Dead Parrot Frankenset for May 4th, 2020

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.

All of today’s challengers come from 1980/81 Topps or O-Pee-Chee hockey.  This was the year where Topps (but not OPC) used a scratch-off “Who Am I?” gimmick on their cards, and some of these still have residue scratch-off black crap on them.

The first challenger, representing 1972-73 Topps and the Winnipeg Jets, it’s Peter Sullivan!

Currently in slot #29, representing 1976/77 O-Pee-Chee WHA and the Cincinnati Stingers, it’s Dennis Sobchuk!

Sobchuk has already fought off a much more formidable challenger than this, and that isn’t changing today.


Next up is card #214 from 1980/81 Topps, representing the Hartford Whalers, it’s Tom Rowe!

Currently defending slot #214, representing 1975-76 O-Pee-Chee and the Atlanta Flames, it’s Barry Gibbs!

For starters, 1975 O-Pee-Chee > 1980 Topps…

…and Barry Gibbs, not to be confused with the Bee Gee’s Barry Gibb, features a better photo in terms of showing off the logo and the uniform. I didn’t stress too much over this one.


Our third card is challenging for slot #243 and represents the Winnipeg Jets… it’s Ron Wilson!

Currently in slot #243, representing 1990-91 Pro Set and the Quebec Nordiques… Joe Cirella!

I kinda like the 1980 Ron Wilson card and the way he’s just standing around after taking his left glove and helmet off, but I really have to go with the nice action shot on the Pro Set card.


Not a good day for the challengers, but here’s a new card going into an empty slot #233… Representing the Hartford Whalers, it’s Al Sims!  This is now the 7th card on page 26 of the Dead Parrot binder.

And also going into an empty slot is this next card that’s a little more banged up the others, but that’s outweighed by the fact that it’s an O-Pee-Chee… representing the Nordiques and going into slot #309, it’s Serge Bernier!  This is the 6th card on page 35 of the Dead Parrot binder.

Even though the OPC cards didn’t feature the scratch-off gimmick, the player’s name is still printed somewhat faintly as if it were originally under a scratch-off layer.  That (and the higher price that OPC brings in the USA) is the main thing keeping me from being a full-blown O-Pee-Chee Snob when it comes to 1980/81.

With these two new cards, I now have 315 out of a possible 396, which puts this project at 79.5% complete!

Seeing how today is May The 4th and one of the Dead Parrot series’ bigger fans is also a big Star Wars fan, I thought I’d include “The Saga Begins” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. I recently read an article about ‘Weird Al’ which mentioned that not all of his fans realize that this song is not an original, but a parody of Don McLean’s “American Pie”, which was a huge huge hit in the early 1970’s.  If you don’t know the original song, ask anyone you know who lived through the 1970’s, I guarantee they know “American Pie”.

Dead Parrot Frankenset: April 22, 2020

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.


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.


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…


…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.


…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.

I Finally Have Some Parkies!

They are beaters, but they are Parkies!

I’ve been collecting hockey cards since I was a kid in 1977 (and I can just hear my readership drop off at the mention of hockey), although I haven’t been actively collecting them the whole 43 years.  In all that time, I never got a Parkhurst hockey card… until I picked up these three $3 beaters at a card show.

Now I don’t know much about Parkhurst as a company… I think of them as a sort of hockey version of Bowman: Mainly from the 1950’s, larger than standard-size beautiful and generally pricier than Topps. Since their cards fall into the “Original Six” era of the NHL, the only real collecting target I would have is the New York Rangers. Although I’ve never really been a fan of the Blueshirts, my father was a devoted Rangers fan from the 1940’s up through his passing in the late 1990’s, so I knew that any Rangers Parkies I’d picked up would be for someone he had seen skate in Madison Square Garden.

The first card is for HOFer Harry Howell and comes from the 1954/55 Parkhurst set. This is Howell’s second card, but not his second year card because his rookie card came during his second season with the Rangers… Got that?

As you can see, this HOFer came cheap because of Scotch tape and paper loss.  Howell played 17 years for the Rangers won the Norris Trophy in 1966/67 and would also play for the Seals, Kings as well as for three seasons in the WHA. Howell’s #3 was retired by the Rangers in 2009.

