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  #1  
Old 11-30-2019, 01:25 PM
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Default TOP TEN HOCKEY CARDS FROM THE 1950s

Baseball and football cards from the 1950s are hot and it's no different with hockey. If you collect vintage hockey or you are an investor looking to diversify, then you've come to the right place. In this thread, I am going to discuss what I think are the top ten hockey cards from this period. Of course, like any list out there, this one can also be debated. I'm not saying it's perfect, but let me say that I've been in this game for a long time and I have a pretty good idea as to what is hot and what isn't. Let's get started, shall we?

1) 1951 Parkhurst #66 Gordie Howe



This is the famous rookie card of Mr. Hockey. Howe dominated the game until a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky came along. Gretzky idolized Howe during his youth and still considers him to be the greatest of all-time.

2) 1958 Topps #66 Bobby Hull



Although Bobby only has one ring, he still dominated the league in the 1960s. His rookie is very sought-after and finding high-end examples can be very challenging. Majority are found with very poor centering, so when a nice one does pop up for sale, collectors will jump all over it.

3) 1951 Parkhurst #4 Maurice 'Rocket' Richard



One of the most feared goal-scorers in the NHL. He was the first to get fifty goals during the regular season and the first to get five-hundred career goals. He also helped the Canadiens win eight Stanley Cups.

4) 1953 Parkhurst #27 Jean Beliveau



A great man on and off the ice. Beliveau won a total of seventeen Stanley Cups! Ten were as a player and the other seven as an executive. He spent his whole career with the Canadiens.

5) 1955 Parkhurst #50 Jacques Plante



Plante was a member of the Canadiens for ten seasons and won six cups. This is one of the most popular goalie cards ever made. The image looks absolutely stunning. The red border has made this one a condition sensitive card and high-grade examples are tough to locate. Majority are also found with horrible centering.

6) 1952 Parkhurst #58 Tim Horton



Horton is known today as the "doughnut guy," but he was a lot more than that! He was a nightmare to play against and helped the Maple Leafs dominate the league during the 1960s. This card is often found with centering issues (as seen in the image) and collectors will pay a premium for nice examples.

7) 1957 Parkhurst #4 Henri Richard



A member of the famous Canadiens and the younger brother of Maurice Richard. The 'Pocket Rocket' was a magican with the puck and helped his team to eleven Stanley Cups. This card is a short print, so it doesn't show up frequently.

8) 1954 Topps #8 Gordie Howe



Many collectors consider this to be Gordie's most attractive card. It is also his first Topps card. This is a condition sensitive card due to the colorful borders found on both sides. Even the slightest wear can be an eyesore.

9) 1951 Parkhurst #61 Terry Sawchuk



One of the greatest goalies of all-time. By the time of his death, he had set numerous records including an incredible 103 regular season shut-outs. It would take decades for his records to be broken.

10) 1957 Parkhurst #17 Frank Mahovlich



One of the greatest power-forwards of his era. The Big M is known for being a member of the Maple Leafs. He played for twenty-two professional seasons in both the NHL and WHA and has six rings.
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Last edited by samosa4u; 04-13-2020 at 11:12 AM. Reason: Revised list
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2019, 01:32 PM
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Default Excellent Thread

Looking forward to the next installment: The 1960ís
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:43 PM
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Doug Harvey over Horton or Mahovolich, no?
Ranked 6th all time by 1998 Hockey News. Mahovolich 27 and Horton 43.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:27 PM
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Doug Harvey over Horton or Mahovolich, no?
Ranked 6th all time by 1998 Hockey News. Mahovolich 27 and Horton 43.
First of all, Harvey was a defenceman and Mahovlich a forward, so I don't really think you can compare the two. Horton was a defender, and yes Harvey was better than him, however, his rookie card isn't. Compare the prices and you'll see that there is way more demand for the Horton rookie.

Now putting the Harvey rookie in 10th place (instead of Mahovlich) wouldn't be a bad thing, but keep in mind that there are already three cards from the 1951 Parkhurst set that made this list, so I went with the Big M instead. It is definitely a close one though!
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:27 PM
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Great post, Samosa.

Thanks for the info and picks.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:31 AM
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Great post. So many great 50's cards to choose from. That Jacques Plante rookie is one of the best looking cards from any era.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:09 PM
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I'm glad you guys like this thread. There is hardly any action over here, so I decided to spice things up a little.

