Floating Two Ideas For Hockey Frankenset Projects

So here’s the deal… I picked up this 1990/91 Topps Hockey Factory set for three bucks last year…

…and ever since I’ve been toying with the idea of making it the basis for a hockey Frankenset.

(I was also thinking of creating a standard image to use with any Frankenset posts when inspiration struck in the form of 1960 Leaf)

In addition to the 1990/91 Topps Hockey set, I’ve also got a complete set of 1982/83 O-Pee-Chee hockey which I bought back in 1983 because Topps did not make a hockey set that year. I would also like to work more of that set back into my “active collection” rather than having it sit neglected in a box.

Then there are the other cards in my collection waiting for me to fish or cut bait, plus every now and then I end up with hockey cards through multi-sport repacks and the like.

Everythng points towards me doing a Frankenset… But the thing is, I wanted any Frankenset to have some sort of theme. Just doing a straight-out hockey Frankenset didn’t quite grab me.

Last week I had an idea of how I could take one of the ways I accumulate hockey cards and adapt it into a Frankenset… and that was quickly followed by “If I do that, I could also do this…”

I don’t know if I want to do one or the other or both, but I know I want to do something… So I’m going to float these ideas and welcome your input.

I was an enthusiastic Washington Capitals fan from the late 1970’s until the mid 1990’s… and was a half-hearted fan from then until the NHL locked out an entire season and became dead to me. DEAD TO ME!!!!

One of the fun parts of collecting the Capitals came from how Topps frequently used a photographer based in the Capital Center, with the end result being that Caps got on a lot of cards where they aren’t the featured player.  The Wayne Cashman card above is an example – that’s NHL iron man Doug Jarvis behind him.  Here’s another example featuring Steve Shutt and Photobombin’ Capital Rick Green:

I did a couple of posts about my Photobombin’ Capitals (see here and here), so I’m thinking maybe I should make it semi-official and create a Photobombin’ Capitals FrankenSet.

I really like this idea, but I also wonder how far I could get in filling out this Frankenset. The Caps didn’t exist until 1974 and I don’t think they really started “photobombing” until the 1975-76 set. Topps and O-Pee-Chee also started branching out further with their photographers in the 1980’s, so we’re talking about a limited number of cards.

Another major issue with this Frankenset is that the 1990 set has no pictures taken in Washington, not even the cards for the Caps.  Most of the pictures seem to have been taken in New Jersey, Boston, New York (MSG or Nassau Coliseum), Philadelphia and Chicago.

On the other hand, it’s not like it’s unheard of to find Photobombing Capitals cards from the 1990’s…

So I’m not sure whether I should do this as a Frankenset or just continue doing it as I’ve been doing it – as a dedicated section of a hockey binder.

…But thinking about ways that I collect hockey cards lead me to the second idea…

SECOND IDEA: THE “DEAD PARROT” SET (This Team Is No More! It has ceased to be!)
The name I gave this set comes from Monty Python’s famous “Dead Parrot Sketch” where John Cleese goes on a long rant describing, in a wide variety of ways, how a parrot he’d just bought turned out to be quite dead.

I already chase after cards featuring the three short-lived NHL teams from when I was a kid: The Cleveland Barons, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Scouts.

Cards from these three teams wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for a Frankenset, so I would expand the list of teams to include all of the gone-to-meet-its-maker NHL teams from the 1967 expansion to the mid-90’s: the Atlanta Flames, California Golden Seals, Hartford Whalers — If you listen closely, you can hear a cheer coming from Shoebox Legends — Minnesota North Stars, Quebec Nordiques and the original Winnipeg Jets.

One major advantage of this idea over the Photobomb idea is that this set could include cards from before the mid-1970’s, and could also include team cards, league leaders, postseason cards and the like.

I could even include cards like this one from the 1994 Cardz “Muppets Take The Ice” set.

I gave some thought towards including the many pushing-up-the-daisies WHA teams – again, a semi-collection of mine – but I think I’d like to keep the WHA cards separate… at least initially.


I’m thinking of excluding the three sets I collected as a kid:  1977/78, 1978/79 and 1979/80 because I’m working towards completing those (except for the way-out-of-my range Gretzky rookie from ’79/’80).  I know I could get a second copy for the FrankenSet, but I’m not sure what I want to do with those.