Next up, from the same set, is Ron Murphy… and I’m going to learn about him as I write this post.  Murphy was a left wing who played from 1952 to 1970 with the Rangers, Black Hawks and  Bruins and at one point was on a record-setting line with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge;  together they set a record for most points by a line (which was broken two years later).

The main damage to this card was that someone “highlighted” the card number (76) with ballpoint pen.

Finally, this handsome guy from 1953/54 Parkhurst is Allan “Snowshoes” Stanley. Is Stanley’s name on the Stanley Cup? You betcha, four times with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960’s. He’s also a HOFer.

Stanley was called “Snowshoes” because of his slow, lumbering style of skating. He was a defenseman who factored into Norris voting twice and was a second-team All-Star three times.

Although I love the look of 1950’s and 1960’s Parkhurst cards, they really don’t fit into my hockey collection to any great degree.  I wouldn’t mind getting a few more just so I’d have example from different sets, but it would have to be at a similar “You can’t go wrong!” price.

I know much of the people who read this are baseball collectors, but there are some hockey fans out there as well.  Does anybody else own any vintage Parkies, and what years are they from?

Dead Parrot Frankenset: Shoebox Edition, Part 5

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.

Almost all of the following candidates for the Dead Parrot binder were sent to me by renowned blogger and all-around good guy Shane of the Shoebox Legends blog. Shane sent a bunch of cards, and I’m slowly going through these.

Today we’re starting with a challenger for slot #97;  representing 1991-92 Score Canadian and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Todd Krygier!

Currently in slot #97, representing 1994/95 Topps Finest and the Quebec Nordiques, it’s Rene Corbet!

The Krygier card is nothing special, but I’ve never been happy with that Finest Corbet (which, I have to admit, also came from Shoebox Shane).  To be honest, the Finest card sticks out like a sore thumb among all of the 1960’s and 1970’s cardboard, so I’m going with the Score Canadian card.


Next up is card #260 from 1990-91 Bowman Hockey (the design will look familiar to Baseball collectors) and shows Brad Shaw of the Hartford Whalers.

It goes up against… Hey, it’s Todd Krygier again!  This time, the card is from 1990-91 Topps Hockey, which is very well represented in my binder because I bought a factory set for $3 at the beginning of this project.

The Challenger is a nicer card from a less-represented set so I don’t hesitate to declare that


The card also goes into the completed 29th page of this project (cards 253 – 261), so I’ll share a photo of that page. I think it’s a nice-looking page, especially that 1979-80 Topps checklist for the four incoming WHA teams!

Again, I apologize for my poor photography skills, that’s something I need to work on for future posts.

Our third card is challenging for slot #232 and represents 1993-94 O-Pee-Chee Premier and the Quebec Nordiques… It’s Gino Cavallini!  This is the first candidate from this set to come into my possession.

Currently in slot #232, representing 1990-91 Topps and the Hartford Whalers… Kay Whitmore!

Both cards are pretty decent, but Kay Whitmore has to fend off a defender from a new set which shows the team logo better.  Without getting too crazy, I welcome any replacements for 1990-91 Topps cards and so…


Here’s a new card going into an empty slot… Representing the Hartford Whalers and 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey (which thankfully does  not have the scratch-off nonsense of it’s Topps equivalent), it’s Mark Howe!

After adding Mark, Page 18 (cards 154 – 162) is just one card away from completion

Currently my Dead Parrot project goes up to card #396, but if/when the day comes that I expand that, I will be ready for #469 to be filled by this 1991-92 Pro Set card of Greg Paslawski!

Another new card… and I’m admittedly trying to wrap up my “Shoebox Legends” cards so I can move on to the next phase of this project (more on that at the end of the post)…

Representing 1992-93 O-Pee-Chee Premier and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Eric Weinrich!

Another nice-looking Whaler, and the 7th card in Page 7.

Challenging for slot #355, representing 1991-92 Score Canadian and the Hartford Whalers, it’s “Top Prospect” Chris Govedaris!

I was still actively following hockey in the early 1990’s and I didn’t remember Govedaris’ name, so I took a minute to look him up. He was indeed a prospect, having been drafted 11th overall in the 1988 draft… However he played just 33 games over four seasons.

