CARDS I GOT FROM COMC………….. over a year ago…

There’s probably some unwritten rule of blogging along the lines of “Don’t admit when you screwed up”, but I had a post in mind for today… and it’s not ready… so I’m going to do a quick run through five cards which I love but never quite made it into a post before now.

Dave Kingman, a 1970’s and 1980’s power hitter known for his all-or-nothing approach, had a career-worst 156 strikeouts in 1981. Focus on that bit: a guy known in the day for striking out a lot had maxed out at 156 K’s.

This season, right now, in mid August, Yoan Moncada *and* Joey Gallo *AND* Giancarlo Stanton all have more K’s than Kong did at his absolute worst. The Orioles’ Chris Davis is two bad days away from passing Kingman.

That’s just so sad… I need something to make me feel better.

How about this 1955 Topps Spook Jacobs card? I got this card partly because it was vintage and relatively cheap, but I just like it. Nothing in particular jumps out, it’s just a nice-looking card.

One thing which intrigues me about this card is the cap that Jacobs is shown wearing. I really like the “KC” logo, but I’ve never seen a photo of a Kansas City Athletics player wearing a cap like this. Every card from 1955 (the first year that the A’s spent in KC, I should add) have this cap logo, but they’re all paintings, and I just figured it was a prototype logo that was given to Topps and added in by the artists, but never actually used by the A’s.

…But then…

I searched on “Kansas City Athletics hat” and found a commercially-available hat just like this. The fact that it’s for sale now doesn’t necessarily mean it existed then, however.  It could be that 1955 Topps cards stoked enough interest that these caps were made.

So does anybody have an idea of whether the Athletics actually wore this hat? Every photo I’ve seen of the early days in Kansas City have a cap with an “A” on it.

Moving along…

This 1967/68 O-Pee-Chee card of the New York Rangers’ Camille Henry was an impulse buy, mainly because I didn’t previously have any hockey cards from that year.

“Camille The Eel” won the Calder Trophy in 1954 as the NHL rookie of the year, and was an all-star several times. He also played in two Stanley Cup finals, but was on the losing side both times.

I got this 1971 rookie card for Chuck Brinkman and Dick Moloney, and I’ll briefly revive my “Are We Not Stars?” theme from the earlier days of this blog…

Chuck Brinkman is the brother of long-time starter and one-time All Star Eddie Brinkman. Chuck was a catcher who played 149 games over six sesaons, mostly with the White Sox. He batted .172 and hit one home run.

Dick Moloney, who’s listed as Richie Moloney in baseball-reference.com, pitched one inning in 1970.  As a 20-year-old he gave up two hits, no runs and got a strikeout… but that was the extent of his career.  He pitched in AA and AAA in 1971 and then his professional career was over.  It makes you want to know more about that story…

Wrapping up with a card of Mets outfielder Michael Conforto from his days with the Oregon State U. Beavers

This 2015 Panini Contenders set has some fun photos of current and legendary players in their college uniforms, but I wish more of the photos were in color (especially of the legends).  I do realize that much of it is because of the source material… usable color photos of Bob Gibson with the Creighton U. Blue Jays frankly may not exist.

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“Dead Parrot” Frankenset: Face-Off #1

I’ve written a couple of times about a new project of mine, the “Dead Parrot” Frankenset: a hockey Frankenset made of cards featuring NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). When I started the project, I’d filled as many slots as I could with cards I already owned, and then added a few cards I got from Shoebox Legends.

A few weeks ago I was at a card show and one of the goals I set for myself was to get as many potential “Dead Parrot” cards as I could. It wasn’t quite as many as I had hoped for since the hockey card dealers in this show had only recent cards, while the most recent cards which could possibly make this binder would be those featuring the Atlanta Thrashers in their final season of 2010/11.

All was not lost, as some of the dealers who carried vintage cards of multiple sports came through for me… plus I found a small number of 1980’s O-Pee-Chee in a dimebox. It wasn’t the mother lode I was hoping for, but it will do.

