Saturday, March 20, 2010

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Legends #582 Dino Ciccarelli

I also picked up this - the base card from the set that produced the '79 style Retro card.

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro #582 Dino Ciccarelli

Following the postings of my personal favorite set (the 1979-80 set), I figured I should post this Dino Ciccarelli card from last year.  I found this while cruising eBay last month for North Stars cards.  I guess the 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee set had a parallel "Retro" set, which copped the design of the 1979-80 issue.  Sadly, it appears Dino was the only North Star in the set (though I did also pick up a Mikko Koivu card from the same seller).

1979-80 Topps #206 Bobby Smith (RC)

Here it is.  Sure, it would have been nice to own a Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr rookie card, but when I was a kid my most wanted hockey card was Bobby Smith's rookie.  Now, at the ripe old age of 32, I finally have it!  And it's a beauty, eh?

1979-80 Topps #22 Ron Zanussi

1979-80 Topps #177 Tom Younghans

The tiny little green spot at the middle of the bottom border was probably the biggest blemish in my entire '79 Topps North Stars team set.  Amazing.

1979-80 Topps #36 Tim Young

1979-80 Topps #11 Greg Smith

As someone who grew up in the '80s, it's still weird for me to see pictures of anyone other than Brian Bellows wearing the #23 sweater for the North Stars.

1979-80 Topps #93 Glen Sharpley

1979-80 Topps #52 Gary Sargent

Speaking of injury-shortened careers...

Interestingly enough, perhaps the most famous injury-shortened North Stars career was that of Henry Boucha, who happens to be Gary Sargent's cousin.

1979-80 Topps #64 Steve Payne (RC)

Payner was one of the most naturally gifted players to ever lace up skates for the North Stars.  It's a shame injuries ended his career so prematurely.  I didn't even realize I was getting his rookie card when I purchased this team set!

1979-80 Topps #118 J.P. Parise

1979-80 Topps #136 Gilles Meloche

1979-80 Topps #231 Brad Maxwell

This is more like it!  Brad Maxwell with a 'stache.

1979-80 Topps #151 Kris Manery

I certainly do not intend any disrespect to Kris Manery, but this is the least interesting card in the '79 North Stars team set.  Not only is he the player in the set of whom I'm easily the least familiar with, but it's also the only non-action shot in the set.

1979-80 Topps #104 Al MacAdam

I loved Al MacAdam.  Actually, he kind of scared me when I was a kid, but I love him now.  Possibly my all-time favorite North Stars mustache.

1979-80 Topps #219 Mike Fidler

1979-80 Topps #192 Per-Olov Brasar

1979-80 Topps #251 Minnesota North Stars Team Checklist

The 1979-80 set has always been my favorite set of hockey cards.  Never mind that I had never owned a single card from the set until last week.

The dominating blue borders were unlike any Topps/O-Pee-Chee outings that I had seen in any sport.  From a big picture standpoint, the set included the biggest card in the hobby (Wayne Gretzky's rookie card).  Locally, my most wanted hockey card was Bobby Smith's rookie card.

I had my eyes peeled for a nice '79 North Stars team set ever since I started going nuts with this project several weeks back, and I finally found one on eBay.  I got a great deal on it, and it was advertised as "EX-MT" condition.  When it arrived, I was stunned to find every card in gorgeous NM-MT condition.  This team set is one of the cornerstones of my budding collection.

1991-92 Score Canadian #337 NHL Brothers: Aaron & Neal Broten

The sports card explosion of the early 1990s saw the card manufacturers adding multiple "subsets" to their sets.  Nobody was more subset-crazed than Score, who were always looking for themes they could exploit to sneak multiple different cards of star players into their product.  Even as a kid, I usually found these sets pretty silly, but I always loved this card (for obvious reasons).

1990-91 Score #120 Mike Modano (RC) (Autographed)

My autographed Mike Modano rookie card, obtained at a card show at the Thunderbird Hotel in 1991, along with this card from Brian Bellows.

1984-85 Topps #71 Brian Bellows (Autographed)

In the spring of 1991, near the beginning of the North Stars' exciting run toward the Stanley Cup Finals, I went to a card show at the legendary Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota, right next to the Met Center.  The big attraction to this particular show was the in-person appearances and autograph signings by Brian Bellows and Mike Modano.  I met both and had each sign a card for me.

1990-91 Upper Deck #46 Mike Modano (RC) PSA 9

1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier #74 Mike Modano (RC) PSA 9

1990-91 O-Pee-Chee #348 Mike Modano (RC) PSA 9

Continuing with my handful of North Stars PSA graded cards, I did buy a few graded Mike Modano rookie cards several years back, which I still have.  This and the next couple of posts will feature those.

1984-85 O-Pee-Chee #302 Stewart Gavin PSA 9

Any time I purchase something on eBay, I always make sure to check the seller's other listings before checking out.  Just in case there's something else I might want, I figure it's best to combine shipping.  When I bought my '84 PSA Broten, I noticed the seller also had a Stew Gavin card from the same set at a pretty reasonable price.  Since I'm a big Gavin fan, I nabbed it.

1984-85 O-Pee-Chee #96 Neal Broten PSA 9

Since I'm trying to keep this collection affordable, I have to be careful to not go overboard buying PSA graded cards on eBay.  However, if I was going to spend a few extra dollars on a nice graded card, this was the one.  I badly needed a replacement for my original 1984-85 Topps Neal Broten card.  It was the first Broten card I owned as a kid, and it has the creases and the pin-hole through the top to show for it.

A nice PSA graded rookie card of Broten remains a tad out of my price range, but I did find this one, which holds even more sentimental value for me.

1991-92 Upper Deck #271 Dirk Graham

What?  A Chicago Blackhawks card on a North Stars page?  Blasphemy!

Well, not really.  As I wrote when I created the Dirk Graham fan page on Facebook, he was one of my favorite North Stars when I was a kid, and I was upset when he was dealt to our arch-rivals for Curt Fraser.  Looking back on the trade over 20 years later, I'm even more pissed.  Fraser was a complete bust for us.  Meanwhile, Graham wore the captain's "C" in Chicago for several years, won a Selke Trophy, and helped lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Surprisingly, this was the only Graham card I found in my initial sweep through my old hockey cards.  Finding some North Stars cards of his is a definite priority.

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee #61 Stewart Gavin

Stew Gavin was one of my favorites on the 1991 Campbell Conference championship team.  Therefore, I always have an eye out for his pre-North Stars cards.  Getting to add a sweet Hartford Whalers card to the collection is a bonus!

1971-72 Topps #44 Bob Nevin

The last of the five singles I purchased at Three Stars.

1971-72 Topps #101 Ted Hampson

Also from Three Stars.

1972-73 O-Pee-Chee #57 Danny Grant

Another one found at Three Stars.

1972-73 O-Pee-Chee #47 Jude Drouin

 Also from the Three Stars visit, this Jude Drouin card appears on second glance to be slightly miscut at the bottom.  I think this was fairly common in older O-Pee-Chee cards, and the card is still beautiful, so I'm not sweating it too much.

1968-69 Topps #50 Wayne Connelly

One observation about jumping back in to collecting after a long hiatus: the internet sure has killed the local card shop.  I drove to Roseville today to check out a place called Three Stars Sportscards.  It was a classic mom 'n pop shop with crap scattered everywhere.  They didn't have much for North Stars cards, but I found a few things fairly cheap, including this slightly off-center but otherwise beautiful card of Wayne Connelly.

1996-97 Upper Deck Be A Player Signatures #S6 Basil McRae

Here's another new arrival from eBay.  An autographed Basil McRae card for a buck... how could I pass it up?

1981-82 Topps #W105 Dino Ciccarelli (RC)

I guess I might as well start with the rookie card of one of my favorites.  I recently acquired this in a ridiculously underpriced 1981-82 Topps North Stars team set on eBay.  I'll get the rest of the set up eventually, but Dino's a pretty good start!

Mission Statement

I actively collected sports cards from approximately 1982 to 1992 (ages four through 15).  Aside from randomly treating myself to a pack of cards at Target, I haven't done much collecting throughout my adult life.

Around the beginning of 2010, the Minnesota North Stars fan page I started on Facebook started taking off.  I began creating fan pages for individual North Stars players and communicating with other fans who still shared a passion for the team that was taken from us 17 years ago.

While creating the individual player pages, I had the idea to retrieve some of my North Stars cards from my old bedroom at my parents' house so I could scan them for photos to use on the pages.

I got hooked.

I bought a couple of team sets dirt cheap on eBay.  I then declared to my wife, "I think I'm going to try to collect every North Stars card ever made." 

After a reluctant, "Okaaaay?" from her, I went on to explain, "They only existed for 26 years.  For the bulk of that time, there was only one major card manufacturer.  There were stars on the Stars, but they never had a Hall of Famer who played the bulk of his career for the team.  And there is a finite number of cards out there.  It's not like trying to collect every Twins card, where literally hundreds of new cards come out each year.  This is an achievable long-term goal."

So, here goes.  I'm starting off by scanning the cards presently in my collection and sharing them here.  Once that's done, I'll repost as I acquire new additions to the collection.  As for what I'm looking for, the first priority is to acquire all actual North Stars cards.  However, I will also include and, in some cases, search out non-North Stars cards of former North Stars players.

If anyone happens to stumble across this page and wants to help, feel free to get in touch.  Keep in mind, though, that I'm trying to do this as cheap as possible.