Govedaris goes up against – UH-OH! – a high #’ed card from 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee. Representing the California Golden Seals, it’s Stan Weir!

Sorry, Chris Govedaris, you didn’t stand a chance in this one. 1990’s cards generally have an uphill battle against 1970’s Seals.


One last battle to wrap up the Shoebox Legends cards… Challenging for slot #61 and representing 1992-93 Pro Set and the Hartford Whalers (and kinda sorta the New Jersey Devils, thanks to the “TRADED TO” line at the bottom)… it’s Bobby Holik!

Currently in slot #61, representing 1971-72 Topps and the California Golden Seals… it’s Ernie Hicke!

Like I said in the previous battle, it’s not in the cards (Eh? Eh?) for a 1990’s Whaler to beat a 1970’s Seal.


As much as I’ve appreciated all the cards Shane has sent me to date, I’m excited to move on to the next phase… At a card show this past January I picked up over 70 “challengers” which range from 1972-73 Topps to 1980-81 Topps. There are some fun cards in this batch, so just like when Colin “Bomber” Harris faced himself in the wrestling ring (and I’m confident Shane will get this Monty Python reference), there should be fireworks a-plenty!!!

…and OF COURSE, I manage to find the a version of this sketch where the line is NOT “This is the first time that Colin ‘Bomber’ Harris has met himself so there should be fireworks a-plenty!”. Still, Graham Chapman’s physical humor is damned impressive.

Dead Parrot Frankenset: Shoebox Edition, Part 4

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.

Almost all of the following candidates for the Dead Parrot binder were sent to me by renowned blogger and all-around good guy Shane of the Shoebox Legends blog. Shane sent a bunch of cards, and I’m slowly going through these.

I’m going to start with a challenger for slot #80;  representing 1991-92 Pro Set and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Rob Brown (and an apology for the crooked scan, but I’m still too disorganized to be going back and rescanning these).

Currently in slot #80, representing 1981-82 Topps “West” (more on this in a bit) and the original Colorado Rockies, it’s Paul Gagne!

First off, let me explain the “West” part.  For this one season, Topps tried having different sets within the U.S.;  Cards # 1 – 66 were a national set, but cards # 67 – 132 came as either “East” or “West” cards… In the “East” packs, card #80 showed John Van Boxmeer of the Sabres.

So chosing between these two was difficult.  The Pro Set card is a nice action shot and nicely shows the Whalers logo, but I had actively collected 1981-82 Topps Hockey and the Rockies are one of the core teams of this Dead Parrot project.  On the other hand, this Paul Gagne card could easily move into into my “Photobombing Capitals” collection, leaving the slot open for the Rob Brown card.

I ultimately went with the Gagne, but I’m still not certain that it was the right decision.  You may feel free to plead on behalf of the loser in this case, but for now…


Next up is card #85 from 1992-93 O-Pee-Chee Premier Hockey, which shows Patrick Poulin of the Hartford Whalers.  This card automatically goes in the binder because that pocket is empty…

…and it also happens to be the final card needed to complete the 10th page of my binder!

Here’s that page, which has five Whalers, two North Stars cards, and cards representing the Rockies and Seals.  I’ll also mention that the card on the middle right is actually back-facing-forward, but that’s because I thought the back is better than the front.  That card, #87, is a prime candidate to be displaced.

I need to work on my photography skills, I’m not super happy with the way this one worked out… but you get the idea.

Our third card is challenging for slot #136 and represents 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee and the Hartford Whalers… It’s Mike Fidler!

Currently in slot #136, representing 1979-80 Topps and the Minnesota North Stars… it’s Gilles Meloche!

I love this card of Gilles Meloche and Dennis Maruk chatting on the ice; the two of them had been teammates with the California Golden Seals / Cleveland Barons, and after that team was merged with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978, Maruk got shipped off to Washington.

But here’s the thing about this card:  while it works well in the Dead Parrot project, it really should be one of the main cards in my other hockey project, the “Photobombing Capitals” project.. In this project I’m accumulating as many hockey cards as I can which feature players from another team, but have a “cameo appearance” by a Washington Capital… and this happened a lot in the 1970’s because one of the primary Topps photographers was based in the D.C. area.