As far as the size of the FrankenSets(s)… I would consider going up to 396, but 198 or 264 might be more realistic when you take the size of many hockey sets into account. 198 has an advantage over 264 in that it would fit into 9-pocket sheets without empty pockets… of course, I could also use a non-standard number like 270, 288 or 297.

As I said, I’m open to suggestions on any of this.  I could do either of these, I could do both. I would also be open to other ideas for a theme.

I’d also like to hear from anyone who’s done a Frankenset based on card number… I’ve got a number of franksets going which are organized by player & team, but I’ve never done a “proper Frankenset” based on card number.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Potential Pitfalls? Encouragement? Let me know in the comments!

The Brady Bunch All-Stars

A while ago I had the idea of featuring cards which correspond to each character’s name on The Brady Bunch.  Don’t ask about where this idea came from… Sometimes these things just fall together.

To be honest it was quite a while between inspiration and execution, because some of these were much harder than I’d expected… especially – and not surprisingly – for the “very lovely girls”.  Some of these are quite a stretch to fit into the theme, but that adds to the fun (I hope).

As an extra-groovy feature, I’ve added a few athletes who played themselves on The Brady Bunch.

And so, here’s the story…


1975 Topps Mike Schmidt
1975 Topps Mike Schmidt

Without really thinking, I went looking for images of 1975 Topps sheets to figure out which card the blue at the top of my card came from.  I say “Without really thinking” because the way 1975 cards show up on the sheet, a card with a green top should have a card with a green bottom above it on the sheet.  I came to find out that Schmidt is at the top of the sheet, so aren’t any cards above Schmidt.  I found another card online that has similar blue at the top, so I guess it’s a “printing thing”.

…And I found that looking at images of uncut sheets of 1975 Topps is kinda mesmerizing…  So many colors…


2000 Pacific Greg Maddux (Portrait)
2000 Pacific Greg Maddux (portrait)

I’ll bet many of you don’t realize that Pacific was doing variations 16 years ago.  In the 1999 and 2000 Pacific sets, a number of the bigger names and hyped rookies came as either a portrait or an action shot, and there wasn’t anything to distinguish the two other than the photo.  I remember being very perturbed when I found this out…

…and then mom gave me a Snickers bar and I felt better.

1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Pete Peeters
1982-83 OPC Pete Peeters

The 1982-83 hockey season was the first season in nearly 20 years that Topps had not issued a hockey set.  I was still an active hockey collector at the time, so I bought a hand-collated set of that year’s O-Pee-Chee.  It’s not a classic set, but for us Americans any O-Pee-Chee set that isn’t based on Topps becomes a classic oddball set.

1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA Bobby Hull
1974-75 OPC WHA Bobby Hull

Also in the early 1980’s I made one of my favorite hockey purchases of all time.  At a show I saw this cool-looking oddball hockey set featuring players from the recently-deceased WHA.  The complete 66 card set was just $10.  I jumped on that set and never looked back.

Ever since I started this blog 4+ years ago, I’ve been thinking that I need to feature cards from this fun oddball hockey set.  I really need to sit down and scan a bunch of these.

1981-82 O-Pee-Chee Carol Vadnais
1981-82 OPC Carol Vadnais

It’s the story of a lovely… um…  Vadnais…

I didn’t mean to have three straight O-Pee-Chee hockey cards, but that’s just the way it happened.

And matching Carol Brady with Carol Vadnais?  Trust me, it gets worse from here.

1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter #37
1976 Topps Welcome Back Kotter #37
I had trouble with finding an athlete named Marcia who appeared on a card, so I went with a 1976 Topps “Welcome Back, Kotter” card which features actress Marcia Strassman (who played Julie Kotter) holding a basketball.  Her name is Marcia, and she’s pretending to be athletic, so that’s close enough for government work.

1975 Topps Football Jan Stenerud
1975 Topps Football Jan Stenerud

Jan Stenerud was born in Norway and was the first Football Hall Of Famer to have been solely a kicker (as opposed to guys like George Blanda who was a kicker and a quarterback).  The Chiefs have retired his #3.

1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA Cindy Brown

1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA Cindy Brown

1999 Fleer Ultra WNBA #87 – Cindy Brown – Courtesy of COMC.com

I had to go searching far and wide to find a “Cindy” for inclusion in these all-stars. There just aren’t that many athletes named Cindy.