Now I want to add something: when coming up with this list, I decided to focus on mainstream rookies. This means that non-rookies, food issues and other oddballs were excluded. The Quaker Oats Jacques Plante card is very popular, but it's a food issue. The 1952 Royal Desserts Gordie Howe is very nice too, but again, a food issue. And finally, Gordie does have a few mainstream issues from this decade that are popular with collectors, especially his 1954 Topps card. None of them are on the list either.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by samosa4u View Post
I'm glad you guys like this thread. There is hardly any action over here, so I decided to spice things up a little.

Now I want to add something: when coming up with this list, I decided to focus on mainstream rookies. This means that non-rookies, food issues and other oddballs were excluded. The Quaker Oats Jacques Plante card is very popular, but it's a food issue. The 1952 Royal Desserts Gordie Howe is very nice too, but again, a food issue. And finally, Gordie does have a few mainstream issues from this decade that are popular with collectors, especially his 1954 Topps card. None of them are on the list either.
Samosa, in you first post, you stated baseball, football and hockey from the 50's are hot. Just wondering if you have seen an uptick lately with hockey cards in general or is it just in that era?

I've been dabbling here and there for the last year/couple years but lately I've become more interested in them again.

I've been trying to pick up some Orr cards here and there but I have also dabbled a bit with other older cards (mostly 60's-70's) and modern as well.

Not sure if that's because I am close to completing my low number run of 52 Topps baseball cards or if it's me just reliving my youth again?
Regardless, I am now enjoying the hockey card chase but in doing so, I have also noticed, or at least think I've noticed that hockey cards seem to be getting hot again?

Looking forward to reading and seeing your 60's era selections.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 69 70 OPC Bobby Orr.jpg (75.2 KB, 322 views)
File Type: jpg 69 70 OPC Bobby Orr1.jpg (71.6 KB, 323 views)
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2019, 10:23 AM
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Samosa, in you first post, you stated baseball, football and hockey from the 50's are hot. Just wondering if you have seen an uptick lately with hockey cards in general or is it just in that era?
I'm starting to see more Americans take interest in hockey cards and Canadian collectibles and I think the biggest reason is the strong US dollar. There were so many of them at the Expo here in Toronto (International Centre) and they were all looking for key vintage rookies. I was talking to a Canadian-dealer friend of mine at the show and I told him how I noticed a shortage of O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookies, and his response was "the Yankees bought them all."

I personally believe that cards issued from 1951 - 1959 are the best. No other decade comes close.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by samosa4u View Post
I'm starting to see more Americans take interest in hockey cards and Canadian collectibles and I think the biggest reason is the strong US dollar. There were so many of them at the Expo here in Toronto (International Centre) and they were all looking for key vintage rookies. I was talking to a Canadian-dealer friend of mine at the show and I told him how I noticed a shortage of O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookies, and his response was "the Yankees bought them all."

I personally believe that cards issued from 1951 - 1959 are the best. No other decade comes close.
Great info, Samosa. Thanks.

I missed the Expo again this fall as there always seems to be something that comes up. Hopefully in the spring it is a different story.

With regards to my recent Orr P/U above, are the TCG cards that read "Printed in Canada" actually OPC cards? I've seen the same cards but because they read "Printed in the U.S." those have been listed as Topps cards. Just making sure I have that right?

Also, I'm curious of your thoughts on the old Beehive hockey cards/photos and if you have seen any uptick in those lately?

Hopefully this thread gets some traction/interest as I'd also like to learn, read and see more great cards.

Thanks again.

Dale
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:49 PM
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Dale: The copyright is different but easier to see, the 1968 and 1969 bilingual cards are OPC. En Francais = OPC. No need to look beyond that. There are also color differences on the backs of the 69s

1969 Topps



1969 OPC

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Old 12-02-2019, 04:40 PM
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Dale: The copyright is different but easier to see, the 1968 and 1969 bilingual cards are OPC. En Francais = OPC. No need to look beyond that. There are also color differences on the backs of the 69s
Thanks for clearing that up, Adam.

I appreciate it!

EDIT: Meant to also ask, what are the general price differences normally between equally graded OPC and Topps hockey cards? Is it 2 X, 3X, or higher?

Last edited by irv; 12-02-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:21 AM
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Great list. My personal favorite is the 1954 Topps Gordie Howe.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:44 AM
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EDIT: Meant to also ask, what are the general price differences normally between equally graded OPC and Topps hockey cards? Is it 2 X, 3X, or higher?
Now that's a different animal. From my limited experience there is no simple across the board answer to that. Generally OPC goes for more but given the relative size differences of the sets in the 1960s-1970s (Topps is usually a one series 132 card issue while OPC is usually at least two series), there are people who collect one or the other. There are also condition issues. Early OPC used some lousy cardboard and terrible cutters compared to Topps (see the two 1969s I posted above), so I tend to see more OPC cards with production flaws. 1970s OPC used better cardboard than Topps IMO (I like the light chipboard vs. the dark stuff Topps used) but the same crappy cutters, so rough edges and weak corners are commonplace.



The OPC Ryan has a way nicer stock than the 71 Topps



(see what I mean) but cruddy edges, corners and centering comparatively speaking.
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:44 AM
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Now that's a different animal. From my limited experience there is no simple across the board answer to that. Generally OPC goes for more but given the relative size differences of the sets in the 1960s-1970s (Topps is usually a one series 132 card issue while OPC is usually at least two series), there are people who collect one or the other. There are also condition issues. Early OPC used some lousy cardboard and terrible cutters compared to Topps (see the two 1969s I posted above), so I tend to see more OPC cards with production flaws. 1970s OPC used better cardboard than Topps IMO (I like the light chipboard vs. the dark stuff Topps used) but the same crappy cutters, so rough edges and weak corners are commonplace.



The OPC Ryan has a way nicer stock than the 71 Topps



(see what I mean) but cruddy edges, corners and centering comparatively speaking.
Great info again, Adam.

I'm surprised you didn't hit on the amount of cards that were produced and sold?
Not that everything you read is true, but I remember reading, because of our population up here compared to your's, the OPC numbers are a lot lower compared to Topps so that is also why OPC cards command a premium?

However, I have seen sales of both Topps and OPC where that doesn't seem to be factored in sometimes but I always assume some people aren't aware of that?
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:24 AM
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I remember reading that OPC made about 5-10% the amount that Topps did. Thats Baseball, Hockey the amount is much higher.
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Old 12-05-2019, 05:11 AM
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Yeah thatís one of the wonderful paradoxes of OPC collecting. Chasing my 1971$ has been an endeavor even with the smaller set size. Though being in SoCal I donít see them much locally.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:19 AM
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I remember reading that OPC made about 5-10% the amount that Topps did. Thats Baseball, Hockey the amount is much higher.
I wonder what that number is?

Just following some recent listings of both OPC and Topps, it does seem that most are aware, not always, that OPC hockey cards do command a premium over Topps cards.
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Old 12-19-2019, 01:56 PM
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I Really like this thread, with one exception this line is wrong ....

" Howe dominated the game until a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky came along."

In 1972 Gordie was 44 years old, he didnt do much dominating in the 70's
But from 1970 - 1975 Bobby Orr did dominate the NHL
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:47 PM
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I Really like this thread, with one exception this line is wrong ....

" Howe dominated the game until a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky came along."

In 1972 Gordie was 44 years old, he didnt do much dominating in the 70's
But from 1970 - 1975 Bobby Orr did dominate the NHL
Orr dominated his whole 9 year career. I love Wayne, but he couldn't do what Orr did.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:28 PM
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Delete, mistake.
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Old 12-20-2019, 04:49 AM
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Orr dominated his whole 9 year career. I love Wayne, but he couldn't do what Orr did.
Agreed. Orr is the only defenseman to lead the league in scoring and he did it twice. Think about what his career could've been on 2 good knees.
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Old 12-20-2019, 04:56 PM
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Yeah, I'm a big Howe fan and I loathe the Bruins (result of growing up in NYC a Rangers fan), but I have to give the devil his due: Orr was amazing.
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Old 12-21-2019, 10:43 AM
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I Really like this thread, with one exception this line is wrong ....

" Howe dominated the game until a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky came along."

In 1972 Gordie was 44 years old, he didnt do much dominating in the 70's
But from 1970 - 1975 Bobby Orr did dominate the NHL
Thanks for your post.

What I meant was that Gretzky came along and broke all of Howe's records. He took away Gordie's crown.

Yes, Orr was amazing, but for only a very short time. By the time he was 27 years old, he was done as a player. Howe, on the other hand, dominated the league for a long time. Afterwards, he played in the WHA and then went back to the NHL in his fifties! He could score, set up his team-mates, was good on the boards, excellent two-way player and was also an enforcer. I would take Howe over Orr anytime.
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Old 12-21-2019, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by samosa4u View Post
I'm starting to see more Americans take interest in hockey cards and Canadian collectibles and I think the biggest reason is the strong US dollar. There were so many of them at the Expo here in Toronto (International Centre) and they were all looking for key vintage rookies. I was talking to a Canadian-dealer friend of mine at the show and I told him how I noticed a shortage of O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookies, and his response was "the Yankees bought them all."

I personally believe that cards issued from 1951 - 1959 are the best. No other decade comes close.
Thanks for starting this thread. Noticing more and more of us canucks on the forum lately which is great. We should do a meetup at spring expo. Everyone here seems to be into the shiny stuff so its good to find other vintage guys!
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:45 PM
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Well if you consider it from a baseball card collector's standpoint, all but a handful of cards are very affordable. I can pick up beautiful career-issued cards of the top 5 players of all time for well under $100. Hell, if you go into the 1970s, $50 will get you a superb card of Howe, Hull, Orr, Plante, Esposito, etc.
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for your post.

What I meant was that Gretzky came along and broke all of Howe's records. He took away Gordie's crown.

Yes, Orr was amazing, but for only a very short time. By the time he was 27 years old, he was done as a player. Howe, on the other hand, dominated the league for a long time. Afterwards, he played in the WHA and then went back to the NHL in his fifties! He could score, set up his team-mates, was good on the boards, excellent two-way player and was also an enforcer. I would take Howe over Orr anytime.
Gordie Howe was in a class by himself when it comes to his legendary durability and longevity. Bobby Orr was amazing for only a very short time, you say. Sadly, you are correct, of course. However, you grossly underestimate his impact on the game, and his stature in the minds of his many fans, as well as students of hockey history. For so many people, it's always one over another; who's the best or who's the greatest?

Had the leagues' players not laid a glove, stick, or skate upon Gretzky, as they brutally did to Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr, Wayne may very well have suffered the same fate as the two Bobbys. Dennis Hull tells some great stories of how wickedly dirty the players were against his brother. When the great Bruin hope Bobby came along, from day 1, the NHL players began dealing with this 18-year-old whippersnapper by the name of Orr. By the end of the 74/75 season, with Bobby just having turned 27, he was, as you said, about finished as a player. Hey, go check out his Wikipedia biography. It's longer than your arm, bub! It may not be as long as Wayne's or Gordie's, but for someone that just lasted 'til he was 27, well, must I speak plainer?

Can't it be enough that guys like Howe, Hull, Orr, or Richard are hockey legends? Must we always argue immaturely as to who's number 1? --- Brian Powell
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:42 PM
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I Really like this thread, with one exception this line is wrong ....

" Howe dominated the game until a man by the name of Wayne Gretzky came along."

In 1972 Gordie was 44 years old, he didnt do much dominating in the 70's
But from 1970 - 1975 Bobby Orr did dominate the NHL
What's really crazy is that Orr's career +/- is higher than Gretzky's. Gretzky had a full and healthy career and Orr had a injury ravaged half career.
I remember an article years ago that unfortunately I cannot find but it was a comparison between Babe Ruth and Bobby Orr and who had the bigger impact on their respective sport. Orr won by a few percentage points.
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:46 PM
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What's really crazy is that Orr's career +/- is higher than Gretzky's. Gretzky had a full and healthy career and Orr had a injury ravaged half career.
I remember an article years ago that unfortunately I cannot find but it was a comparison between Babe Ruth and Bobby Orr and who had the bigger impact on their respective sport. Orr won by a few percentage points.
It's funny because you can tell someone age in Canada by who they think is the Greatest of All Time. My grandfathers era says Howe( or Maurice Richard), my dad's era says Orr hands down and my era(Im 39) says Gretzky or Lemieux. The era after me would prob say Crosby or Mcdavid very soon
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:58 PM
Tomi Tomi is offline
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It's funny because you can tell someone age in Canada by who they think is the Greatest of All Time. My grandfathers era says Howe( or Maurice Richard), my dad's era says Orr hands down and my era(Im 39) says Gretzky or Lemieux. The era after me would prob say Crosby or Mcdavid very soon
Probably true in all sports. I think the more people study the more they get why some of us think the way we do. I grew up in Gretzky's era and I don't think he was the best ever. Greatest scorer yes, greatest "player", no. I do think that because of how great the players before them were that Crosby and Mcdavid will not be looked at the same way. I just don't see the "dominance" from this crop compared to their predecessors.
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:11 AM
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What's really crazy is that Orr's career +/- is higher than Gretzky's. Gretzky had a full and healthy career and Orr had a injury ravaged half career.
Orr was +124 one year, a ridiculous number. He also led the league in +/- 6 times.

Last edited by Jim65; 12-22-2019 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:21 AM
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Orr was +124 one year, a ridiculous number. He also led the league in +/- 6 times.
I agree Bobby Orr is the man.
Boston seems to be lucky in having great players. Orr, Russell, Bird, Williams, Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, and Tom Brady.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:56 AM
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Had the leagues' players not laid a glove, stick, or skate upon Gretzky, as they brutally did to Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr, Wayne may very well have suffered the same fate as the two Bobbys.
I used to be one of the guys who also believed that nobody laid a finger on Gretzky, but after researching it, I realized this wasn't true. He was attacked many times and suffered numerous injuries throughout his career. By the time he went to the Kings, he had serious back issues. And then there was that player - forgot his name - who broke Gretzky's rib. Yes, he didn't take anywhere near the same level of abuse Orr did, but however, that's only because he didn't go out there looking for it. Orr was a far more aggressive player, but that's understandable, because he was a d-man.

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Can't it be enough that guys like Howe, Hull, Orr, or Richard are hockey legends? Must we always argue immaturely as to who's number 1?
I agree with you, my friend. This was supposed to be a thread about the best hockey cards from the 1950s and I don't know how it ended up here - haha! Let's all get back on track here, folks!
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Old 12-22-2019, 04:27 PM
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Great post - thank you for the ride.

I am not going to rank the merits of one great over another great. I don't remember exactly how my father, a long time collegiate coach, put it; regardless of era, you would know their name.
Meaning the numbers will always be fluid based on era, but the player transcends. If Gretz, Howe, Orr, Richard, etc were born in 1999, you'd see them with a sweater on doing what they do best.

Obviously not a name that goes with these guys but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the 1951 Parkhurst Bill Barilko card - yes, a lot of that has to do with 50 Mission Cap for those of you Hip fans out there.

Some day, I shall have one, some day...
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Old 12-26-2019, 12:19 PM
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You guys are lucky if you can remember seeing Orr play.

I know I seen him play when I was very young but unfortunately too much time has past for me to remember those moments.
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Old 12-26-2019, 12:45 PM
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You guys are lucky if you can remember seeing Orr play.

I know I seen him play when I was very young but unfortunately too much time has past for me to remember those moments.
Its funny separating watching players sometimes from their stats. I always thought the russians were absolutely electric. Loved watching Bure, Mogilny and now ovechkin just scorch down the ice and do things with the puck you didn't think are possible.
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Old 12-27-2019, 07:30 AM
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Its funny separating watching players sometimes from their stats. I always thought the russians were absolutely electric. Loved watching Bure, Mogilny and now ovechkin just scorch down the ice and do things with the puck you didn't think are possible.
With the game changing so much the last 5-10 yrs, the talent that is now on display in the NHL is something else.

Adam Foote's son, Nolan, who plays for Team Canada, has one of the quickest/hardest shots that I have ever seen, and he just turned 19.

Watching Marner/Mathews play (to name a couple) in the NHL just cements, imo, how far the game has come, talent wise, in a relatively short period of time.

I still miss that more rough, more hitting type of game I use to see in the NHL but after watching the World Juniors yesterday, I am glad it is not entirely dead.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:29 AM
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It's funny because you can tell someone age in Canada by who they think is the Greatest of All Time. My grandfathers era says Howe( or Maurice Richard), my dad's era says Orr hands down and my era(Im 39) says Gretzky or Lemieux. The era after me would prob say Crosby or Mcdavid very soon
Exactly. Iím guessing Iím closer to your dadís age as Orr was the most dominant player Iíve ever seen. He could control the game and there is plenty of film where heís carrying the puck for 10-20 seconds and nobody could get it off of him.

Now, and I tell this to my buddies on my hockey team, I think McDavid might be the best player, skill wise, that Iíve ever seen. The things he can do at full speed are amazing.
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:15 AM
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List has been revised*
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