It was literally a vintage card collector's dream come true.
I'll kick things off with these 1971 O-Pee-Chee San Diego Padres:
Looking at them, they're exactly the same as their sister set: 1971 Topps. Same font type and color. Same photographs. Same colored borders.
However I quickly learned that their backs are completely different:
All these years, I thought that O-Pee-Chee baseball were identical to Topps baseball... except for the card stock, French translations, and the number of cards on the checklist. Obviously, I was wrong.
By the way... I absolutely love the floating head in the middle of the card.
Next up, 1976ers sent me seven hockey enforcers for my collection:
At first I was scratching my head... wondering... who are these guys? But thanks to Wikipedia, I quickly put the puzzle pieces together.
In fact, I read up on each of these guys and found out that two of these guys were in the headlines in recent years. Eleven years ago Keith Magnuson was killed in a car accident, while driving with fellow enforcer Rob Ramage. Ramage was driving while impaired and was sentenced to four years in prison.
In other tragic hockey news, Gerry Hart is the father of Jordan Hart. Who's Jordan Hart? He's a former minor league hockey player who sold painkillers to former NHL enforcer, Derek Boogaard. On May 13th, 2011... Boogaard was found dead in his apartment. Apparently he died from an accidental overdose involving Hart's painkillers.
Okay... enough of the dark tales of unfortunate events. Let's get back to more positive thoughts.
Anyone know Gary Sutherland's claim to fame?
1971 Topps O-Pee-Chee #434
Unfortunately, I didn't. I had never heard of Mr. Sutherland. But thanks to 1967ers, he sent me this card... which led me to doing some research... which led me to discovering that Sutherland scored the first run in Montreal Expos' history. Damn, I miss the Expos.
Another sports franchise that's no longer with us is the California Golden Seals:
Back in April, Mr. Hoyle kicked off my Golden Seals PC with a nice stack of vintage hockey cards, including eleven cards from the 1973/74 Topps team set. At first glance, I thought that these three singles that 1967ers sent me would be duplicates. But I quickly discovered that I didn't have the Croteau and there was something peculiar about the Patrick and Johnston.
Once again... O-Pee-Chee switched things up. This time they changed the color of their borders on several (possibly all?) of their cards. The Patrick that Mr. Hoyle sent me looks exactly the same as the one you see above... except it has a yellow border. The Johnston I received earlier in the year also has a yellow border.
Pretty cool, right? I had no idea there were so many differences between vintage Topps and O-Pee-Chee.
Here are a few more O-Pee-Chees that 1967ers sent:
And once again... another history lesson. Did you know that Frank Fernandez holds a record involving home runs? He has the most home runs in MLB history for someone with a career batting average less than .200. Before Christmas, I had never heard of the guy... but thanks to 1967ers... that's no longer the case.
Okay... just realized that I've spent over an hour on this post and based on word count... it's one of the longest posts of the year. Time sure flies by when you're having fun and learning new, exciting, and interesting things about your favorite teams and the hobby you love.
Don't worry... I only have three cards left to share:
First up is a 1963 A&BC Footballers card of Les Massie:
1963 A&BC #45
Now believe it or not... I actually have seen these 1962 Topps baseball look-a-likes. From what I understand, Topps had a licensing agreement with ABC Chewing Gum, similar to the agreement they had with O-Pee-Chee. I have seen singles from these sets floating around blogs for a few years and have always wanted to add one to my collection. However what I didn't realize is that they aren't your standard card size. They're actually the same size as the 1975 Topps Minis.
Next up is the final and coolest enforcer card in my collection:
1973-74 O-Pee-Chee #3
Once again... I had never heard of Phil Roberto before receiving this package and unfortunately there's not a lot of information about him on the internet. But that doesn't matter, because the photograph on this card is what makes it special. I haven't seen to many hockey cards that actually picture guys fighting. In fact, I'm guessing that outside of a few ITG Enforcer cards, this is my only copy. Best part about it... it's forty years old!
Finally... I've saved the best for last:
1968-69 O-Pee-Chee #29
Now normally, I'd reserve throwing around a superlative like "BEST" in a "thank you" post, because I appreciate any card that anyone sends me. However this card isn't just "any card". It's a card that's been sitting on my Top 10 wantlist for a long time. It's the most beautiful hockey card ever and to put things into perspective, in my humble opinion... it's the 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson of hockey.
One of the things I want to do is create a personal sports card hall of fame... and when I find some time to do it... I can promise you that this card will be in the inaugural class.
Thanks Chris! I have a stack of vintage basketball I've accumulated over the years. Hopefully it'll help you with your collection as much as you've helped me with my vintage hockey and baseball collection.
Happy holidays and sayonara!