This Cindy is quite the impressive athlete. As a senior at Long Beach State, she set NCAA records for most points in a season (974, since broken) and in a game (60, still a record). She also played for the Olympic Gold Medal-winning basketball team in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Speaking of Olympians…

2014 Topps U.S. Olympic/Paralympic Alice McKennis

2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls Alice McKennis

2014 Topps U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team and Hopefuls #61 – Alice McKennis – Courtesy of COMC.com

What I said about “Cindy” also applies to “Alice”.

In a set of “Olympians And Hopefuls”, Alpine Skier Alice McKennis fell into the category of “Hopeful” because a severe leg injury caused her to miss the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  She was the 2015 World Champion in Super-G (Super Giant Slalom).

While researching her, I was thrown a bit because the first images I found of Alice McKennis didn’t look that much like the image on the card.  As it turns out the dramatic lighting used for the card does her no favors.

Sam, the Butcher
1987 Buffalo Bisons team set BUTCHer
1987 Buffalo Bisons BUTCHer

Donald “BUTCHer” Palmer was a batboy for the AAA Buffalo Bisons and seems to have been a fan favorite.  In researching him I saw references to his “trademark antics”, which implies that his appeal went well beyond “Heh heh, lookit the huge batboy”.

Cousin Oliver
1994 Pacific Crown Collection Joe Oliver
1994 Pacific Crown Collection Joe Oliver

1994 Crown Collection is an odd set.  It’s mostly full-bleed, has foil and a faux marble background on the bottom, but that widely-kerned font just makes it look really amateurish.  I can only guess that it looked better in pre-production.

Special Guest Stars and the episodes in which they appeared:

Joe Namath
1970 Topps Football Joe Namath
1970 Topps Joe Namath
“Mail Order Hero” – In which Bobby lies about knowing Joe Namath.  Hilarity ensues.

Deacon Jones
1974 Topps Football Deacon Jones
1974 Topps Football Deacon Jones
“The Drummer Boy” – Peter is teased by his football teammates for being involved in glee club and being late for a special football clinic with Deacon Jones.  Hilarity ensues.

Don Drysdale
1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Don Drysdale
1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Don Drysdale
“The Dropout” – Mike invites Don Drysdale, one of his clients, to the house. Drysdale compliments Greg’s pitching, Greg gets a swelled head and hilarity ensues.

(I was surprised to find that this is the only Don Drysdale card I own.)

Wes Parker
1972 Topps Wes Parker
1972 Topps Wes Parker
“The Undergraduate” – Greg develops a crush on his math teacher, but the teacher is already engaged… to the Dodgers’ Wes Parker.  Hilarity ensues.

‘Til the one day when Shlabotnik had a brainstorm
And he knew that it was much more than a hunch
That this group must somehow form a blog post
That’s the way they all became The Brady Bunch… All-Stars…

Happy Birthday, Dennis Maruk!

Dennis Maruk was the first hockey player to earn the title of “my favorite player”, and to this day he’s one of my all-time favorites.  Back in the late 70’s, I was one of the few Washington Capitals fans on Long Island (and pretty much anywhere).  While I liked guys like Yvon Labre and Robert Picard, there was something about Maruk…  The offensive output, the awesome Fu Manchu, the two All-Star Games… and though I don’t think I consciously realized it at the time, the fact that he’s relatively small for a hockey player (5’8”) didn’t hurt.

Dennis started out his career with the California Golden Seals, moved with the team to Cleveland and was part of the “absorption” of the Cleveland Barons into Minnesota North Stars.  After two games with Minnesota, he was traded to the Caps for their first round draft pick.  I’ll bet the guy who airbrushed this card was pissed to find that his work was largely for nothing.

Maruk had 50 goals and 47 assists in 1980/81, but it was in 1981/82 that he made his mark on the Capitals record books.  That year he had 60 goals and 76 assists for a total of 136 points, which still stands as a team record for assists & points.  The 60 goals was a team record until Alex Ovechkin scored 65 in 2007/08.  Maruk’s 60 goals was the third best in the league that season, behind Wayne Gretzky (with 92!!!) and Mike Bossy (64).

In July, 1983 he was traded back to the North Stars for a 2nd round draft choice, and his Capitals career was over.  He remained a steady player with the North Stars, but never achieved the kind of numbers he had in Washington.

With the exception of some “Team Leaders”cards and a cameo on someone else’s card, this is pretty much the extent of my Dennis Maruk collection; I’m going to make it an early 2013 goal to add some more Maruk to my life.