Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Roster - 1988-89 Topps

The 1988-89 Topps hockey set contained the standard 198-card checklist that was commonplace for the company's hockey sets of the era.  This one is widely known as the "push-pin set", and featured some big rookies like Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan.  The Whalers were featured on 11 cards in the set:

#3 - Joel Quenneville

#24 - Sylvain Turgeon

#36 - Kevin Dineen

#52 - Ron Francis

#75 - Carey Wilson

#85 - Dave Tippett

#114 - Ray Ferraro

#127 - Mike Liut

#136 - Ulf Samuelsson

#164 - Dave Babych

#190 - John Anderson

John is the lone Whaler pictured in home white.  There you have it, the 1988-89 Topps Hartford Whalers!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Roster - 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier

Today's post features one of the "top shelf" sets that hit the hockey card universe in 1990-91, O-Pee-Chee Premier.  This set featured a solid design and some big name rookies including Jagr, Roenick and Fedorov to name a few.  While it has crashed back down to earth in terms of book value, I think the design has really held up over time.  The Whalers are represented on 5 cards from the 132-card set:

#2 - Jergus Baca

Jergus certainly has an entertaining name.  He played in all of 10 career NHL games, all with the Whalers, but it was at the turn of the decade when card companies were starting to go crazy, so you'll be seeing more of him on this blog.

 #23 - Kevin Dineen

#32 - Ron Francis

Ron is certainly worthy of inclusion in this set, one of the game's all-time best.  I always liked this shot.

#43 - Bobby Holik

Another solid selection, Bobby went on to have a very good career in the NHL.

#128 - Carey Wilson

The Whalers could never decide whether they wanted Carey Wilson or not.  He came to them in a trade from Calgary for the second half of the 1987-88 season, and actually did quite well.  34 games into the next season though, they turned around and dealt him to the New York Rangers.  Fine, maybe they had seen enough and wanted to go in another direction.  A year and a half later however, he was back in a Hartford sweater, returning from New York in the deal that brought Michael Nylander to Hartford.

If you're a casual hockey card collector, or just looking for a decently priced older hockey set to pick up for fun, you could certainly do worse than 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier.  You should be able to score a complete set for around $20 or so, and I remember a time 20 years ago when a few of the individual cards booked for more than that!  Just the 132 base cards and no inserts, how refreshing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wanted Whalers - 1985-86 Wendy's Junior Whalers

Today's post is my first Wanted Whalers post, which, as you've probably correctly assumed based on the title, means I'm missing some Whalers cards and need help tracking them down.  This first post features a really obscure team-issued set, so I'm not expecting much luck, but if I'm going to build a master Whalers collection I'll need to find them someday...

Here's what I'm looking for, the 1985-86 Junior Whalers set sponsored by Wendy's.  I've got this Ron Francis and two others, but that's it.  As you'd imagine, they don't seem to crop up all that often. 

From the 1982-83 season through the end of the franchise's time in Hartford, the team issued small sets each year (the only exception being the 1994-95 season, where the set was omitted for some reason).  These sets were funded by a different local sponsor each year, and were a great chance for fans to get some "cards" of the lesser-known players that may have been overlooked by O-Pee-Chee (and most certainly were overlooked by Topps).  I put the word cards in parentheses in that last sentence because many of the sets don't really resemble your standard trading card. 

The '85-86 release that you see here features a card that is both taller and wider than your average trading card, in fact I sometimes see these referred to as postcards.  You get a large, full-bleed photo, fairly high quality given the year these were released, and a small area at the bottom for the Junior Whalers and Wendy's to get some advertising.  There's no mention of the player name on the front of the card, and some of these definitely aren't so obvious, especially all these years later!

Here's a look at the back, certainly very busy.  It kind of reminds me of the sports section of a and white, small headshot, some short paragraphs, stats at the bottom, even some advertising.  Not the most exciting card back, but let's face it these are all about the color photos on the front.

I picked up everyone's favorite player to hate, Ulf Samuelsson, in the same auction as the Francis card.  These really are nice looking cards.  The area at the bottom sort of looks like something that would have come out of a '70s O-Pee-Chee WHA release.

Here's Ulf pictured side by side with a standard sized trading card, to give you an idea of the scale.  These are certainly large and cumbersome to store.  Right now I've just got them in a pile until I figure out what to do with them.

Finally, the only other card I have from this set, defenseman Risto Siltanen.  Unless I'm mistaken, these were not given out at Wendy's restaurant locations, but rather were given away to members of the Junior Whalers hockey club.  My brothers and I were proud, card-carrying Junior Whalers members for a few years, and received some of the cards, but I was only three when these came out, so the '85-86 set was before my time as a fan.  I have no idea where most of the Junior Whalers cards I got while I was in the club later in the decade are either, which is a shame.  Often you'll find these for sale autographed, because the team would host a "Junior Whalers Day" where members of the club could spend time at the Hartford Civic Center, meet the players, and get in-person autographs.  Not surprisingly these cards were popular items for the autograph meet and greet sessions.

There are 23 total cards in the '85-86 Wendy's Junior Whalers set.  I've added the 20 I'm missing to my Whalers Want List over in the sidebar, if you ever stumble across any let me know!
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