Monday, February 27, 2012

Early 1970s OPC Six-Pack

I think this is my last post from one of my sportlots onslaughts, I have another onslaught or two but I don't think I'll blog about every single card like I have with this one. I don't feel like making one of them about 57 Baseball cards from 1972 Topps, maybe I'll hit some of the highlights from that group. Anyway these six Hockey cards from O-Pee-Chee are from the 1971-72 and 1972-73 sets. For team counters there are Two Sabres, Two Blues a Red Wing and a King.

1971-72 OPC Hockey 139 Bill Collins Red Wings

One of the things I like about OPC cards better than their Topps counterparts is the cleaner backs they have. Even though the designs are nearly identical the OPC cards are usually on white card stock or a lighter bleached card stock which makes reading their backs easier than on the Topps. (Sorry I don't have any back scans of these cards here, I do have an earlier back scan of my Topps vs. O-Pee-Chee post. Those cards are a bad example because both look awful in the back image scans. Sigh! Anyway Bill here I don't think is any relation to that musician guy Phil Collins. Just a typical upper body portrait shot with a color background here.

1971-72 OPC Hockey 162 Steve Atkinson Sabres

Here is Mr. Atkinson weighing in from his diet (sorry I wanted to make some kind of Atkinson Diet joke). We have a head and shoulders "bust" shot here with a plain color background. The cards with these pics look like mini portraits you might find in a family living room or hallway. I think that is what attracted me to this set at first. I really haven't paid much attention to the style trends of the jerseys (sweaters) over the years but the 70s did seem to have a few of these "swashbuckling" front laced jerseys instead of the full pullover heavy sweaters of old.

1971-72 OPC Hockey 225 Peter McDuffe Blues

Ah here we have a goalie almost in full gear, he doesn't have his face mask but if he did you wouldn't be able to tell who he was now would you? Man Mr. McDuffe (is the end "e" pronounced or not? McDuff or McDuff-ie?) looks like he's still a teenager in this photo even though he would have been 23/24 at the time. Part of the illusion is the big goalie knee/leg pads and the way he is crouched over a little.

Moving upward and onward to:

1972-73 OPC Hockey 35 Barclay Plager Blues

Growing up I had a few of the Topps version of these cards, my brother had a few more I think, but sadly most of those from "both collections" disappeared over the years. These OPC versions are a good example of the cleaner backs. For some reason I have always liked the design of this set even with the "off centering" of the border to allow the team name to run vertically down (or is it up?) the left-hand side. I could have sworn they alternated left/right but looking at a gallery of the set on (hmm I think you need to register to see the "library") it appears they only have the team name on the left-side and top for the landscaped cards. We also have the solid color backgrounds which some colors work well others look blah.

1972-73 OPC Hockey 182 Rick Martin IA Sabres

 Speaking of landscaped cards here is one of them. It is one of the IA (In-Action) cards they also seem to have used the landscaping for the Stanley Cup and championship games cards and a few of the All-Star cards. Here we have Rick Martin of the Sabres no relation to the Latino singing heart-throb Ricky Martin.

 1972-73 OPC Hockey 193 Harry Howell Kings

As I said somewhere above these cards have the solid color backgrounds some which work, like the green here and some that don't. Also I think they work better with headshots and upper body shots than they do with the full body posed shots.I don't have enough of either set, or the time to study research to see how they determined which color to put with which player/card. It looks like it might have been a by team thing.

I need to concentrate on building these sets both in the OPC and Topps versions.


  1. The 'e' is pronounced (McDuff-ee). :)

    Any Topps/OPC hockey cards between 1961-62 and 1972-73 have the background colour chosen by team. After '72-73, they pretty much abandoned the coloured background and either showed an action shot or whatever photographer's backdrop/concrete block the player was standing in front of.

    I think OPC went for the lighter card stock because they used a much smaller font in order to get the same text printed in two languages in the same space. In 1971 baseball and 1971-72 hockey they completely reconfigured the backs, but I think that was too much work. Easier to shrink the text and use lighter card.

  2. The exception would be '69-70, where everyone is shown in front of the wall save for half a dozen cards mounted on a yellow backdrop.

  3. 1976ers,
    Thank you for all the info. Glad I was leaning toward the "e" being pronounced. I hadn't thought about the font size relating to the lighter card stock.

  4. That's just my speculation, but I think it makes sense. If you look at old OPC baseball, the card stock is actually a little darker before the cards became bilingual.

  5. Nice cards, I am a sucker for any vintage hockey.

  6. these fellas look way too happy to be hockey players!!! especially Collins!!