So the upshot of this is that this challenger wouldn’t otherwise be up to the job of unseating this card, in this case I’ve been looking for an excuse to move the Meloche to the other project… and so…


I’m going to wrap up with a battle of two challengers from different sources, both going for the same empty #194 slot.

Challenger #1, coming from Shoebox Legends, representing 1992-93 Score Canadian Hockey and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Mark Hunter!  This is the first card from 1992-93 Score that I’ve owned, and I have to admit it’s a pretty nice-looking card.  I also learned that there are two Score sets (Regular and Canadian) for this year with the same checklist but different designs and different photos.  That’s a Bowman level of confusion, if you ask me.

Challenger #2 is a card which could bring the Dead Parrot project into some new territory… coming from a nickel box at a local card show, representing 1991-92 ProSet hockey and… The Pittsburgh Penguins (whut?), it’s… Mario Lemiuex?!?

Oh, but it’s not really about Lemiuex or the Penguins, it’s all about that photobombing North Star (Mark Tinordi?) on the card. This one caught my eye while thumbing through that nickel box, and I couldn’t resist it.

A couple of months later I still can’t resist the Lemieux card and chose it for this slot.


I’ve got a lot of things going on right now, including trying to organize and streamline my collection, so I’m thinking that I’m going to make future Dead Parrot posts shorter so that I can feature them more frequently… And this is probably going to be the same for other ongoing series I have, with the likely exception of “The 1970’s: A-Z”, which I’m trying to keep to five cards/players a week so I can get through it in two years.

Keeping It Three: Photobombing Capitals

My hockey collecting activities have fallen into three main categories lately…  From most to least conventional they are:  Filling in my Washington Capital needs from 1974 to the mid-1990’s;  Collecting “Dead Parrot” cards of NHL and WHA teams which no longer exist; and finally, “Photobombing Capitals”, where I’m collecting cards which have cameo appearances by Washington Capitals players.

In the mid-to-late 1970’s, the photographer Topps used for many of their hockey and basketball cards was based in the Capital Center, home of the Caps and Washington Bullets.  Collecting cards of Photobombing Capitals has turned out to be more fun than I’d expected, whether it’s just a star-spangled shoulder or leg, or if the Capital is more prominently featured than the player whose card it’s supposed to be.

So today I have three recent Photobombing Capitals to share, just because.

The 1975-76 Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets have a lot of photobombs in it, including this OPC card where the Sabres’ Larry Carriere takes up about a third of his own card.  I particularly like the “Traded To Atlanta October 1st” transaction line on the side of the Capital.

If this photobombing Capital is #20 (which is what it looks like to me) then it appears that he’s defenseman Bill Lesuk, who was sold by the Kings to the Caps and played one season in D.C. before jumping to the WHA’s Jets.

In 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee had a Tribute subset for the newly-retired HOFer Guy Lefleur.  Card #1, the card dedicated to Lefleur’s time with the Canadiens, prominently features one of my all-time favorite Capitals, Bengt Gustafson.

The nickelbox I was digging through also had Card #2, showing Lefleur with the Rangers (my Dad’s favorite team), and I’m thinking my Dead Parrot project could stand to include card #3, which features Lefleur with the Quebec Nordiques.

Since most of the Photobombing Capitals cards were taken by the Topps photographer at a Capitals home game, that most elusive of prey is any card which features a Photobombing Capital in his red road uniform… And that’s why I love this nickelbox acquisition of the 1994-95 Leaf Card of Rod Brind’Amour.

The card is technically a Flyers card, but this baby is Capitals all the way.

It looks like the player on the left is wearing #3, which would make him defenseman Sylvain Cote. Since the stars on the sleeve line up nicely with the 3, I’m thinking it’s not a number in the 30’s, but I could be wrong.

Judging from the style of cage on the goalie’s mask, along with the stars on the bottom, I’m thinking this is Don Beaupre. Olaf Kolzig had a similar design on the jawline, but his cage was different.

Custom Sunday: 2020 NL West Uniforms And A Hockey Request

After last week’s debut of my “Hot Stove” customs, I’m sure many of you said “Managers at a press conference… Ho-hum”

Well, today I’m going to stretch the boundaries of what these customs can be, both in subject matter and…



…Well, simulated dimensions, anyway.