So here are the groundrules, such as they are. Since it’s a “Frankenset”, there’s one and only one slot for each potential card number (from 1 to 396 in this case). Certain teams and players will generally get preference over others, although photo quality certainly plays a part. You’ll see an example of that in this post. As with assembling a roster for a real sports team, there are always the “intangibles” to be considered.

And now, on with the face-offs!

Currently in slot #13, Representing the Cincinnati Stingers (WHA, 1975 to 1979) as well as 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA… Rich Leduc!

…And the Challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames (NHL, 1972 to 1980) as well as 1973/74 Topps… Keith McCreary!

The Judgement:  Even though you get a better look at the logo on McCreary’s card, the Cincinnati Stingers are at the pinnacle of my “Dead Parrot” pyramid, so it would take an exceptional challenger (or an exceptionally bad Stingers card) to bump one of the Stingers from the set.  This McCreary card isn’t exceptional, and I’ve already got McCreary cards in slots #25 and #27, so I’m not sure he deserves more representation.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Next… Currently in slot #14 and representing the Kansas City Scouts (NHL, 1974 to 1976) as well as 1975/76 O-Pee-Chee…Jim McElmury!

..and the challenger, representing the Minnesota North Stars (NHL, 1967 to 1993) as well as 1973/74 Topps… Ted Harris!

Doing a mock introduction of an athlete named Harris reminds me of another Monty Python reference:  In the red corner, all the way from Reigate in Cuba… Colin “Bomber” Harris!

The Judgement: There’s a lot going on in the Kansas City Scouts uniforms, but I just love the combination of the three primary colors.  Also, the Ted Harris card is a little bit “blah”.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


And now, in slot #29, representing the Cincinnati Stingers and 1976/77 O-Pee-Chee WHA… Dennis Sobchuk!

..and the Challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1973/74 Topps… Rey Comeau!

The Judgement: Both the Stingers and Flames logos are among my favorites, but the Stingers get a slight edge, plus with the Sobchuk card we have a a non-posed arena shot (I won’t go as far as to say “game action”).

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


There is no current card in slot #33, so the new occupant, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1974/75 Topps… Curt Bennett!

As posed shots go, this is a pretty good one. Curt Bennett was born in Saskatchewan but raised in Rhode Island, and was the first U.S.-raised player to break the 30 goal mark.

Fake Curt Bennett fact:  He gave Justin Bieber his hairstyle.

Real (according to Wikipedia, anyway) Curt Bennett fact:  His ex-wife Susan Bennett was the original voice of “Siri”.


Moving on to slot #36, representing the Hartford Whalers (WHA, 1972 to 1979;  NHL, 1979 to 1997) and the 1994 Cardz “Muppets Take The Ice” set… The Great Gonzo!

And the challenger, representing both the Kansas City Scouts (the card) and the California Golden Seals (the photo), as well as 1974/75 Topps… Gary Croteau!

The Judgement: As much as I love The Muppets as well as Gonzo, this card was always meant as something of a placeholder; I mean you don’t even see the Whalers’ logo on the card. On the other had, the Croteau card is a bit odd. The 1974/75 season was the first for the Kansas City Scouts, and Croteau is shown in a California Golden Seals sweater (the team from which that the Scouts drafted him). I suppose that makes this card double dead parrot-y.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


Moving on to slot #51;  Representing the Kansas City Scouts and 1975/76 O-Pee-Chee… Dennis Patterson!

..and the challenger, representing the Atlanta Flames and 1976/77 Topps Hockey… Eric Vail!

The Judgement: This one was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.  An action shot of someone with the Scouts would almost always beat a posed shot of anyone from any other team, but that Eric Vail card is so colorful, and like many other people I like that 1976/77 design (although I didn’t collect it back in the day).  Even so, I’m going to have to go with the Patterson card (although you may feel free to change my mind on this).

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


And finally… in slot #52, technically representing the not-at-all-dead Edmonton Oilers, but wearing the uniform of the San Diego Mariners (WHA, 1974 to 1977), and also representing 1977/78 O-Pee Chee WHA… Norm Ferguson!

