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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1985-86 OPC Todd Charlesworth

  How do I choose my players for the Lost Cards?  Some are fairly obvious overlooks by OPC.  A player with a lengthy career who was ignored by OPC for years, such as Garth Butcher or Tim Hunter.  Some are career cappers, like Pierre Larouche, or  Butch Goring, who had All-Star careers but retired before OPC finalized their lists before the upcoming years.  Players like Dan Bouchard or Harold Snepsts, received horrendous airbrush treatments for their single cards with a particular team.  Then there was the original reason behind Lost Rookies, players who had never received a NHL card, such as Bob Mason, or Tim Tookey.
  How I find player for this last category has changed.  Originally, I could find players I remembered or even followed as a child, such as Frank Caprice, but eventually it became finding player whom I didn't recognize.  For example, while doing research on Dave Gagner for a Lost Rookies post, the name Todd Charlesworth grabbed my attention.  While Dave was drafted 12th overall in the 1st round of the 1983 Entry draft, Todd was drafted 22nd overall, by the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the 1st pick in the 2nd round.
  Never heard of him.  Wonder if he had a card? I was intrigued by the name and did a quick search.  The search didn't turn up any cards, but did turn up a nice picture, in a sweet jersey, suitable for a card.  So the decision was made, a card for Todd.
  I don't have much to say about his actual career.  He graduated quite quickly to the NHL, jumping in straight from juniors.  In 1983-84 he had a ten game stint with the Penguins while spending the rest of the season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.  1984-85 saw "The Next One" Mario Lemieux join the beleaguered Penguins.  Lemieux assisted on Todd's first career goal, and only goal of the 84-85 season, a game-winner against the New York Islanders.  Charlesworth had 9 points in 67 games in 84-85, his only full season in the NHL.
  Charlesworth made the Penguins out of training camp for the 85-86 season but only played in two of the first four games before being sent down.  He did score goals in back-to-back games in 1987-88.  Otherwise, he spent the majority of his time in the IHL.
  Todd left the Penguins via free agency and signed with the Edmonton Oilers for the 1989-90 season.  He wasn't able to make the team and the Oilers sent him to the New York Rangers in a mid-season trade for future considerations.  He played seven games with the Rangers.
  Todd would toil in the minors until the 1994-95 season and would retire in the city he played most of his pro hockey, Muskegon, Michigan.
  There was nothing in particular that drew me to Todd Charlesworth.  Although, the name is kind of cool.  And I do love that hideous yellow Penguins jersey.  Otherwise, its a player without a card but with a good picture available online.  Usually there is a bit of backstory that draws me in but this time, it's a neat name in a cool jersey.
1985-86 OPC #273 Todd Charlesworth (RC)

1985-86 OPC #273 Todd Charlesworth (RC)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lost Cards: 1986-87 OPC Don Edwards