Over the past couple of days we’ve had two teams from the National League West unveil new uniforms for 2020. Since the whole idea of the Hot Stove customs is to give us a sneak peak of what the next season will look like, and since new unis are part of that, I like to work these unveilings into the customs.

…And since these photos often come with a non-baseball background, I generally remove the background… and since I’m removing the background, I may as well put in a ballpark image with some horizontal motion blur, and make these customs into simulated 3-D cards… or 3-D “parallels”, since it’s the same mid-60’s Bazooka design made into faux 3-D, something which never happened in real life.

Are you with me so far?

So on Friday the Diamondbacks did a surprise – well, surprise to me, at the very least – unveiling of their refreshed uniforms. Apparently with MLB’s switch from Majestic to Nike uniforms in 2020, the D-Backs decided it would be a good time to get rid of the gimmick-y sublimated snakeskin patterns and goofy red shoulder thingies, and just go with a straightforward version of their existing design.

I don’t love the revised unis, but it’s still a big improvement.

They also ditched the dark grey on the road uniforms and went with a more conventional road grey.

This was very welcome news to me, because the D-Backs unis have been the worst in the Majors over the past few years.  There were also a number of alternates unveiled, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into these beyond the primaries.

Last night the San Diego Padres had a uniform unveiling which, they let it be known up front, is all about going back to brown.  In fact, when new manager Jayce Tingler was introduced, they gave us a sneak peek of the new cap only with the 2019 brown alts (and forgive me for “reprinting” a custom I shared last week).

The San Diego Padres uniforms of late haven’t been bad, but they’ve been completely uninteresting to look at. I know they were going for “understated classics”, but I’m sorry, they needed something. I liked when they added yellow trim during the All-Star season, but that went away as quickly as the lifespan of that Fox TV series “Pitch” about the first woman in the Majors (and in that show the Padres wore those nice unis).

So along with going back to brown, which the team wore from their start in 1969 through 1990, they also return to pinstripes, which they wore from 1985 through 2001.

I’m not sure about the overall design… it’s not bad, but I think I’ll have to see it out on the field.

Here’s another custom featuring the new home uniform.

There weren’t a lot of good shot featuring the road unis, otherwise I would’ve included those.  The primary road unis have a brown jersey with SAN DIEGO lettering, plus tan (or “sand” as the team puts it) pants.  Yup, no road greys, they’re road tans.  MLB also asked the team to have a lighter road uni for when the home team wants to wear a dark alternate, so the team has a pinstriped tan-colored uni set for use as a road alternate.

All in all, the look is a huge improvement… Yeah, while I’ll say it’s not a home run, it’s certainly at least a stand-up double.

It also got me thinking… These two teams have been my go-to for “worst uniforms in MLB” for the past couple of years, but now that both have been modified, I’m not sure what the worst is now.  There aren’t any truly bad uniforms, so “worst” is a very relative term.  Off the top of my head, the worst might now be the fairly uninteresting uniforms worn by the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians… or maybe the Miami Marlins, whose uniforms are OK, but have some poorly-designed hats and black alternates that look blank from any kind of distance.

Which uniforms would you say are now the worst in the Majors?

To wrap up, I’m going to share a custom I was commissioned to make… “commissioned” in the sense that Shane from Shoebox Legends asked me nicely and I wanted to make it before I forgot.

I’m happy with the way this custom design has worked out, but I’m not sure I love the blue type for the Bruins wordmark, but I can revisit that when I make another Bruins custom – and I’m going to make at least one more.  Here’s a hint:  The player involved was one of the few players I remember from before I walked out on the NHL back in 2004.

Eight #8’s For My 8th

Today is the 8th Anniversary of The Shlabotnik Report and I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL OF YOU for reading and commenting and making this blog fun to keep up on… Because if it weren’t fun, I wouldn’t have made it to the first anniversary.

I don’t generally do anniversary posts, partly because I almost never remember in time to write something, and also because I don’t want to do a post that amounts to nothing more than “Yay, me!”

So pretty early on (i.e. this past Tuesday) I hit on this idea, and interestingly enough when I was done picking out cards I realized I had a nice little cross-section of my collecting interests.

And so, we start with…

1968 Topps “Game” Insert #8 – Willie Mays
I completed the Game set a couple of years ago, and it was one of the most satisfying set builds I’ve done in recent years. Fun and affordable, I recommend it to anyone who likes these cards, or who just wants to chase a vintage set without fear of missing a car payment.

1964 Topps “Giants” #8 – Roy McMillan
This card single-handedly let me know I was on the right track with the idea for this post; one of my favorite oddball sets, and card #8 is from my Mets. It’s kismet, I tell ya!

Here’s the back, which apparently shows Nellie Fox rather than Roy McMillan.

1966 Topps Batman “Black Bat” #8 – Into The Batmobile
A couple of years ago I chased down the “Batman vs. The Joker” subset from the Black Bat set, and lately I’ve been feeling the urge to get back to it.  Hmmm, maybe I should check out the “Batman vs. The Penguin” cards…

1979 Kellogg’s #8 – Pat Zachry
It’s funny to look back at it now, but when I was a kid in the 1970’s, I dismissed Kellogg’s cards as mere tchotchkes and Hostess cards as Topps wannabes.  Now I am making up for those missed opportunities.

2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs #8 – Allosaurus
This is such a great-looking card that I wanted to include it when I searched my database for cards numbered 8.

I only have a few cards from this set, but if it had come out when I was a kid, I probably would be writing a card-by-card blog about it today.

1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball #8 – Koji Yamamoto
This was my first set featuring Japanese baseball players. This set contributed to my lifelong interest in baseball across the Pacific, and these cards indirectly lead me to read books like “You Gotta Have Wa” by Robert Whiting.

Koji Yamamoto is a Japanese HOFer, helped the Hiroshima Carp win 3 championships, hit 40 homers in five straight seasons, is among the career HR leaders in NPB, and I came to find out that he wore #8 for the Carp.

1980 Topps “Super” (5×7) #8 – Lee Mazzilli
This set was my first exposure to oversized cards, my favorite type of oddball. This Lee Mazzilli card has been featured in this blog a number of times.

1999 Fleer Tradition #8 – Cal Ripken
It seems appropriate to wrap things up with card #8 for Number 8 himself, Cal Ripken, especially when it’s a nice card like this. I miss Fleer, and if this card and this design came out tomorrow as a sample from 2020 Stadium Club, don’t tell me you wouldn’t all be gushing over it.


These cards were “runners-up” in this post, but I wanted to feature them anyway.

I have a number of hobby regrets, but one purchase that always falls into my “Boy, am I glad I got that!” category is the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA set. This is one of my favorite hockey sets – I really need to write a post or three about it – but card #8 turned out to be one of the less-interesting cards. Oh, well.

1974 Topps #8 – George Theodore
This was the first set I collected, and George “The Stork” Theodore was one of those players that 9-year-old me latched on to… little did I know that his Major League career was nearly over.

FWIW, in taking this card out to scan I realized it badly needs upgrading.

1976 Topps #8 – Tito Fuentes
Tito always seemed to have appealing cards when I was a kid. The headband didn’t hurt. I’m thinking I might have to chase after the two Tito cards I don’t already have…

…And so, in a post which is supposed to be about the number eight, I overreached and ended up with eleven. That’s pretty much par for the course.

OH!  At the last minute I remembered that I wanted to include a Sesame Street “Eight” video. I was shooting for “Eight! Eight! Eight! Eight! Let’s sing a song of eight!”, but couldn’t find it.

However, Paul Benedict’s “Mad Painter” is not at all a bad substitute. FYI, these shorts were made before Benedict gained some fame as Mr. Bentley on “The Jeffersons”.

Dead Parrot Frankenset: Shoebox Edition, Part 3

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.

All of the following candidates for the Dead Parrot binder were sent to me by renowned blogger and all-around good guy Shane of the Shoebox Legends blog. Shane sent a bunch of cards, and I’m slowly going through these.

We’ll start off with a card to fill the empty pocket #4; representing the Hartford Whalers and 1991-92 Bowman Hockey, it’s Terry Yake!

One would think that filling up the first sheet in this FrankenSet project would be easy, but in older sets the first few cards often highlighted league leaders, playoff games or the reigning Stanley Cup champions (and needless to say, teams like the Canadiens and Bruins aren’t “Dead Parrots’).  Slots #2 and 9 remain empty in the sheet at the moment, but I’ve got a significant backlog of candidates so I may already have these cards in my “inbox”.

The first competition features a challenger for slot #73… Representing the Atlanta Thrashers and 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Hockey, it’s Bryan Little!

I didn’t know anything about Bryan Little, so I looked him up and found that he’s a rarity in this project because he’s an active player. He moved with the Thrashers to Winnipeg and is still with the Jets.

Currently in slot #73, representing the Kansas City Scouts *and* the Atlanta Flames (he’s wearing a Flames jersey after being taken from Atlanta in the expansion draft), as well as 1974-75 Topps Hockey, it’s Butch Deadmarsh!

I’ve got to say, this is a tough one for me. Yes, the Deadmarsh is vintage and represents two Dead Parrot teams… but it’s not the most exciting card and the only team logo is the little Scouts logo. Meanwhile, I have just a couple of Thrashers represented, so I think I have to go with Little.


Here’s another card filling an empty pocket, this time it’s #66 and we’ve got Jacques Cloutier representing the Quebec Nordiques and 1992-93 Topps Hockey

I don’t have a lot of good on-ice goalie shots in this binder, and there’s absolutely no question about which team Cloutier is representing here, so this card is a welcome addition that should have some staying power.

We’re going to wrap up with a very unusual three-way battle. I’ve got two challengers for slot #74 and the challengers are the same player, the same team, the same YEAR, but two different sets. At first I thought that maybe both sets were similarly sized and both numbered by team (Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, etc.) but only the first challenger comes from a set which is numbered by team… meaning that this is pretty much just freaky-deaky coincidence.

The first challenger for slot #74, representing the Hartford Whalers and 1995-96 Skybox Emotion Hockey… it’s Andrew Cassels!

This is a nice card of Cassels, but not a great card for showing which team he’s on. I could use the back of the card, which has two more photos of Cassels, but I like the front much better.

The second challenger for slot #74, representing the Whalers and 1995-96 Topps Finest Hockey… it’s Andrew Cassels again!

Currently in slot #74, representing – you guessed it – the Hartford Whalers and 1985-86 Topps Hockey… it’s Mark Fusco!

Mark Fusco’s NHL career was already over by the time this card came out. He represented the USA in the 1984 Olympics, and played his college hockey at Harvard… I’m always a bit impressed by an athlete who went to an Ivy League school.

If you were to collect Fusco, there’s this card, the O-Pee-Chee equivalent and a team-issued Wendy’s/Junior Whalers card… and that is it.

1985-86 Topps is not the greatest hockey set around, but it’s also one that I like more than I should because it was the last honest attempt I made at collecting a hockey set through packs.

The challengers are decent cards, but not quite good enough to knock out the reigning champion, and so…


This is normally where I’d run down how far I am in this project and how many cards of each team is represented… but I added some cards in between Dead Parrot posts (mainly from a wax box of ProSet) and I got pretty well disorganized.  The end result is that I’ve lost track of where I stand and I’m not going to bother figuring it out again until I have more hobby time than I do now.  Using my best guesstimating skills, this project is somewhere in the range of 70-75% complete… but you can ask any Project Manager I’ve worked with on how good my guesstimates are, and… well… Hey, look at the time!  I’ve got somewhere very important I need to be!

There’s no guesses about how much I appreciate these cards… Thank you, once again, to Shane from Shoebox Legends!

A Few Customs, All Over The Place

On this particular Sunday morning I have to start with one particular Post(ess)Season custom of one particular player…

As they used to say in Marvel Comics, ‘Nuff Said.

Here’s a little bit of equal time for the upcoming World Series.

I collect Ryan Zimmerman and, to a lesser extent, Sean Doolittle… but sorry guys, I’m pulling for Houston.

The Steelers have a bye week, but I’ll push forward with a Football custom.

I confess… With everything going on this week, I paid very little attention to hockey. However, I did see that Billie Jean King was at a Blackhawks game and scored a goal from mid-ice during a between-periods promotion. The crowd, as they say, went wild…

…and I felt the need to make a custom.

I’m still catching up on my “Scoops” customs, and there damn well better be at least one Mets-related award once the World Series is over.