…and the challenger, representing the California Golden Seals and 1973/74 Topps… Craig Patrick!

The Judgement: I generally don’t let who the player is affect who I pick, and that’s not usually a problem because teams like these don’t often have notable players. In truth, Craig Patrick was far from a notable player, but he was the assistant GM and assistant coach of the 1980 U.S. “Miracle On Ice” hockey team, the coach and GM of both the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, so after all the times I’ve seen him in a suit at a press conference, it amuses me to see him in the gaudy uniforms of the Seals… and a very colorful card it is.

But that Ferguson card… if it were a better photo this wouldn’t even be discussed. Ferguson is wearing a San Diego Mariners uniform, *and* there’s a New England Whaler in the background. The photo is so dull and dimly-lit, however, to take some of that appeal out of it.

Another decision which may be revisited, but I have to go with Craig Patrick.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


So that addresses this batch of cards. I’m planning on making this something of a series, but that depends on how often I can get new cards in this “hockey desert” I live in. Didn’t there used to be hockey repacks in retail stores?

Current “Dead Parrot” Frankenset status:
Completion percentage: 59.8% (237/396)
# of complete pages: 5 out of 44


Because the following song came up on my phone while I was thinking about this post, I’ve decided that with each Dead Parrot post I would feature a favorite song by a Canadian artist, for the thoroughly tenuous reason that hockey is Canada’s national sport… and, um, I like a fair number of Canadian artists, so…

“Lovers In A Dangerous Time” is a song that Barenaked Ladies recorded for a Bruce Cockburn tribute album.  It was their first hit in Canada and even though it didn’t appear on a Barenaked Ladies album before their Greatest Hits compilation, it’s one of my favorite BNL songs. Gotta love the harmonies (and the goofy turn the video takes after a while)

Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 1, from 0 to 33

Not long ago there was a post at The Five Tool Collector which featured 9 players who wore #9. I started thinking about my own list of players who wore #9.  Soon,  my mind started wandering to other numbers and I thought it would be fun to see how far I could go making a list of my favorite athletes associated with each number (at least at some point in their career).

Just to emphasize, this is a list of MY FAVORITES for each number.  It’s not the all-time greatest.  Honestly, for me Bill Almon would get #2 over Derek Jeter …but to be fair, I *do* like Bill Almon… and, at any rate, Almon is not the guy I chose for #2.

For those who are new here, I’m a fan of the Mets, Orioles and Steelers, and I used to be a fan of the Capitals and of NASCAR (back in the 1990’s when the top level was still the Winston Cup).  Naturally, most of the choices come from these teams;  I’ll offer explanations only for cards which don’t fall into one of those categories.

0 – Rey Ordonez

1 – Mookie Wilson (Don’t tell my wife I didn’t pick Brian Roberts)

2 – J.J. Hardy

3 – Bud Harrelson

4 – Rusty Staub

5 – Rod Langway

6 – Melvin Mora

7 – Alan Kulwicki

It’s been 25 years since Kulwicki’s tragic death in a plane crash and looking at his cards still makes me wonder what might have been.  I continued following NASCAR for another 7 or 8 years, but for me it was never the same without Alan Kulwicki

 

8 – Cal Ripken

 

9 – Todd Hundley

FYI, the next two cards are from the 1995 Donruss Top Of The Order collectible card game.  One of these days I’m going to learn how to play this game.

10 – Darren Daulton

I collect Dutch because he’s the first player I saw in the minors who went on to establish himself as a Major League player

11 – Mike Gartner

12 – John Stearns… could’ve gone with Ron Darling, but I thought of Stearns first.

13 – Edgardo Alfonzo

14 – Nolan Reimold

I latched on to Reimold when he was an up-and-comer.

15 – Kirk McCaskill

My friend Billy went to the University of Vermont at the same time that McCaskill was the star and captain of the school’s hockey team;  I followed the exploits of “Captain Kirk” through Billy and became a fan.  Had he stuck with hockey rather than baseball I would’ve still collected him.

16 – Doc Gooden.

17 – B.J. Surhoff

18 – Daryl Strawberry

19 – Fritz Peterson

I collect Fritz for reasons too involved to get into here… and if you have to ask, yes, it’s for baseball reasons.

20 – Howard Johnson

21 – Dennis Maruk

22 – Doug Flutie

As someone who’s not particularly tall, I like guys like Flutie, Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues.

 

23 – Luke Walker

When I was a kid, I mistakenly thought that Walker was a big name player;  I still collect him because of that.

24 – Rick Dempsey

To be clear, this 2004 card from the Maryland Lottery features the card number on the front, so don’t get confused by the “34” up top – Demper is #24 in the hearts of all Orioles fans (except maybe not for fans of Eric Davis or Arnie Portocarrero)

25 – Jim Abbott

26 – Rod Woodson

27 – Frank Catalanotto

I saw Frank in the minors and discovered that, like me, he’s from Suffolk County, Long Island.

28 – Daniel Murphy

29 – Dave Magadan

30 – Michael Conforto

31 – John Franco

Some of you are saying “What about Mike Piazza?”  Sorry, always felt a closer bond to Franco.

32 – Steven Matz

33 – Eddie Murray

I’ll be back in a couple of days with my favorite athletes from #34 to #99 (although I skip around a lot once I get past #59).

It’s Been A LONG Time Since I Did A Playlist Post

Been a long time
Been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time…

It’s also been a long time since I acquired most of the cards in this post, but for one reason or another, I never got around to featuring them… until now.

I’m a bit crunched for time this week so I figured I’d combine these arbitrarily-selected cards and a playlist of songs with “long” somewhere in the title.

Enjoy!

(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long – Chicago
(This Song’s Just) Six Words Long – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Parody of “Got My Mind Set On You” by George Harrison)
All Night Long – Joe Walsh
All Summer Long – The Beach Boys
Another Long One – Shawn Colvin
Foreplay/Long Time – Boston
How Long Must I Wait for You? – Joe Jackson
How Long – Ace

It Won’t Be Long – The Beatles
It’s A Long Way To The Top – AC/DC
Long As I Can See The Light – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) – The Hollies
Long Day In The Universe – The Darling Buds
Long Distance Runaround – Yes
Long Division – Death Cab For Cutie
Long Hot Summer Night – Jimi Hendrix Experience

Long Legs – The Magic Numbers
Long Line Of Cars – Cake
Long Live Rock – The Who
Long Summer Days – The Moody Blues
Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) – Leo Sayer
Long Tall Sally – The Beatles
Long Time Coming – The Zutons
Long Time Gone – Crosby, Stills & Nash

Long Time – Cake
Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again? – The Monkees
Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
Long View – Green Day
Long Way Back Home – Barenaked Ladies
Long Way Down – Emmet Swimming
Long, Long Day – Paul Simon
Long, Long Time – Billy Joel

Long, Long Way from Home – Foreigner
Long, Long, Long – The Beatles
Long, Tall Texan – The Beach Boys
One Long Pair of Eyes – Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake
So Long – Guster
So Long, Bannatyne – The Guess Who
So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon & Garfunkel
So Long, Mom (A Song For World War III) – Tom Lehrer


(This addition to my Ryan Zimmerman collection came from “A Cracked Bat” Julie)

Take The Long Way Home – Supertramp
The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair – Led Zeppelin
The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles
Through the Long Night – Billy Joel
Too Long in the Wasteland – James McMurtry
You Can’t Hold on Too Long – The Cars
You Shook Me All Night Long – ACDC


(This addition to my Frank Catalanotto collection also came from Julie)

Honorary Mention (Songs which aren’t particular favorites of mine):
A Long December – Counting Crows
As Long As You Follow – Fleetwood Mac
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) – Styx
All Night Long – Lionel Richie

Congrats To The Capitals, The Hockey Equivalent Of “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

I collect the Washington Capitals from their inception in 1974 up to roughly the mid 1990’s.