  If you made an All-Time Buffalo Sabres roster, there is no question Dominik Hasek would be your starting goalie.  The back-up nod would go to either Ryan Miller, Tom Barrasso or, my pick,  Don Edwards.
  The Sabres used their first round pick in 1975 to draft goalie, Bob Sauve, 17th overall.  Four rounds and 72 picks later, they would draft the other half of an All-Star tandem, Don Edwards.  Sauve would reach the NHL first, but Edwards would leave the greater impression.  Edwards was called up in February of 1977 and proceeded to win seven of his first nine games, including shut-outs against the Black Hawks and Flyers.  Edwards would finish the season with 25gp, 16-7-2 record with a 2.52 GAA.
  Edwards would begin the 1977-78 season as the Sabres starter.  He finished the season as a 2nd Team All-Star, as well as finishing 4th in the Hart Trophy voting.  Don won, a then Sabres record 38 games.  Edwards would have an off year in 1978-79, 26 wins and 3.02 GAA, before returning to the 2nd Team All-Star in 1979-80.  Edwards won 27 games, and 2.57 GAA.  The Sabres, with Edwards and Sauve between the pipes, allowed the few goals in the NHL, earning them the Vezina Trophy.  In 1980, the Vezina trophy was awarded to the goalies on the team with the fewest goals allowed.
  Don continued his solid play for the Sabres, tying for the league led in shutouts in 1980-81.  The following season, Edwards would share history with Wayne Gretzky.  Gretzky would break the single season mark for goals, 76, when he recorded a hat trick against Edwards and the Sabres on February, 24, 1982.  Edwards would finish the season with a 3.52 GAA, good for 9th best in the league.  During Edwards five full seasons with the Sabres, The Sabres would finish 5th or better in least Goals Allowed and Edwards would finish 4th or better in the All-Star Team voting.
  The Sabres would deal Edwards to the Calgary Flames on draft day 1982, in a two player, six draft pick trade.  The trade would give the Sabres three first round picks.  They selected Paul Cyr with the 1st rounder picked up in the Edwards trade.  The two other Sabres 1st round picks turned out to be HHOFers, Phil Housley and Dave Andreychuk.
  Edwards would not duplicate the success he had with the Sabres.  Splitting the net with incumbent Reggie Lemelin, Edwards was not able to outplay Lemelin and found himself expendable as rookie Mike Vernon earned his way onto the Flames roster.  The Flames would trade Edwards to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were looking for a veteran presence between the pipes, for a 4th round draft pick.
  Edwards' decline would continue as he set career worst of 4.73 GAA and tied a career worst with 23 losses, although while only playing in 38 games during the 1985-86 season.  Edwards was not able to fend off youngster, Ken Wregget, to keep the starters job.  Like Mike Palmateer, a few years ago, the Leafs asked the veteran to stay home.  Unlike Palmateer, the Leafs bought out the remaining two years on Edwards contract.
  Edwards would spend  the 1986-87 season playing semi-pro in Ontario.  Like Palmateer, after a season out of the NHL after being dropped by the Maple Leafs, he got a try out with the Edmonton Oilers.  Again, like Palmateer, he did make the team.  Edwards would play a few games with the Oiler's AHL farm club before retiring for good.
  Edwards was an All-Star goalie with the Sabres but his star quickly fell once he left Buffalo.  Ultimately, he ended up in Toronto, which was a death sentence for goalies in the early-mid 80s.  Edwards did get into the 1985-86 OPC set as an airburshed Maple Leaf, but never got a proper send-off.

1986-87 OPC #272 Don Edwards

1986-87 OPC #272 Don Edwards

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Lost Cards: 1980-81 OPC Gary Smith

  Gary "Suitcase" Smith was well known for being a "character" and for being on the move.  He earned the nickname "Suitcase" even before he played a season in the NHL.  The Toronto Maple Leafs were already set in net with veterans and future Hall of Famers, Johnny Bowers, and Terry Sawchuk, as well as another top prospect in Gerry Cheevers.  So Gary found himself bouncing around the minors in 1964-65, as well being loaned to the Boston Bruins as a back-up.
  Smith would see his first NHL action the following season, 1965-66.  Gary started, and lost, against the New York Rangers on February 19th, 1966.  Over two seasons, Smith would play in five games for the Leafs, going 0-4-0, 3.62.
  As a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, Smith's antics included attempting to punt the puck up into the scoreboard and stickhandling the puck into the opposition zone in an attempt to score a goal.  Smith inspired a NHL rule change that would penalise goalies if they attempt to cross centre ice as part of the play.
  Gary was left exposed in the 1967 NHL expansion draft and was selected as the 11th goalie in the draft, by the California Seals.  Smith would overtake veteran Charlie Hodge by the Seals sophomore season in the NHL, and by the 1969-70 season, Gary was a league leader... in losses.  To prove it was no fluke, Gary not only led the league in losses in 1970-71, but set a NHL record by losing 48 games.
  OPC was fairly brutal to Gary during his playing days.  No offense Gary, I am sure the ladies appreciated your cards, but your card career was full of mug shots and photo day poses.  Only the 1977-78 OPC comes close to pleasing to goalie card aficionados.  So for a bonus, I'll update a few of Gary's OPC card fronts with action shots.

1970-71 OPC Gary Smith

  For the 1971-72 season, Gary Smith went from the doghouse, the last place Oakland Seals, to the penthouse, the West division top team, Chicago Black Hawks.  Smith followed up his record setting season in futility by sharing the Vezina trophy with Tony Esposito.  Smith had 5 shutouts in 28 games for the Hawks on 1971-72.

1972-73 OPC Gary Smith

  After another season backing-up Tony Esposito, Smith was traded to the Vancouver Canucks.  Where he promptly led the league in losses for the third time in his career.  The 1974-75 season saw a re-alignment of divisions and the Canucks thrived in the newly created Smythe division, finishing first.  Smith led the league in games played, 72, and finished third in All-Star balloting.  Unfortunately for the Canucks, the first round was not a divisional match-up but instead teams were ranked based on points, which meant the 88pts Canucks had to face the 113pts Montreal Canadiens.  The Canucks lost in five games.

1974-75 OPC Gary Smith

  Smith played another season with the Canucks before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars for Cesare Maniago.  After a mediocre season, Smith signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals in 1976 but was sold back to the Minnesota North Stars later the same season.  Smith left to play in the WHA in 1977 and signed on with the Indianapolis Racers.  Smith would go 0-10-1 with the Racers before the team folded 25 games into the WHA season.  Smith was picked up by the Winnipeg Jets and finished the season on a hot streak, back stopping the team to an Avco Cup league championship.  Smith allowed the last goal in WHA history to Dave Semenko.

1978-79 OPC Gary Smith

  When joining the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets retained their rights to Gary Smith.  Smith started the Jets first NHL game, October 10, and registered the first Jets NHL win, October 14, versus the Colorado Rockies.  Smith eventually slid down the depth chart behind Pierre Hamel, Markus Mattson and Lindsay Middlebrook.  Smith finished the season, and his career, with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League.
  Gary Smith wore a mask for the majority of his career, up until his final season.  When he switched to the helmet/cage combo, he painted the helmet two colours.  I cannot recall another goalie doing this.  When I saw the image and discovered Gary was lacking a final year card; his previous was a head in the 79-80 set, I decided to act.

1980-81 OPC #400 Gary Smith

1980-81 OPC #401 Gary Smith

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Lost Cards: 1985-86 OPC Ken Solheim

  Ken Solheim had a unremarkable NHL career, 39pts in 135 carers over 5 NHL seasons.  What I found remarkable were a pair of trade the Minnesota North Stars and Detroit Red Wings made involving Solheim.
  Solhiem was drafted in 1980 by the Chicago Black Hawks in the second round, 30th overall.  The 1980-81 season was a busy one for Ken.  He spent the majority of the season in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers.  Ken led the WHL with 68 goals and was selected as a 1st team All-Star.  He made his NHL debut a memorable one as he scored against Pete Peeters of the Philadelphia Flyers, on December 10th.  Ken played five games before being returned to the WHL.  The Hawks would trade Solheim to the Minnesota North Stars before the turn of the calendar.  Solheim would notch points in his first three games with the North Stars before being sent down after playing 5 games with the club.  After the Medicine Hat Tigers were eliminated from the WHL play-offs, Ken would make two appearances for the North Stars during their Stanley Cup run.  He scored in his first playoff game on Don Edwards of the Buffalo Sabres, and also played in Game One of the Stanley Cup finals against the eventual champions, the New York Islanders.
  Ken was unable to build on his rookie season.  He scored 9 points in 29 games with the North Stars, and spent the majority of the 1981-82 season in the minors.  In the 1982-83 season, Ken scored 6 points in his first nine games, and then proceeded pointless for the rest of the NHL season.  His lack of scoring earned Ken a demotion to the minors and a trade to the Detroit Red Wings for future considerations.  Ken failed to net a point in his last 16 games as a North Star and in his 10 games as a Red Wing to close out the season.
  Solheim was cut from the Red Wings roster during training camp and spent the 1983-84 season with the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL.   Ken failed to impress the Red Wings during the 1984 training camp, and he was traded back to the Minnesota North Stars for future considerations.  In both deals between the North Stars and Red Wings, the future consideration were never fulfilled.  He was affectively traded as the future considerations from the original deal.  Solheim for Solheim.
  Solheim was able to make the North Stars roster for the 1984-85 season and set career highs across the board, including games played, 55, goals, 8, and points 18, but again had trouble sticking in the NHL and finished the season in the AHL.
  A free agent in the 1985 offseason, Solheim was signed by the Edmonton Oilers.  Solheim only played six games for the Oilers, but was part of NHL history.  Solheim scored the second goal of the game versus the Quebec Nordiques on February 14, 1986.  The goal was assisted by Wayne Gretzky.  The Oilers scored 8 goals that night, Gretzky assisted on seven of them, tying a NHL record.  The only goal Gretzky did not assist on was, a shorthanded goal by Mark Napier, while Gretzky was in the penalty box.
  Solheim would retire by the 1986-87 season.  He finished his career with 39 points in 135 games.  Solheim received a card in the 1983-84 OPC set.  A rather confusing card.  OPC hideously airbrushed Solheim into a Red Wings jersey, but added a "Now with Minnesota" and showed Solheim as a North Star.  Solheim was still technically a Red Wing during the 1983-84 season.
  So I gave Ken Solheim a OPC proper card.  The best picture I could find was of Solheim obstructing Rod Langway of the Washington Capitals from a preseason game.  So the 1985-86 OPC set becomes the logical choice, although it is not a rookie card.

1985-86 OPC #272 Ken Solheim

1985-86 OPC #272 Ken Solheim

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Baseball: 1986 NL Stars

  I previously showed off the 1986 American League Stars, now it was time to move onto the senior circuit and showcase the stars of the National League.

Carter led the World Series Champ Mets with 105 RBI.
Davis was a runner-up to Carter for the Silver Slugger at Catcher.
Gwynn led the NL in At-bats, 642, Hits, 211, and Runs Scored, 107.

Krukow set career bests in wins, 20, ERA, 3.05, and was a finalist for the NL Cy Young.
Two-time NL MVP, Dale had an off-year, only hitting 29 HR and 83 RBI.
Parker led the Reds with 31 HR and 116 RBIs.

Raines stole 70 bases for the sixth consecutive season and led the NL with a .334 BAA.
On the worst team in the NL, Rhoden won 15 games and finished 4th in ERA, 2.84.
Schmidt led the NL with 37 HR, 119 RBI and a .937 OPS

Cy Young Winner Mike Scott, had a NL best 2.22 ERA and 306 SO.
Fernando led the NL with 21 wins and finished 2nd in Cy Young voting.
Worrell saved 36 games and won NL Rookie of the Year

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1977-78 OPC Gordie Laxton

  Good lord, look at that hairGordie Laxton played parts of 4 NHL seasons, all with the Penguins.  Drafted 13th overall in the 1975 Amateur draft, Laxton began the 1975-76 season with the team and started between the pipes on opening night.  After notching a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals, Laxton didn't see NHL action again for almost a month, after starter Michel Plasse went down with an injury, Laxton would win his next two starts before playing himself to the bench, and eventually the minors.
  The Penguins made wholesale changes in net for the 1976-77 season.  Plasse and Gary Inness were out, while Dennis Herron returned to the Penguins.  Laxton again made the team out of camp and again secured a victory in the season opener, in relief Herron, whom had his arm broken in the first period.  Laxton facilitated a trade with the New York Rangers to bring in Dunc Wilson, by allowing 17 goals in his first two starts of 1976.  Injuries would help Laxton secure a few more starts over the next few seasons.  His last start, a 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in 1979 would be the last time he played in the NHL.  Laxton would toil in the minors until he retired in 1983.
  Laxton finished his career with 17gp, 4-9-1, and a 5.56 GAA.  Hardly the type of number that would earn you a NHL card.  That hair though!  I couldn't resist.  I did the front of the design after doing the two other goalies from the Penguins for that season.  I am finding the fonts of the 70s to be harder than the fonts of the 80s cards.  Mostly due to the excess use of italics or bending the text.  In this design I didn't use text but the line tool, pencil and fill to do the team name.  If I can find an easier way to do the fonts, I will do more of this set.

1977-78 OPC #397 Gordie Laxton (RC)

1977-78 OPC #397 Gordie Laxton (RC)

  Bonus cards
1977-78 OPC Denis Herron and Dunc Wilson

Monday, June 17, 2019

Baseball: 1986 AL Stars

  I really liked how the 1986-87 OPC Howard Johnson came out.  So I decided to do one for each team.  I didn't realize how many teams use blue and red as their primary colours.  I also think I could have gone with a dark green for the text on Canseco.  Now to start work on the stars of the NL.

Baines was a triple crown winner for the lowly White Sox, 21 HR, 88 RBI, .296 Avg.
Barfield led the majors in home runs with a career best of 40. 
Boggs hit a league best .357.  He hit .350 of better in 4 consecutive seasons.  He's also of my favourite players so I did him a card instead of AL MVP and Cy Young winner, Roger Clemans.

Brett struggled through injuries but still posted a .401 on base.
Rookie of the year Canseco swatted 33 homers and 117 RBI.
Carter hit 29 Hrs and led the majors with 121 RBI.  

Higuera won a career best 20 games in his sophomore season.
Mattingly hit 31hr, 113rbi, .352 avg and a ML leading .967 OPS.
Oddibe led the Rangers with 105 runs scored and 33 stolen bases.


Presley led the basement dwelling Mariniers with 27 HR and 107 RBI.
Puckett hit a career high 31 HR, and won his first of six Silver Slugger awards.
Ripken led all major league shortstops with 25 HR and 81 RBI.

Trammell hit 21 HR and stole 25 bases while leading the Tigers with a .277 avg
Witt led the AL winning Angels with 18 wins and was a Cy Young finalist.