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!


Top 10 Cards From A Cheap 1990/91 Topps Hockey Factory Set

There was one of those “Any single item $1” tables at the show I went to in July, but it wasn’t until after I’d grabbed a couple of small oddball sets and Topps retail team sets that I saw a set of plastic shelves where anything was $3, and one of the items was this:

Yes, a 396-card 1990/91 Topps Hockey factory set for $3. As a friend of mine likes to say, “You can’t go wrong!”

Just a quick aside… How much of a cardboard nerd am I that I love the way an unsorted box of pre-glossy Topps cards looks?

I can honestly say that I’d never in my life considered getting the entire 1990 Hockey set – before I bought the set I had just 34 of these cards – but buying this set was a no-brainer. I would’ve easily spent $3 acquiring the cards I’d wanted from 1990/91 Topps Hockey, and now I have the entire set…

…Not that I know what I’m going to do with it. I have given some thought towards making this the basis of a 396-card hockey FrankenSet, but we’ll see…

While thumbing through the set for the first time, I kept my favorite cards separate, knowing I’d be doing a “Top 10” post at some point… and here they are in no particular order:

Team cards are well-represented in my Top 10, as this subset has a number of cool action shots.

I just like the “stink eye” that Russ Courtnall seems to be giving someone.

I realize that HOFer Guy Lafleur spent two years with Quebec, but he just looks WEIRD in that uniform.

Even though Lafleur spent a year with the Rangers, that’s less odd to me because I remember watching him on TV with the Blueshirts. Nordiques? Tres bizarre.

I think this card is my favorite from the set, just because of angle of the shot.

There were also a few “honorable mention cards I wanted to include…

“Could I BE any more like Matthew Perry???”

There’s a three-card Wayne Gretzky tribute in this set, and if the photo had been better this card would’ve made it to the Top 10… but there’s no resisting a card of The Great One with the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers!

CuJo Rookie!

My general take on the set is that it’s far from classic. The design is OK but nothing great, and far too many of the photos were taken during warmups or while waiting for a face-off. By getting the factory set, I miss out on the “Team Scoring Leaders” inserts, but I can track down the one or two cards I want easily enough. All in all, it’s junk wax… but it was $3! And you can’t go wrong!

Cherry-Picking The 30-Day Challenge: “A Card Bought In Person And The Story Behind It”

Several weeks ago, Tony over at Off-Hiatus Baseball cards came up with a 30-day baseball card challenge, and a lot of bloggers have been joining in. I’m not going to do all 30, but I’ll definitely cherry-pick some topics… like today’s:

Day #7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

This story goes back to 1991 – I was 25 years old at the time – and involves this autographed hockey card.
1990-91 Topps Derek King Autographed
I was at a card show on Long Island and Derek King, who was a New York Islander at the time, was the show’s autograph guest.  More importantly for someone like me who isn’t much of an autograph collector and doesn’t like the Islanders, he was the FREE autograph guest.

I thought it would be nice to have his signature on something other than an index card, but at that point it had been 5 years or so since I’d actively collected hockey.  I looked around the show and didn’t find any cards I was willing to pay the inflated prices for, but one dealer was selling packs of that year’s Topps hockey cards.  I bought three packs and started to open the packs while chatting with the dealer about how I was hoping to pull a Derek King so I could get it signed.  Much to my delight, I pulled the card above out of the second pack, and even though it was a common, it was still one of the more exciting pulls I’d had out of a hockey pack in a long time.

With card in hand, went and got in line to get Derek King’s autograph… and the experience made me grateful that I hadn’t paid anything for the sig.  Without looking up or saying anything, he took my card, signed it, and slid it back across the table to me.  I thanked him, turned away, rolled my eyes and went back to the show.

I realize autograph guests are not obligated to interact with the collectors, but this always stuck with me because getting the item to be autographed was far more exciting than actually getting it autographed.

Has anybody else had any encounters with Derek King?  I’ve always wondered if he was having a bad day, or if he was generally unpleasant.