I was an enthusiastic Capitals fan during that period, but that was before my fandom suffered a death by a thousand cuts.

An ongoing series of changes in the late 1980’s and through the 1990’s left me feeling “this isn’t who I fell in love with”. They frustrated me, they angered me, they sometimes embarrassed me…

Players I didn’t like moved in…

…While my favorite players moved on…

It’s almost like they were trying to push me away, and it got to the point where I felt like I didn’t recognize my team anymore. 

After they changed to these horrendous uniforms, I *literally* didn’t recognize my team anymore.

My crazy ex-girlfriend of a team has not been part of my life for years, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for them.

Congratulations, Capitals. Call me when Ovechkin moves on, maybe we can get together for coffee or something.

…And keep on photobombin’.

Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Cleveland Barons

Aside for providing me with a fun project, one thing my Dead Parrot Frankenset has done for me is make me realize how many of the teams I’m collecting have not been the subject of one of my “Forgotten Franchises” posts… so it’s time to rectify that, one team at a time.

The Cleveland Barons lasted just two seasons from 1976 to 1978 and was the only NHL team to ever call Cleveland home (although there had been a couple of prior attempts to being the NHL to Cleveland).

The Barons’ story in begins in Oakland with the California Seals; if you read my Forgotten Franchises post on the Seals, you’ll know that the 1967 expansion team struggled for wins and attendance throughout their existence and had been rumored, at various times, to be moving to Vancouver, Buffalo, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Denver and Seattle. Minority owners George and Gordon Gund were able to convince the rest of ownership to move the team to Cleveland in 1976, just a couple of months before the season began. The team adopted the name of a successful former American Hockey League team.

Given the timing of the move, the Barons didn’t have time to do much marketing before taking the ice, and the attendance suffered for that. Although they had a new arena in the Richfield Coliseum, it wasn’t located in Cleveland but rather between Cleveland and Akron. This non-urban location also caused attendance problems for the team.

On the ice, the team was awful, going 47-87-26 over two seasons and missing the playoffs both years. During the second season, the financial situation became so dire that players went unpaid for weeks, and there had been talk of the team folding mid-season.

After that second season, it was determined that the team would cease operations in some form. The Minnesota North Stars were also close to insolvency so the idea was pitched of having the Barons and Minnesota North Stars combine their organizations, making the argument to the league that one team folding might look bad, but it was better than two teams going under. The combined team would be under the ownership of the Gund brothers, who had already taken majority ownership of the Barons, and would maintain the North Stars identity and home ice. To maintain divisional balance, the team would assume the Barons’ spot in the Adams division.

In case you were curious, the combined teams were still terrible in 1978-79, finishing 4th and missing the playoffs. The North Stars had more success in 1979-80, finishing with a 36-28-16 record which was good for 3rd place in the now-five-team Adams division (the Nordiques were added after the WHA merger). The North Stars beat the Maple Leafs and Canadiens before losing to the Flyers in the semi-finals.

Cleveland Barons in Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets
Although the Barons existed for two years, they appeared on Topps cards only for their second season. This was because the move to Cleveland happened too late for Topps to make the appropriate changes for the 1976-77 set. O-Pee-Chee was able to handle it better – somewhat – due to their later release date.

To illustrate, I’ll use the cards for Dennis Maruk, the Baron’s representative at the 1978 All-Star Game and the team’s leading scorer for both seasons.

1976-77
When Topps created the 1976-77 hockey set, the team in question was still the California Golden Seals.

O-Pee-Chee had time to change the team name and update the logo; I don’t have an OPC Maruk, but to give you the general idea, here’s the top of another OPC Barons card.

For those players who are still shown wearing a Seals uniform (as opposed to being airbrushed from some other team’s uniform), there’s the typical OPC “Team transferred to Cleveland” text. OPC left the Seals team card alone, so it’s the only Seals card in that set.

1977-78
This is the one Topps set where you get to see the Barons’ uniforms… well, not so much on Dennis Maruk’s card, but there are others in this post.

It’s also only set with a Barons team card.

