In last month's installment of the WHA Card of the Month, we looked at a card from the first series of WHA cards released by O-Pee-Chee, which were actually just a high series addition to the flagship 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee set. This month's WHA card is from O-Pee-Chee's first release that was dedicated solely to the new league:
After the high series cards in '72-73, the World Hockey Association didn't get any love from O-Pee-Chee in 1973-74. I'm not entirely sure why this is to be honest with you. Maybe the '72-73 high series cards didn't do so well? Anyway, after a one year break, O-Pee-Chee came back with a small set dedicated to the WHA in 1974-75. At just 66 cards in total, this one shouldn't be too difficult to complete. I've only got four cards from the set so far, and this Jacques Plante, which arrived in the mail a couple of weeks back courtesy of eBay, is probably my favorite so far. I think Edmonton should bring these bright orange jerseys back a couple of times each season!
The design for the set is nothing spectacular. The bulk of the space on the front is reserved for a large photo, positioned at right, that in all cases features the subject standing in front of a plain colored wall (usually blue). There are no action or in-game shots on any of the 66 cards. To the left is a colored banner with team name and a small hockey player beneath. The color of the banner differs based on the team, but the drawing of the hockey player is the same on all cards. At bottom left, below the banner, you can find the player's name and position. I think the design is a step backwards from the '72-73 WHA cards, but that's just my opinion.
The back of the cards, however, are a nice improvement over the '72-73s if you ask me. Along the top you've got an easily readable card number, along with essential player info and a cartoon, which is the biggest thing the first O-Pee-Chee WHA cards were lacking. In fact, I'm pretty sure this was the only O-Pee-Chee WHA release to include cartoons on the card backs. That being said, the cartoons in this set are pretty weak. They are just generic illustrations that teach you basic facts about the game, rather than being tailored to the actual subject of each card. Along the bottom of the card you get just a single year of stats, but that leaves plenty of room in the middle for a decent write-up on the player (in both English and French of course).
These cards are not as desired as the '72-73s or the '75-76 set that would come out the following year, but nonetheless it's an interesting little set. Jacques here is one of the four best cards in terms of book value, with the other three being Bobby Hull, the checklist card, and card #1 featuring the Howe trio. Plante's card is interesting because the 31 games he would play with Edmonton in 1974-75 would be the final games of his lengthy professional career.
It may not be at the top of my list at the moment, but someday I'd like to track down the remaining 62 cards I need to complete this one. If you've got any available for trade let me know!
Surprise #2 finally revealed - I am* finally* ready to reveal the second surprise I had up my sleeve for the Cardboard History Gallery. I didn't expect it to take as long as it did, but ...