Monday, May 26, 2014

The What Was I Thinking Files - 1994-95 Be A Player Autos

Have you ever forked over your hard earned money for cards you don't even really like?  Odds are if you're a player or team collector you're familiar with this experience.  I fell victim to this just recently, when I stumbled across this Ted Drury autograph from 1994-95 Be A Player:

Ugh!  This has to be one of the ugliest autographed cards in my entire collection.  This hodgepodge of unlicensed crap is truly one for the player or team collector only.  Yes, the autograph is on-card, but does that even matter in this case?  There are only two reason I picked this up... you can see the white box about 1/4 of the way down the back says 'Hartford', so this is technically a Whalers card.  The other reason I purchased it?  It set me back $1.29.  What can I say, I guess the team collector in me couldn't pass up an autograph I "needed" for around a buck.

The seller even had four other Whalers from the set, and they're all just as u-g-l-y!  These photos make it difficult sometimes to even tell where the player signed.

Five new Whalers autographs that set me back less than $7 total.  I've gotta look over the checklist at some point, but let's hope when I do that there aren't too many more of these for me to track down!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Whaler Ink - Daryl Reaugh

It's high time I published my first post of 2014 here at Whalers Hockey Cards.  Since I usually dedicate Sunday to featuring autographs on my other blog, I thought a nice large, on-card signature might be appropriate:

This Daryl Reaugh autograph hails from the 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures set, specifically the Social Signatures insert set.  This is actually the second Reaugh auto I've shown here, apparently Panini is a fan of his as he was also featured in the Brass Bonanza autograph set from the inaugural Dominion release.  I like the bold colors, great photo, giant signature and Whalers logo, it makes for a very attractive card.

Unfortunately, I'm not big on the concept.  Apparently the idea is to showcase the Twitter handle of the depicted athlete.  I'm not a Twitter user, and the Whalers seem like an odd choice for this set given that AOL dial-up internet and Windows '95 were all the rage when there was last an NHL team in the city of Hartford.

Even the back of the card talks about how Dallas Stars fans clamored for Daryl to "take to Twitter", which I find hard to believe.  Oh well, they can't all be winners I guess, and at least I only shelled out less than $10 for this one...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Roster - 1987-88 Burger King/Pepsi Team Issue

Well it's certainly been some time since I posted here, but I've still been adding Whalers cards to my collection over the past few months.  With the NHL season in full swing, it's time to begin showing some of the goods.  I'm starting off today with another team issued set that I was lucky enough to acquire as part of a larger lot of cards.  In my last post we saw the 1993-94 team issued set, which were standard sized trading cards sponsored by Coca-Cola.  This post will focus on the 1987-88 set, sponsored jointly by Burger King and Pepsi.

 #1 - John Anderson

The cards in this set are larger than a standard trading card, measuring just over 3 1/2" wide, and a hair over 8" tall.  This was the size used throughout most of the '80s, certainly more familiar to me from my years of membership as a Junior Whaler.  These team issued sets represent some of my absolute favorite Hartford Whalers cards.  The photos are large, full color, and crisp.  I'd say they look better than what Topps and O-Pee-Chee were putting out at the time in terms of quality.  Very basic design along the bottom with the sponsors, Junor Whalers logo, and awesome hockey-playing whale.  You'll notice there is no player name on the front.

The backs are extremely varied and informative, thanks in part to all the available space.  There is just so much good information here that at the time wasn't available elsewhere.  Since that scan's a lot to look at, here's a breakdown of everything these card backs provide:

Along the top you get all the basics...player name, mugshot, jersey number and position, vitals, etc.  Below that though is the good stuff...

The write-up is very well done.  First you get a breakdown of the previous season, but again quite in depth.  Looking at the back of John's O-Pee-Chee card wouldn't have informed you that 12 of his goals the previous season were lead-producing goals, a team best.  After that you get another nice write-up of the player's career to date.  Below that are some interesting personal facts; I like that they asked John what his career objectives were and he mentioned coaching (he would go on to coach the Atlanta Thrashers, wouldn't blame you if you had forgotten).

Next up are full career stats, and I mean full stats.  John's time in the OHL is noted here, and they even take the time to separate NHL totals and just Whalers totals.  I love the footnoted events too along the bottom.

Last but not least the sponsors even provide an inspiring message to young Junior Whalers everywhere.  Aside from the irony of Burger King and Pepsi providing health tips, I'm not really sure "study hard" is a health tip per se, but we'll give them credit for trying.  Man, I might have to dedicate an entire post to just these card backs one of these days...

#2 - Dave Babych

This particular year's set contained 21 cards.  Since there are no card numbers, these are generally sorted alphabetically by last name and numbered that way for reference purposes.

#3 - Sylvain Cote

#4 - Kevin Dineen

Current head coach of the Florida Panthers...

#5 - Dean Evason

#6 - Ray Ferraro

A nice action shot on this one.  Look at those dinged up, ad-free boards!  And remember when people used to wear ties and jackets to sporting events?

