This is the latest in a series on an ongoing project, a “Dead Parrot” Frankenset which features cards of NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). The Frankenset consists of a binder containing 44 sheets and the goal is to have it filled with cards numbered from 1 to 396, with each slot filled with a card featuring a hockey team that has gone to meet its maker.
This post’s batch of cards came from a dealer at a show I was at in January. I walked away with over 70 “challengers” for the Dead Parrot project, and I know I overpaid slightly given the condition of the cards, but I so rarely run across vintage hockey in Shlabotsylvania, so I gleefully paid the man and giggled as I walked away with a new load of cards.
That batch had cards from five different hockey sets, so I figured for this first post from that batch I’d pick one card – most of them at random, as you’ll see – from each set.
The first challenger, representing 1972-73 Topps and the California Golden Seals, it’s Rick Smith!
Currently in slot #34, representing 1974/75 Topps and the Kansas City Scouts, it’s head coach Bep Guidolin and his very very 1970s jacket!
As much as I love this card of Bep, I really have to go with the player shot… But I’m thinking I might need to add an “appendix” to the Dead Parrot binder to hold any KC Scouts / Colorado Rockies cards which get bumped from the Frankenset. I’ve developed an unnatural affection for that franchise …well, up until they moved to New Jersey and became the Devils, at which point they became dead to me.
THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!
Next up is card #24 from 1977-78 Topps, representing the Colorado Rockies, it’s Paul Gardner!
Currently defending slot #24, representing 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA and the Cincinnati Stingers, it’s Ron Plumb!
This one is a toughie for me. The Rockies and Stingers are the pinnacle teams for this project, but there are fewer Stingers cards out there, and WHA cards always get a bit of an edge. I’m going to have to go with Ron Plumb on this… but I’m sure I’ll be second-guessing myself for a while.
THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED
(AND RELEGATED TO THE ‘PHOTOBOMBING CAPITALS’ PROJECT)!
Our third card is challenging for slot #87 and is a bit of a “ringer”… You see, I have reason to want to replace the card that’s already in slot #87. This selected challenger represents 1976-77 Topps and the Minnesota North Stars… it’s Ernie Hicke!
Currently in slot #87, representing 1994-95 Fleer Ultra and the Hartford Whalers… Sean Burke and his two-sided card!
This is the front of the card…
…but I’ve been using the back instead:
Either way, I’ve never been happy with this card… it’s just too “Nineties”, has too much going on and sticks out like a sore thumb in the binder. Because of that…
THE CHALLENGER (AND HIS AWESOME PERM) IS VICTORIOUS!
…and not only that, but this updates an already-completed Page 10. Let’s take a look at the new version of that page:
Oh, yeah… That’s what I’m talking about! And I’d like to point out an unintended bit of joy about this page… Ernie Hicke is now in a slot below his brother Bill Hicke! How cool is that? With the Hicke brothers, Lanny McDonald and a North Stars team card, this page might be fairly well set.
Here’s a new card going into an empty slot #308… Representing the Atlanta Flames and 1975-76 Topps, it’s Phil Myre!
It’s always nice to add a “High Number” to my binder… and as far as I’m concerned, it’s never too late to change the name of the relocated Flames team the Alberta Flames so that we can bring this logo back.
One final battle to wrap up this post… Challenging for slot #227 and representing the gimmicky 1980-81 Topps and the Winnipeg Jets, it’s goals and assists team leader Morris Lukowich!
For those not familiar with this set, the gimmick was that each card was a “Who Am I?” quiz and the player’s name – and in this case, the bottom third of the card – was covered in black scratch-off crap. I have held this set in poor regard for years, but now that I’ve gotten serious about some of my hockey projects, I’m seeking out cards from it. When buying cards from this set, I actually prefer the scratched copies, although I won’t scratch one which comes to me unscratched. Thankfully, that year’s O-Pee-Chee set didn’t do the scratch-off nonsense (but maintains the card backs which don’t mention the player by name).
Currently in slot #227, representing the Colorado Rockies (just barely) and 1982-83 Topps Album Stickers, the only hockey “set” available in the U.S. that year… Brent Ashton!
OK, I know I said that the Rockies are hard for me to reject… but not impossible, especially when the Rockie is airbrushed, shows no logos and is on a smaller-than-standard sticker. This is a case of one 1980s gimmick winning out over another, and of a not-great card beating an even less great sticker.
THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!
…but will be a easy target for any other 227’s which come along.
Because I’ve reached something approximating organization with this project, I decided to get back to maintaining a count of how many cards are in my Frankenset.
With the addition of the Phil Myre card, I now have 313 cards out of a possible 396, which puts me at 79% complete. There are still a fair number of cards I’d like to replace, so there are plenty of opportunities for future challengers.