Not the man I thought he was

Allan Bester (I think) mucks about with his crease.

I’ve had this card for 27 years, almost 28.  I pulled it myself (and probably another dozen exactly like it) from a wax pack and regarded it while eating the plastic-like, shatter-prone, vaguely dangerous powdered gum-like substance that inexplicably came with it.  As part of one of my favourite sets of the decade, I’ve looked at it innumerable times.  I’ve posted about it at least five times over the years in different places, including here.

Other than the fact that his name is spelled incorrectly (Allan has TWO ls), I’ve never noticed anything untoward about it.

Fans of Allan Bester know (well, maybe they don’t, but I always remembered this sort of thing) that he spent the bulk of his career in Toronto wearing number 30.  He wore number 31 for a short time as a youngster, as evidenced by his ’84-85 team postcard below.  This card above-left shows him wearing number 1.

Allan definitely not wearing #30

I never thought anything about this.  I always assumed number 1 was just another thing he’d worn briefly and then moved on.  However, in the Rick St. Croix post from Monday, all my illusions were shattered.  Kazi – master of the in-person autograph – wrote:

and OPC abused him [St. Croix] again in the 84/85 set–card # 297 Allan Bester’s RC has Betser in the round head set photo and St. Croix in the main photo—as related to me by Bester himself

Wait, what?

Off to the binder I went and for the first time in 27 years, I looked at the St. Croix and Bester cards together:

Oh dear.  While it’s not blindingly obvious, it is certainly clear that number 1 had an incumbent in ’83-84 (though that didn’t seem to stop Bruce Dowie from wearing it, oddly enough – perhaps it was while Rick spent a stretch in the AHL).  Why had I never noticed this?  The only thing I can think of is that this set was in pages almost from the beginning and Bester and St. Croix end up on separate ones.  You never see them in the same glance.

Having the wrong player pictured on a card isn’t that unusual.  There are some famous examples of this – Aurelio Rodriguez’s 1969 Topps baseball card is actually a picture of the team batboy.  In the late 1960s, neither Topps nor OPC could figure out who Don Awrey was (this one is amusing enough to merit its own post) and Mario Tremblay’s RC actually features a different prospect named Gord McTavish.  There are lots more.

One of the worst examples I can remember came from 1986-87, where the images for cards 247 (Joel Otto) and 249 (Moe Lemay) were accidentally switched without anyone noticing.  Making it more obvious is that they didn’t even play for the same team, though an enterprising staffer did update the misplaced Otto pic with “Now with Canucks,” even though Lemay had only ever played for the Canucks to that point.  The Otto card just had the uncorrected Canuck shot on it.

This is what we call “quality control.”

One goof that was caught (mostly) in time resulted in the Frank Paice trainer card of 1962.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time a trainer ever got his own hockey card.  Even Pro Set didn’t make trainers, and they even made a card of the puck.

Although a trainer card was a little odd, it wasn’t until I saw an image of the proof version of this card that I saw where it came from.  Instead of Paice, the proof had the above image but the name of backup goaltender Marcel Paille.  Someone had handwritten “actually Frank Paice” on the proof.  Presumably they lacked a picture of Paille, so they corrected the name and bio to Paice and Marcel Paille had to wait a season for his own RC:

Of course, the Paille was a second-series short-printed RC, so its value is about 20 times what it should be and it’s one of the toughest RCs of the 1960s.  Consolation prize?

I will get over the fact that Allan Bester’s RC doesn’t actually have a photo of Allan Bester on it.  I note, though, that in the last usage of this card for the “Size Matters” post, I talked a lot about how much shooting space Bester left when back in his net.  St. Croix was three inches taller than Bester, so Bester left even more room than is apparent here.

This entry was posted in 1964-65 Topps Hockey, Vintage Hockey and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Not the man I thought he was

  1. kidkawartha says:

    Amazing. Also, Paille looks like a made man.

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