Let’s Face It, I’m Tired

I’m worn out.

Shlabotnik Peanuts sigh

I sit down to write a new post, and the energy just isn’t there.

It’s nothing specific to blogging or collecting, I’ve just got a lot going on and it’s worn me out.

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

1975-76 Topps Jean Ratelle

Soldiering through it hasn’t gotten me far, so I’ve decided to go on autopilot for a little while.

The good news: I’ll be posting on a daily basis for a while.

The bad news: I’ll be saying very little in each post, just posting images – mostly of recent acquisitions.

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

1975 Hostess Tom Seaver

So, to sum up: I need a break. Look at the cards!

1972 Topps MVP Award

1972 Topps MVP Award

Ya Get Whatcha Get: 1970’s Hockey For Late March

It’s been a while since I’ve shown off some 1970’s Hockey Goodness, so here are four more cards I’ve required in the recent-to-semi-recent past…

I’ve never been to Cincinnati and have never seen a WHA game on TV, much less in person, but I’m collecting Cincinnati Stingers.  I really liked the logo and uniforms in my younger days, and something about that stuck with me.  My latest addition to this collection is this 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee Ron Plumb.
1977-78 OPC WHA Ron Plumb
When this card came out, Ron Plumb was fresh off of winning the Dennis A. Murphy Award as the WHA’s top defenseman.  Ron’s career took him on a tour of the WHA, playing for the Philadelphia Blazers, Vancouver Blazers, Stingers, San Diego Mariners and New England Whalers before moving to the NHL with the Whalers.  He was originally property of the Bruins before jumping to the WHA.

A 1970’s Rod Gilbert jersey was recently auctioned off for more than $5,000…  The jersey was very similar to the one on this card, except it didn’t have the Assistant Captan “A” on it.
1975-76 Topps Rod Gilbert
The jersey had blood stains on it, so maybe one could clone Rod Gibert from it… if the blood is Gilbert’s, that is…

Greg Joly was selected 1st overall in the 1974 amateur draft.  Obviously, great things were expected of him, but he may have been hurt by being thrown into the deep end with a very, very bad Capitals team.
1976-77 Topps Greg Joly
He played 2 seasons in Washington before being traded to the Red Wings.  He left the game having been a solid defenseman for 9 NHL seasons.

I bought this last card without hesitation even though I don’t remember Ralph Stewart…. but how could I resist an action shot like this?
1977-78 OPC Ralph Stewart
Besides, it’s a better card of the Ranger’s Ron Greschner than it is of Stewart.

Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

The Kansas City Scouts began as a 1974 NHL expansion team, entering the league along with the Washington Capitals. At the time, the NHL was waging a war with the rival World Hockey Association, and both leagues were eager to get a foothold into new arenas before their rivals did… As a result, the 1970’s involved plenty of expansion and relocation for both leagues.
1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts
The original name of the team was meant to be the Kansas City Mohawks, but the Chicago Black Hawks objected that the name was too similar to theirs. As a result, the name “Scouts” was adopted. The name and the team logo both come from a famous statue called “The Scout”; it depicts a Sioux indian and overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Scouts got off to a slow start in both play and attendance. Season ticket sales were much lower than projected, and the only NHL team with a worse record than the Scouts was the woeful Capitals.
1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Both the team and attendance continued to be bad in the second season. The Scouts had trouble finding financial backing for the team. At one point they were to be bought by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings, their “roommates” in the Kemper Arena, but that deal fell through.
1976-77 Topps Gary Bergman
Problems continued for the Scouts, and the NHL realized that expanding to Kansas City was a mistake. Things got so bad that the league threatened to terminate the franchise if it were not sold. A buyer was found that moved the team to Denver after just two seasons… and no, the Scouts did not become the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll get into that in my next “Forgotten Franchises” post.

Kansas City has not seen major professional hockey since the Scouts left town. Both the Penguins and Islanders were flirting with the idea in recent years (or using KC as a bargaining tool, take your pick), but neither move took place.

I am a “franchise nerd”. For reasons I cannot explain, I am interested in the franchise histories of all sports, even the sports I don’t otherwise care about.

