My father was a devout fan of the Rangers… When I was growing up, every single Rangers game was on the TV in our house. Although I’ve never really been a Rangers fan myself, I have to admit that I’ve developed a soft spot in my heart for the Broadway Blueshirts, especially in seasons like this… I can just imagine how excited my father would be to have the Rangers in the finals for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup twenty years ago.
Over the past year or two, my interest in 1970’s hockey cards has been on the upswing, so to commemorate the Rangers playing in the finals, I thought I’d share some Rangers cards I got at a show a couple of months ago.
The first card is a 1973/74 O-Pee-Chee card which commemorates the Rangers’ 4-1 series win over the Bruins the prior year. Unfortunately, the Rangers would lose to the Black Hawks in the semi-finals.
I don’t really have favorite Rangers as much as there are certain players I look back on fondly. Jean Ratelle is one of them. Combine that with a photo which includes the California Golden Seals, and you’ve got what I consider a must-have hockey card.
This card is a 1974/75 Topps card, by the way. Unfortunately, Ratelle was included in a trade that got the Rangers a guy I don’t look back on fondly…
…and that would be Phil Esposito. O-ver-ra-ted! Clap! Clap! ClapClapClap!
I don’t remember Esposito wearing anything but #77, so I was surprised to see him wearing #12 on this 1976/77 card. It turns out he wore #5 and #12 in his first year with the Rangers.
Esposito couldn’t wear his customary #7 because it was being used by this guy:
Rod Gilbert is another guy who’s in my “Top Ten Rangers, For What That’s Worth” list.
This borderless, glossy card was an insert in the packs of 1977/78 hockey cards. This particular card features Dave Maloney, who was the team captain when the Rangers lost to the Canadiens in the 1979 Stanley Cup finals.
Maloney is modeling the Rangers’ unfortunate 1970’s attempt to “update” their uniforms.
Finally, we have Ron Stewart on a 1969/70 Topps card. Stewart was kinda sorta before my time; I remember the name, but he had retired by the time I came to regard hockey as anything more than a nuisance taking away from my valuable TV watching time.
Ron Stewart spent 13 years with the Maple Leafs, but also played three years in Madison Square Garden and would later coach the Rangers for part of a season.
Being that the NHL and I are estranged, I don’t know that I’ll do any more than check in on the finals here and there.
I know that CommishBob over at The Five-Tool Collector will be watching tonight. Will any of you join him in watching the finals, or are you saying “What, they’re still playing hockey? It’s June, for crying out loud!”