#7 - Ron Francis

Team captain and the all-time greatest Hartford Whaler...

#8 - Stewart Gavin

#9 - Doug Jarvis

#10 - Scott Kleinendorst

You'll notice that while most of the cards feature full-bleed photos, on this one the blue border along the bottom extends all the way around the photo.  I don't know this for a fact, but I believe this was done to designate the rookie cards in the set.

#11 - Randy Ladouceur

#12 - Paul Lawless

Here's an example of being able to get a card of a lesser-known player.  As far as I know Paul was featured on just one trading card ever from a major release, 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee.  Here we get a look at him a few years later.

#13 - Mike Liut

The large area for the photo is particularly nice on this Mike Liut card, my favorite photo in the set.  The days of the brown pads and wooden sticks...

#14 - Paul MacDermid

#15 - Dana Murzyn

#16 - Joel Quenneville

Great old-school shot of your Stanley Cup champion head coach in Chicago, Joel Quenneville.

#17 - Torrie Robertson

Another little-known player.  I believe Torrie has three major release cards, '85-86 O-Pee-Chee, '86-87 O-Pee-Chee, and '90-91 Pro Set, that's it!

#18 - Ulf Samuelsson

#19 - Dave Tippett

#20 - Sylvain Turgeon

#21 - Steve Weeks

There you have it, the complete 21-card set.  As far as I recall, the only way these were distributed were as complete sets to Junior Whalers members via mail.  The best part about my set is that I've also got the membership card that came along with them!

As you can see, Ron Francis was the club's President.  That's not his John Hancock on that facsimile auto though, at least not based on the Francis autos I have.

This set really gives me a feeling of nostalgia, and given how difficult these cards are to come by I'm grateful to have crossed it off the list.  These bring us up to 116 unique Whalers cards and counting featured here so far...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Roster - 1993-94 Coca Cola Team Issue

Nearly every year of their existence, the Hartford Whalers had a team-issued set of cards with a different local sponsor.  I'm a big fan of these sets for a few reasons.  In addition to being great oddball cards for the team collector, they're relatively scarce as well, so they're fun to chase.  At times you can go months or years without seeing these cards pop up even once on the secondary market.  My favorite thing about these sets though is that they often give you a chance to get a Whalers card of a lesser-known player that would likely be overlooked in the major releases. 

For many of the early sets in the 1980s the cards were over-sized, like the ones I've shown here from the 1985-86 release.  The 1993-94 team set though, sponsored by Coca Cola, returned to the standard size for a modern day trading card.  There were 24 cards in the set, and I've finally managed to track them all down. 

#1 - Sean Burke

As you can see, there's not much to the design.  Plain, white card stock (which I have to say is relatively thin and flimsy) with a portrait shot inset.  Team name, player's name and position along the bottom, team logo and sponsor's logo along the top.  I'm not generally a fan of portrait cards, but these do give you a good look at some of the insane haircuts that were in fashion in the game of hockey in the early '90s.

#2 - Adam Burt

#3 - Andrew Cassels

Here's an example, your textbook mullet with some good curl at the back.

#4 - Randy Cunneyworth

Nowadays I remember Randy more for his coaching stint with the Montreal Canadiens, which I believe lasted around 15 seconds, than from his playing days.

#5 - Alexander Godynyuk

#6 - Mark Greig

Here's a look at what a back looks like.  Not much going on here, black and white, essentials and stats...

#7 - Mark Janssens

Sort of a variation on the standard mullet here, looks like that one little piece to the right is trying to get away.

#8 - Robert Kron

The tight-cropped mullet, more of a European feel, very classy.

#9 - Bryan Marchment

#10 - Brad McCrimmon

Brad sadly passed away along with 44 others in the Lokomotiv airline disaster in 2011.

#11 - Pierre McGuire

Those of you who recognize McGuire from his NHL broadcasting work, including this past season's Stanley Cup playoffs, may not realize that he was, for a very short time, the head coach of the Hartford Whalers.

#12 - Michael Nylander

#13 - James Patrick

#14 - Frank Pietrangelo

#15 - Marc Potvin

I wrote about this card on my other blog earlier this year, warning it's pretty depressing.  In any event, I think it's the only card out there that depicts Marc with the Whalers so I'm happy to have it.

#16 - Chris Pronger

The Whalers really did have some quality players despite their almost total lack of success.  This is one card for the Pronger super-collector only I think!  Is it just me, or does he look a little "slow" in this photo?

#17 - Brian Propp

#18 - Jeff Reese

#19 - Geoff Sanderson

#20 - Jim Sandlak

#21 - Jim Storm

Makes Chris Pronger look like Albert Einstein.

#22 - Darren Turcotte

#23 - Pat Verbeek

Best career of any player in the set, or would you give that to Chris Pronger?  I'm going with Verbeek myself.

#24 - Zarley Zalapski

That's a wrap, the 1993-94 Coca Cola Whalers team set.  Not the most exciting batch of cards, but essential for a team collector like myself.
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