it's "book value", Ron here definitely has a place in my Ultimate Hockey Card Set.

The entire set can be viewed here. What do you think about the selection?

7 comments:

Hackenbush said...

Really good point about the Brad Park. Action shots just weren't what they are today.

Drop The Gloves! said...

There are a bunch of funny bio paragraphs from that 82-83 set, with a few that start, "(Insert name here) is a bachelor..."

1967ers said...

You know, I was THIS close to going along with this pick. I spot checked a bunch of sets and didn't find anything. Sets prior to 1965-66 weren't even big enough to have a card #123. I figured there might only be one #123 older than '65-66 - a mid-30s OPC. OPC kept numbering it's cards from set to set, so their third or fourth set would hit #123.

Turns out, card 123 was this.

1967ers said...

Also interesting - in '72-73 OPC, card 123 is Red Berenson. That Park gets renumbered to 83. Don;t know why. Perhaps the whole set is different. I never checked.

shoeboxlegends said...

Good call on the Charlie Conacher card, I would say that beats out Francis. For my set though, Francis is still the right call as I made a rule that I have to own any card I choose, and I don't own the Conacher (although I'd like to some day!)...

1967ers said...

1982-83 was the first time I ever heard of anyone buying a complete box to get a set. I was in Grade 7. By '84-85 I did it all the time.

It's a really clean set. I wonder whether Topps designed it and simply didn't issue it, or whether it was OPC's own.

1967ers said...

Oh, no question. I was just debating whether I was on board with Ronnie being the best 123 ever, or just the best of the four. :)

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