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...
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