I don’t follow any particular soccer team or player, but I always keep an eye out for news about MLS expansion.

I don’t care for basketball and couldn’t give a damn about the NBA, and yet when I see a basketball card featuring a player for the Memphis Tams, I become intrigued.

When the “AAA” American Hockey League simultaneously shifted five teams to California last  month, it had zero effect on my life… but there I was Googling for more information about it.

I figure there must be others who find this stuff interesting. With that in mind, I’m starting this series on the basic histories of “dearly departed” franchises from most of the major North American sports. If there’s any particular teams you’d like to see covered, or if you have any other suggestions, you know what to do.

So Much For The Steelers… How About Some 1970’s Hockey?

I’ve been a Steelers fan since the 1980’s, and here is my post-game analysis: The 2014 Steelers weren’t very good to start with.  During the regular season they lost to the Buccaneers, Saints and Jets and were absolutely painful to watch at times. Are they a few players away from regaining glory? Do they need to clean house and start over? Hell if I know.

So how about some recent 1970’s hockey acquisitions? Sure, why not.

I grew up in a N.Y. Rangers household but would adopt the Capitals as my own team, and both teams were major factors in why I got this 1975-76 Topps card of Vic Hadfield.
1975-76 Topps Vic Hadfield
Hadfield spent 13 years with the Rangers, many of them during my formative years. After a 1974 trade he finished up his career with the Penguins.

I’ve started to acquire 1970’s hockey cards which have Capital cameos. One of these days I’ll finish the post I’ve been writing on that subject.

I love WHA cards just because the WHA has always seemed exotic to me… an entire league that I never saw evidence of beyond mentions in hockey magazines. This particular card, a 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee of Houston Aeros captain Terry Ruskowski, is just an awesome-for-the-1970’s action shot.
1977 78 OPC WHA Terry Ruskowski
Wikipedia says that Ruskowski is the only person in history to captain 4 different major professional hockey teams: The Aeros, Black Hawks, Kings and Penguins. I always take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, but that’s pretty impressive if true.

Update 1/5/15:  Thanks to Robert at $30 A Week Habit, we have confirmation through the L.A. Kings’ website that Ruskowski was captain for the Aeros, ‘Hawks, Kings & Pens.  Thanks Robert!

As I mentioned before, I spent a lot of my youth with the names of Rangers subliminally entering my subconscious. Gilles Gratton played just one season with the Rangers, but he apparently made some kind of impression on me.
1977 78 Topps Gilles Gratton
…It may have been his mask. Gilles Gratton’s goalie mask featured the face of a roaring tiger and is often mentioned when people talk about scary-looking goalie masks.

I don’t know how many people will understand the comparison, but I’ve always thought of Yvon Labre as the Ed Kranepool of Capitals hockey.
1976 77 OPC Yvon Labre

Growing up in the 1970’s as a fan of the Mets and Caps, the comparison was obvious.  Both players were original members of their teams, both played with that team for a relatively long time (7 years for Labre, 18 for Kranepool) and both wore #7.  The main difference is that Kranepool spent his entire career with the Mets, while Labre played two years with the Penguins before being picked up in the 1974 expansion draft.

This Is An Ex-Franchise!!!! Kansas City Scouts (NHL)

This franchise is no more!  It has ceased to be!  All statements to the effect of this franchise as an ongoing concern are, from now on, inoperative!

Kansas City Scouts, 1974 – 1976

1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts

Where they came from:  The Kansas City Scouts and the Washington Capitals were expansion teams for the 1974-1975 season.

Where they went:  Relocated to Denver and became the original Colorado Rockies

Where they are now:  The franchise currently resides in Newark, New Jersey as the New Jersey Devils.

1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Eulogy:  The team’s name and logo derives from a local landmark, a statue called “The Scout” which is a memorial to local Native American tribes.  After two years of bad attendance and even worse hockey, the Scouts were sold and moved away.  This remains Kansas City’s one and only team in major professional hockey.

Cornerstone Monty Python's Flying Circus Foil Insert F3