The hero before the hero

The Winning Goal - 1951-52 Parkhurst63 years ago today (three score and three?), Bill Barilko scored the Cup-winning goal in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final.  It was an OT goal against Habs goalie Gerry McNeil and was captured on this card.  Barilko, of course, died that summer in a plane crash, so this card was the only instance of Bill on cardboard until the early 1990s when everyone and everything was put on hockey cards (even the puck got its own card in 1990-91 Pro Set).

The 1951 Final was notable because all five games went into OT.  Barilko was also somewhat lucky because he wound up on his belly after this play and had that puck gone wide, the Richard line was on the ice and he was completely out of position.

Somewhat forgotten in the Barilko legend is that the only reason Game 5 was even in overtime was the last minute heroics of Tod Sloan, who scored with the goalie pulled at 19:28 of the third period to tie things at two apiece.

So here’s to the 63rd anniversary of Tod Sloan’s heroics, completely forgotten and never the subject of a Tragically Hip song.  :)

Posted in Parkhurst, Vintage Hockey | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Cleaning up the ’70-71 hockey design

Bobby Orr - 1970-71 OPCI’ve never found the 1970-71 Topps/OPC design to be particularly effective.  It might even be the ugliest design they ever came up with.  I think it’s certainly top five, anyway.

This is unfortunate, since as I showed a long time back, the iconic 1971 baseball set is basically a reworked 1970-71 hockey.

I was never really happy with my final result for that experiment, so I’m trying again with what I hope will be better results.

The Orr card from that year seems to be one of the better ones, so I’ll start with it again.

The first step for converting this set is to flip it vertically and reorient the text.  That, fortuately is easy and is well-within the scope of my abilites.

Orr custom 70-71 step one

I think this is a little better already.

The next step is to get the colouring correct.  Take all the white stuff and make it black, then take all the black stuff and make it white.  The tricky bit comes with the team name, which is orange/red, and turns into a light blue if one simply inverts all the colours, as I hoped would work.  Trying to keep this as orange-red led to a really painstaking pixel-by-pixel colouring job.  There must be a better way, but I can’t find it.  The problem is that the colours aren’t all that true, so I can’t select by colour.

Anyway, I wound up with this:

Orr 70-71 custom part 2

All in all, it’s not bad and it’s better than my first go a couple years back, but I find the orange background kind of garish.  It’s harder on the eyes against a black border than against the white.  The thing that works so well with the 1971 ball cards is that they are all up against a photo with a natural background.

Imagine if Topps/OPC instead went with something like this:

Bobby Orr 1970-71 custom final

Now we’re talking.  That would be a serious set to collect.

I’d buy it, anyway.

Posted in Card Design, OPC, Vintage Hockey | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Happy Birthday Mr. Hockey!

Gordie Howe - 1952-53 ParkhurstGordie Howe turns 86 today, which means that he has now been retired (34 years) for as long as his NHL/WHA career actually took to play (1946-80).

The most famous card of Gordie is probably his RC.  One that doesn’t get the recognition is this one, which is his second card (1952-53).  It uses a slightly more visible version of the same picture but has the added benefit of a wordy back and more complete stats.

I lucked into this one years ago. Somebody’s sniper program must have had a glitch.  It’s in fantastic shape and the final bid can’t have made anyone very happy – anyone other than me, that is.

Gordie Howe - 1952-53 Parkhurst back

You could get a sense of how important a player was by the amount of text Parkhurst crammed into the back. Gordie and the Rocket got the most.

From Gordie’s later career, this is a card that I’ve always been fond of that you don’t see all that often.  It’s just a posed shot like so many WHA cards were, but I like it all the same. Gordie was still in peak form, scoring 100 points per season or thereabouts and being centered by his son.  Unthinkable, really.

Gordie Howe - 1975-76 OPC WHA

Happy birthday, big guy, and continued health and associated good things.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Making quota – 1953 Parkhurst

Hal Laycoe - 1953-54 Parkhurst

Check out those specs! No namby-pamby contact lenses for Hal.

I changed my vintage approach last year and liked it so much that I’ve kept it for this year.  Normally, I’d plug away at a small number of sets that needed upgrading or finishing and not really approach anything else until I was done.  I would then go after the next one in sequence.  If 1969-70 was complete, 1968-69 would follow it.

This was great in terms of getting projects completed, but it got a little dull from a collecting viewpoint, so a year ago I decided that instead I would simply aim for five nice examples of every postwar vintage set that I had yet to finish.  It made for a greater variety of years and players and was a lot more fun because sets I hadn’t touched in 20 years were now in play.  One of those was 1953-54 Parkhurst.

I never was that much into this set.  It was the first of the full-size Parkhurst cards (and, as I’ve come to realize, still owes a lot to Bowman baseball) and had a decent back, but I always was more of a fan of 1954-55.  Part of this, I’ve come to realize, is that most of the examples I had were fairly bashed up and these sets are always more appealing when the cards look good.

