That Hull Photo

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?

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4 thoughts on “That Hull Photo

  1. I did the stickers when they came out but never really since. I like being able to read stuff on the backs. My kids went crazy over last year’s Panini release, though.

    I think the Sakic RC sneaks in under the wire, as well. The Crosby Young Guns card has really bucked the trend and held its value. I can’t think of much of anything else in terms of a post-junk RC that has held up like that.

    • Of course! I forgot about the Sakic card. Another helmet-less, bad haircut rookie. Topps/OPC’s photographers were really lazy in the late-eighties; it’s mostly semi-candid shots of players during pre-game warmups.

      The Crosby is an SP, which I don’t consider a base card, so I don’t count it. Plus, he also has rookies in the MVP and Power Play sets which gets into the rookie card paradox; how can a player have multiple rookie cards?

      • Gretzky has two RCs, it can happen across multiple sets. Brett Hull does, too.

        I can buy the Young Guns as RCs, if only because it’s so long established. Sticking a RC into a box set (any Topps Traded set or the recent fiascos) is more problematic for me.

      • Haha, I didn’t meant that literally, just from a strictly philosophical/logistical stand point. If “rookie card” means “first card” how can there be more than one?

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