I say “almost never” rather than “never” because there are about three examples from the 80s that I can’t be bothered to validate at the moment – one from ’83-84 and two from ’88-89. Even if OPC did these three, it was exceedingly rare. (There may be a handful in ’68-69, too. I’ll look.)
That’s not to say that they never tried anything, though. This is Bill Sutherland’s 1968-69 OPC card. Bill was one of those guys rescued from a minor league existence by the 1967 league expansion. He spent ’67-68 with the Flyers (even potted 20 goals for them, which wasn’t too shabby) and then came to the Leafs in the 1968 intraleague draft. This is a second-series card, probably released at about the same time he was traded back to Philly with a couple prospects for Brit Selby and Forbes Kennedy.
In this card, Bill is resplendent in Maple Leaf blue and is in the standard hockey pose, stick on the ice, ready to receive a pass.
Looking closer, though. Something’s odd. The uniform is actually wrong. That crest was changed for the 1967 playoffs, so that picture has to be at least two years old, which is impossible given that Sutherland was a minor leaguer in the Habs system at the time. He’s also wearing number ten, which in the 1950s and ’60s had a rather well-known occupant – Leaf captain George Armstrong. There’s the remnants of a captain’s ‘C’ near the left shoulder.
Could he have borrowed an old George Armstrong sweater for the photo shoot, perhaps?
Turns out he borrowed a lot more than that.
OPC, lacking a proper Leaf shot of Bill Sutherland, took the head off the shot they had and mounted it on George Armstrong’s body from his 1964-65 card. This is also why Sutherland’s neck appears to be a slightly different skin tone than his head and the position of his head seems ever so slightly offset from the neck. It’s not his neck. It’s George’s.
Why airbrush when a photo and a razor blade will do the trick, right?
(Note – for the exceedingly detail-oriented, Bill Sutherland was a left-hand shot. Armstrong was a righty. This body shoots from the wrong side.)
There are a bunch of these in ’68-69 and again in ’71-72. Some are real beauts. I’ll get them scanned.