Bobby Orr retired November 8, 1978. This was before the OPC print run was complete (cards usually hit the stores somewhere around January, if I recall correctly), so there was time to make a special retirement card for him. He hadn’t played at all in 1977-78 and Topps didn’t bother to include him in their set, which already would have gone to press. OPC thus had free reign to design their own card, which I have posted at left.
Orr is shown playing for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup. It was his only national appearance and he was tournament MVP. It was the last great hurrah of his career.
This is actually a pretty cool card and I’m not here to critique it particularly, but one thing that irks me about Orr’s cards is that there is not a single image of him in a Chicago uniform. In both 1976-77 and 1977-78 he is shown in what is supposed to be a Hawks uniform, but both are airbrush jobs. 1976-77 is painfully obvious while 1977-78 is more subtle.
I can’t fully blame Topps/OPC for this as Orr only played 20 games in 1976-77 and none at all in 1977-78, so there were limited opportunities to photograph him. Nonetheless, photos exist.
I’ve never tried my hand at a custom card, but this was one case I thought it might be interesting – what if Orr had a regular card in 1978-79 instead of the special? What might that look like?
After scanning this post, I felt ready to give it a shot. I never really like the customs I see where the font isn’t quite right, so I decided that as much as was humanly possible, I wanted to cut and paste. I chose a card from that set that offered the greatest potential for this. It belonged to Bob Murray.
Bob offered a number of things of use – he played the correct position for the correct team, and even more valuable, “BOB MURRAY” contains all the letters required to spell “BOBBY ORR.” There was just one more thing I wanted and I found it here:
Pierre Bouchard refused a trade to Washington and for a time retired from the game. He would relent eventually, but the retirement made the card. This gave me the text I needed for anyone who retired before press time.
The next steps were to remove the image of Bob Murray from the card and shuffle the letters in his name. I could then chop out the centre of the image and get a shell I could past on a new photo of Orr. My best candidate was a tad small, but blowing it up gave me a hint of the graininess old OPC cards had, so I can’t say I mind. Once I had the image positioned the way I wanted it, I could add the retirement text.
This is what I wound up with:
I’m actually kind of proud of this. I think it looks legit and reasonable. I’m going to try my hand at a couple more.
If I get really crazy, I’ll try to do the back, but that’s nasty:
Of course, I could go with the special back: