Brett Hull’s 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee/Topps may be the last iconic rookie card, appearing a couple years before before the explosion of the hockey card industry. (Aside: 1990-91 marked the debut of Bowman, O-Pee-Chee Premier, Pro Set, Score, and Upper Deck. [Double Aside: Quick, how many rookies does Sidney Crosby have? Tyler Seguin?]) I think most collectors wouldn’t have trouble conjuring up this photo in their mind. Hull looks young, he is without a helmet and his hair is styled in a classic hockey player cut. He appears to be simultaneous confident and starry-eyed. And, of course, an away Blues sweater is painted over his Calgary jersey. However, it’s not the singular Hull card that year. Brett makes five total appearances in O-Pee-Chee sets that year; his airbrushed photo makes four.
The first two are part of the OPC sticker set that season. These are about the 3/4 the size of a normal card and these are half that. The first is shared with Jim Kyte, the second, Tom Barrasso. If you think O-Pee-Chee had quality control issues when it came to printing their base sets you obviously haven’t seen their stickers.
On the backs of some of the stickers, O-Pee-Chee had Future Stars mini-cards. The photo makes it’s fourth and final appearance. Lastly, the only Hull card (slash sticker) from that season to feature a different photo and it’s from the OPC Mini set.
I’m assuming O-Pee-Chee didn’t get the photo from the mini in time for their base set and sticker release which is a shame; it’s a nice shot. In fact, Hull was mired bad photography for a while, his ’89-’90 and ’90-’91 cards featuring variations on his bad haircut.
Does anyone else collect stickers?