1978-79
Because the merging of the Barons into the North Stars came early enough for the 1978 set, Topps Airbrushed several Barons into North Stars uniforms.  Maruk played just 2 games for the North Stars in 1978 before being traded to the Capitals, but he would get traded back to Minnesota in 1983.

A number of players where weren’t in Topps but were in O-Pee-Chee are shown in their Barons uniforms (Al MacAdam and John Baby, both listed with the North Stars; Dave Gardner with the Kings).

O-Pee-Chee, known for using older photos with a superimposed “NOW WITH…” text to make it all better, would use continue to use Barons photos after the team was just a memory, like in the 1979/80 set.

Key Players (other than Dennis Maruk):

Al MacAdam was second in team scoring and was the Baron’s representative at the 1977 All-Star game; he would go on to win the Masterson Trophy (Perseverance and Sportsmanship) with the North Stars in 1979/80.

Wikipedia lists Bob Stewart and former Rangers All-Star Jim Neilsen as the team’s co-captains; indeed, the above team card shows two different players wearing the captains’ “C”.

Defenseman Mike Christie was, by far, the teams’s plus/minus leader in 1976 with a +19 rating. By comparison, the following season saw four players tie for the best plus/minus with a 0 rating – the team as a whole gave up 95 more goals than it scored. Christie was, on paper, the first player born in Texas to play in the NHL, but it was a technicality – he was raised in Canada.

Gilles Meloche was the starting goalie for both seasons in Cleveland, and would have a long career with the Seals, Barons, North Stars, Penguins and Black Hawks.

Rick Hampton was the 3rd overall draft pick in 1974 (after Greg Joly and Wilf Paiement) and was in the NHL at the age of 18.

Update:  Charlie Simmer played 24 games for the Barons in the 1976/77 season.  With the Kings in 1979/80 he would lead the league in goals (56) and power-play goals (21).  Thanks to Mike Matson of Not Another Baseball Card Blog for pointing out my oversight.

Others of note: Dave Gardner, Wayne Merrick, J.P. Parise, Jean Potvin

A Shoebox Legend PWE Of Baseball And “Dead Parrots”

So I’ve had a long week… Nobody cares about the details, but it’s just been a drawn-out, tiring week on a number of fronts.

What does matter within the scope of this blog is that when I came home at the end of the longest day of the week, I found a PWE in my mailbox from Shoebox Legends. Finding a PWE in your mailbox is always a good thing.

Aside from the usual fun mix of baseball and hockey, the PWE also contained the first new additions to my new Dead Parrot Frankenset, which I’ll leave for the end of this post.

First off was a 2018 Heritage card of Noah Syndergaard… I don’t know where the Mets would be in 2018 without Thor and Jacob deGrom… well, other than looking up even further at the Braves, Phils and Nats.

But that’s still better than can be said of the Orioles, who are reportedly listening to offers for Manny Machado… Like I always say, we stink with you, we can stink without you.

…But it makes one long for the days of the Ripkens. Here’s a new addition to my semi-passive Cal Ripken collection which stands at… um… somewhere in the hundreds. Don’t really know.

This is from the 2005 Upper Deck All-Star Classics set, one I’m not sure I’m familiar with.

I, for one, miss having cards with photos like this one of Bill Ripken with a big freakin’ telephoto lens.

For all the talk of 1989 Upper Deck being a “classic” set, I really prefer 1992 and 1993 UD… especially 1993.

I didn’t become an O’s fan until the mid-to-late 1990’s, so Earl Weaver was before my time in an Orioles sense, but I’ve been a baseball fan long enough to be familiar with him as a manager. This is from last year’s Archives set, BTW.

I’m mildly intrigued by the funky-looking stands behind Earl. I wonder if that’s a Spring Training ballpark… does anybody recognize that?

Update: CommishBob informs me that this is the long-time spring home of the Orioles, Miami Stadium. Thanks, Bob!

I miss Melvin Mora and his walk-up music (Celia Cruz’ “La Vida Es Un Carnaval”) and his quintuplets.

