Curse You, Red Berenson!

I’ve been pretty much waiting my whole life to say that…

1975-76 Topps Hockey Red Berenson

As a a Peanuts-obsessed child, I was greatly amused to find that there was a hockey player whose name sounded like “Red Baron”, the nemesis of Snoopy’s World War I Flying Ace persona.  Ever since then I smile and mentally quote the subject line whenever I see Red Berenson’s name.

At a recent show I was going through some discounted vintage hockey, ran across the above 1975/76 Topps card, and knew I had to pick it up.  Red is airbrushed into a Blues jersey because the Red Wings traded him to St. Louis during the previous season.

The same dealer also had some 1975/76 O-Pee-Chee cards that don’t have a Topps equivalent.  My meager understanding of the situation is that from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s, O-Pee-Chee issued hockey sets that were larger than Topps’ hockey… The OPC sets contained most (if not all) of the cards in the Topps set, plus had additional cards as well. The following cards all fall into that category;  I’m tempted to call them “high numbers” because these card usually have numbers that go beyond the 132 or 264 cards typically in the Topps sets… but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen variations and the like which fall into lower numbers, so “high numbers” is probably not a technically accurate term.

…Anyway…

Wayne Dillon is the only one of the three who I had any real familiarity with. Dillon spent two years as a teenager playing for the WHA’s Toronto Toros – that’s likely a Toros sweater he’s wearing in the photo – got drafted in the first round by the Rangers but never lived up to expectations, I believe it was due to injuries.
1975-76 OPC Hockey Wayne Dillon

Jerry Holland played 37 games with the Rangers, and 22 games with the Edmonton Oilers when they were in the WHA. According to legendsofhockey.net, he was a top-scorer in the juniors and minors, but never stuck in the NHL.
1975-76 OPC Hockey Jerry Holland

Stan Gilbertson slightly predates my time as a Capitals fan… He played played for the Caps for parts of two seasons, and also for the Golden Seals, Blues and Penguins… a fair representation of expansion era NHL teams.
1975-76 OPC Hockey Stan Gilbertson
It’s somehow comforting to know that NHL rinks could be tilted just as badly as MLB ballparks. One would think that skating up an incline would be difficult.

I presume that the larger O-Pee-Chee hockey sets were issued as a larger set in one series, rather than having multiple series of this cards, but I’ve never seen anything about it one way or the other.  Does anybody know?

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