1953-54 was one of the only two 1950s sets (1954-55 was the other) to rely on actual game action shots for many of its images.  There are a handful of staged shots, particularly of rookies and bit players, but most regulars had a shot like this one above.  These two sets would be the last to feature game action in earnest until 1973-74.

1953-54 also has the best goalie shots, bar none, of any set made prior to the advent of Upper Deck.  When I get the lot of them, I’ll scan them all in.

I ended up with five cards in one lot, which technically finishes me off 1953 for this year, though if I find any bargains, I’ll nab them.

The card backs are nice and wordy, which was always a Parkhurst strength (at least prior to 1959, when they started mailing them in) and have the prior year’s stats up top:

Hal Laycoe - 1953-54 Parkhurst back

Hal Laycoe played 11 seasons with the Rangers, Habs and Bruins, but is probably best known for being the player who high-sticked Maurice Richard in 1955, setting off the sequence of events that got Richard fined and suspended for the balance of the season and playoffs.  This, of course, led to the Richard Riot of 1955 which some credit as a catalyst for the Quebec nationalist movement.

That’s actually quite a lot to lay on one person.

I won’t show all five cards here, since if I finally have posting material (we moved and everything went on hiatus for ages), I might as well use it.  I will add Pete Conacher, though.

Pete Conacher - 1953-54 Parkhurst

Pete is one of the famous Conacher clan, son of Leaf legend Charlie. He didn’t have quite the size of his father nor the full level of success, though he would score 19 goals in ’53-54, which was a pretty good total.  For anyone who though the early 2000s were a dead-puck era, they had nothing on the early 1950s.  He’d play 229 NHL games, but would play in the AHL until 1966.

This is an example of one of the staged shots.  Parkhurst probably licensed this image from Quaker Oats, Bee Hive Corn Syrup or one of other the companies that arranged the various promotional pictures that were available to kids at that time.  Still, with the boards in the background and some painted-in spectators, it fits in.

I’m liking this set a lot more than I used to.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for bargains.

Pete Conacher - 1953-54 Parkhurst back

Obviously, people were expected to simply know which of the Conachers was his father. It was Charlie, but could also have been Lionel or Roy.

There was an album available for this set as in 1952-53, but not as many must have been ordered.  These cards rarely show album damage, while 1952-53 show it all the time.

Posted in Parkhurst, Vintage Hockey | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

In memory of Tim Horton

Tim Horton - 1965-66 Topps

I’ve actually had bought from Tim Horton’s twice this morning without realizing that today is the 40th anniversary of his death.  Hard to fathom that he’d be 84 years old and one of the richest people in Canada.

Not bad after all the other attempts at businesses that didn’t work out.  The one I found most interesting was a fried chicken restaurant for which Tim himself did most of the deliveries.

My favourite story about the doughnut shops came from Open Ice – the Tim Horton Story.  Tim had some construction experience and did some of his own work on the early shops.  One day, he was digging a foundation when a group of schoolkids came by, led by their teacher.  One looked down and said, “Hey! That’s Tim Horton!”  The teacher replied, “Yes, and if you don’t do your schoolwork, you’ll end up digging ditches just like him.”

Tim Horton - 1965-66 Topps back

Posted in Vintage Hockey | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Landing a whale so white it’s basically clear

I’d like to say this card is hockey’s Andy Pafko, but it really isn’t.  The 1951-52 Elmer Lach is Andy Pafko.  If anything, this card is worse.  It’s also the first card in a set and prone to getting bashed, but to make things nastier, it’s the biggest star of the 1940s and one of the top two of the 1950s.  Nice versions can run upwards of $1200.  I love this set, but this card always stood in the way of my hopes of ever finishing it.

Normally with vintage, there are certain things I avoid: I hate slant cuts, creases, stains (unless it’s easily removable OPC wax) and dings. Centering doesn’t bother me so long as I have a visible border on all sides.

This card is a moderate slant cut, has a stain, a wrinkle, corner touches and is off center.

And it’s absolutely perfect.

1952-53 Parkhurst #1 - Maurice Richard

1952-53 Parkhurst #1 – Maurice Richard

1952-53 Parkurst #1 - Maurice Richard (back)

That’s a lot of text for a really small card. That’s part of the reason I love this set.

PSA is pickier than me, and in this case, I’m couldn’t be happier.  There are still some tough cards left in this set, but this was far and away the worst of them.  Terry Sawchuk awaits.

Posted in Parkhurst, Vintage Hockey | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Set blog – 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys

Andy Bathgate - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys

How can you not love this set?

When I first set this site up, one of the projects I wanted to tackle was a hockey set, much like I was seeing done elsewhere on the net for baseball. I wrote a few entries, interspersed with whatever else I felt like talking about, then promptly forgot about it.

I’ve decided to reopen this project and I’ve pulled the original entries into their own site. That, plus I’ve finally added a new one.

It’s at the Tall Boys – 1964-65 Topps Hockey blog.

I like the template.  It feels like hockey.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments