March Inventory

I made a lot of progress with the two Champ’s set thanks to a great trade with reader Nick. He sent along a 148 2008-09 cards and a bunch from the 2009-10 set. Thanks Nick! I also picked up the base set of 2002-03 Topps Heritage Hockey and a couple SPs, but more on that in a few days…

  • 2011 Allen and Ginter, 766/996, 77%
  • 2009-10 Champ’s Hockey, 435/580, 75%
  • 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey, 183/680, 27%
  • 2002-03 Topps Heritage Hockey, 132/180, 73%

Two goals and two seconds of full frontal nudity on network television.        


The Brief and Frightening Reign of the Cleveland Barons, Pt. 1

Even by defunct teams standards, the Cleveland Barons are obscure. The California Golden Seals relocated to Cleveland after the 1975-1976 season due to poor attendance. The Barons played in the NHL for two seasons, 1976-1977 and 1977-1978, almost going bankrupt multiple times before merging with the Minnesota North Stars. Then, in 1991, the NHL essentially undid the merger by splitting the North Stars with a portion of the team starting anew in San Jose as the Sharks.

Because of this, there are a limited number of Barons cards. There’s a handful of 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee cards featuring players in Seals uniforms with the Baron’s name and logo on the top, while others still say Seals. By the 1978-79 set, any photos featuring Barons jerseys got the awful airbrush job. So the only true Barons cards appear in the 1977-78 set.

This is Wayne Merrick’s only Barons card. His 1976-77 was one of the many that still featured the Seals name and logo. He scored a career high 32 goals that year splitting time in St. Louis and Oakland. After that, his numbers waned considerably. Though he had a 56 point season in the Barons first season, his plus/minus was a  -21. He played 18 more games for the team in 1977 before getting traded to the Islanders and winning four straight Stanley Cups while his former team dissolved.

Great cartoon.

O-Pee-Chee, 1968-1995

One of the long term projects I’ve started is collecting all the O-Pee-Chee sets from their original run, starting in 1968-69 until they folded for a while in the mid-90s. The desire to collect these later sets are rooted in nostalgia of my early days of hockey: watching the Bruins rack up Adams Division titles in the old Prince of Wales Conference (before getting routed by the Oilers and the guy on the left) and playing my brother in NHLPA ’93 everyday after school.

The 1991-92 set is very similar to Topps’ 1991 baseball set. (This was the last year O-Pee-Chee would share a design with Topps; they went with their own in 1992-93 before only producing Premier sets–also the same as Topps–before calling it quits in 1995.) This is probably my favorite post-1981-82 design; simple and clean, allowing the photography to stand out. And the logo in the puck on the stick is perfect. Too bad the color scheme on the back goes the other way:

The Sinking of the Panay

I’m reading Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, a sci-fi, alternate history novel about Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers win World War II. One of the protagonists, Robert Childan, owns an antique store. Early in the book, a character inquires about a trading card:

“I will give you an example,” the major had said. “Do you know what is meant by “Horrors of War’ cards?” He had eyed Chidan with avidity.

Searching his memory, Childan had at last recalled. The cards had been dispensed, during his childhood, with bubble gum. A cent apiece. There had been a series of them, each card depicting a different horror.

“A dear friend of mine,” the major had gone on, “collects ‘Horrors of War.’ He lacks but one, now. The Sinking of the Panay. He has offered a substantial sum of money for that particular card.”

The card and the set exist! Released in 1938, Horrors of War feature cartoons of varies dictators and atrocities. The dark, clean lines and smaller dimensions give these cards a real Bowman feel. Below is a scan, borrowed from here.

Kimball Champions


Great mustache.

Topps reproduced these 1887 tobacco cards as a mini insert set in their 2011 flagship set. There’s a 150 in all, 50 from Series 1, 50 from Series 2, and 50 from Updates and Highlights or whatever they’re calling Traded sets now. They’re a little taller than your average Allen and Ginter mini, just enough so they poke out of the 20 count pages.

Most of the cards feature great throwback uniforms, particularly The Hawk in the old Expos spring training uniforms AND baby blue away on the left. Others include Dave Winfield in a Padres yellow and brown Burger King jersey, Mike Schmidt in Phillies maroon pinstripes, Reggie Jackson in a yellow A’s vest, and Paul Molitor in those Blue Jays uniforms with the eighties numbering that they just brought back.

I love the two picture design and Champion Base Ball batter/pitcher description on the cards.

I remember Dawson coming to the Red Sox when I was a kid. He hit his 400th home run at Fenway in April, then got injured a few games later. He was largely innefective in his two years here, during the dark days of the Butch Hobson Era. After the strike ended in 1995, he signed with the Marlins and played two more years before retiring.

I miss the Expos.