Sunday, June 22, 2014

Signature Sundays - Red Kelly

In today's Signature Sundays post, I'll continue with the 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures autographs.  Just one card today, featuring Hall-of-Famer Red Kelly of the Detroit Red Wings:

I really love this card just because of how long ago Kelly played.  Red (real name Leonard) began his NHL career with the 'Wings all the way back in 1947!  As you can see from the awesome black and white photo, these were the days before plexi-glass when solutions like chicken wire were used above the boards to keep the puck in play.

Kelly was a part of four Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit, usually playing defense but occasionally playing up on forward when needed due to his formidable puck skills.  In a dozen seasons with the Red Wings, Red was a First Team All-Star six times, won a Norris Trophy as top defenseman in the league and captured multiple Lady Byng Trophies.

Red was so effective offensively that when the Red Wings dealt him to Toronto in the early '60s he converted to center with the Leafs.  He'd become a prolific goal scorer, and lead the Leafs to four Stanley Cup wins as well!  Getting your name engraved on the greatest trophy in sports eight times is pretty unreal.

The fact that Red won four championships each with two different franchises, while playing two different positions, is just amazing.  At the end of the last century, when The Hockey News compiled a list of the 100 greatest players of all-time, Kelly made the list at #22.  Even if you grant that he's slipped a bit since that list was compiled, he's still within the top 30 to ever play the game by most accounts.

Red Kelly is my 106th autograph from what is, in my opinion, the best set that Panini released during their recent run with an NHL license.  Still got a few more of these to come in future posts...

3 comments:

Hackenbush said...

Great shot and Red certainly has a beautiful signature.

1967ers said...

It's a really nice signature particularly considering his age. No shakiness at all.

shoeboxlegends said...

Thanks guys! 1967ers, you're dead on about the penmanship, I thought the same thing myself. I'll be glad if I even make it to my mid-'80s, much less be able to sign my own name so well at that age.

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