“Derek Jeter says…” I’ll tell you what Derek Jeter says, he says “How the hell did Alex Rodriguez come to have a more positive image than I do?”

That does it for the baseball, but there’s a couple of hockey cards to feature before we get to the Dead Parrots…

Joe Juneau was on the only prior Capitals team to make the Stanley Cup finals in 1998… it’s a pity that they had those awful blue black and bronze uniforms at the time… and it’s unfortunate that Juneau’s face is covered by the text on the protective coating.  Is it safe to remove that film 20 years later, or will it pull the rest of the card with it?

I find it interesting that the Capitals make it to the finals 20 years after the first time.  For the record, 20 years before they were swept by the Red Wings in the 1998 finals, the Capitals were at home after a 17-49-14 season.  They really sucked back then.

There was also a card for my casual chase of the 1978-79 Topps Hockey Set… Doug Jarvis is shown with Les Habitants, but he’ll always be a Capital in my heart.

The PWE also included several cards which are my first new additions to my Dead Parrot project;  For those who missed the earlier posts, this is a FrankenSet numbered from 1 to 396 of cards featuring hockey teams which are no more, which have ceased to be.

First up in slot #27 is a 1972-73 Topps Keith McCreary card which takes over an empty slot.

McCreary is shown in an airbrushed Penguins uniform, but the card identifies him with the Atlanta Flames.  He was taken from the Penguins in the expansion draft and would become the Flames’ first captain.  Interestingly enough, the Penguins had drafted McCreary from the Canadiens in the 1967 expansion draft.

And, in a quirk of card numbering, slot #25 in my Frankenset is already taken by a very-well-loved 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee card of McCreary in his Flames uni.

With McCreary taking the bottom two corners on the third page, I’m tempted to keep them in place… well, I’m thinking I’ll have to upgrade that OPC card.

Next up for card #55 is this awesome 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA card of New England Whaler Tom Webster

Webster is possibly best known these days for coaching the LA Kings for a couple of seasons, although he did also coach the Rangers briefly.

I have, on occasion, thought about completing the 1977-78 OPC WHA set because it’s small (66 cards) and largely affordable, but at this point I’m thinking I might just chase down most of the cards for this project… except, perhaps, for the Edmonton Oilers, the one WHA team which is *not* a ‘Dead Parrot’.

Webster did not go into the binder unopposed;  the slot was previously occupied by this 1981-82 Topps North Stars leaders card featuring Minnesota scoring leader Bobby Smith.

The combined might of the various North Stars leaders were not enough to keep them from being evicted from slot #55.

This next card becomes the shiniest Dead Parrot in my binder as the Nordiques’ Rene Corbet takes over an empty slot #97

This is from 1994/95 Topps Finest, and 1994/95 was the last season for the Nords before they moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche. Aside from the Nordiques and Avalanche, Corbet would also play for the Penguins and Calgary Flames.

Last up is #112, which features new addition Gordie Roberts from the 1980/81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set. Unlike it’s Topps counterpart, OPC did not feature the asinine “scratch off” gimmick, so this card is unblemished by black scratch-off crap.

Gordie Roberts was born and raised in the Detroit area, so it’s not a surprise that he was named after Red Wings legend Gordie Howe. Roberts even got to play with Howe and his sons while all four of them were with the Whalers.

Gordie Roberts played a long time with the WHA Whalers and a number of NHL teams (including, obviously the NHL Hartford Whalers) and is in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. His brother Doug also played in the NHL for a number of years and also played with his brother on the New England Whalers… but unfortunately he was no longer on the team when the Howes came to New England. What a story that would’ve been, two families, five players on the same team!

So that wraps up this PWE… Thanks again to Shoebox Legends for the tremendous and well-timed PWE!

Oh, and before I leave I’m going to figure out where I stand on this Dead Parrot project — unofficial numbers because I rushed through counting cards as I was finishing this post. I’ve got 186 cards for 396 slots, which means I’m 46.9% of the way towards a full binder. Not too shabby considering I haven’t had a chance to actively seek out cards for this.