For my first installment of “The Lost Cards,” we will look at a card that was featured heavily in promotional materials, as well as on packaging, but never made it into anyone’s collection. Former NHL goalie Kari Takko almost had a card in 1990-91 Pro Set Series 2.
Promotional ads for 1990-91 Pro Set Series 2 showed the Minnesota North Stars goalie:
The same “mock up” cards were also featured on the packaging:
Here we have 5 player cards and an Oilers Team Statistics card (that doesn’t exist either–but that’s a story for a later date). The player cards are of North Stars goalie Kari Takko. Bruins’ winger Nevin Markwart, Flames center Jiri Hrdina, Canucks’ winger Stan Smyl and Oilers’ winger Kelly Buchberger.
An interesting note is that none of the player cards shown use the proper names or statistics–that is why all of the names are obscured. For example, the photo of Smyl appears on Igor Larionov’s card. The Takko card shows the text “MO” at the bottom, meaning that Pro Set used Mike Modano’s card when making this mock-up.
Markwart, Hrdina, Smyl and Buchberger all had cards in Pro Set Series 2–although their cards used different photos than what was shown in the ad and on the box.
But Takko was not included in Series 2.Here are three possible reasons why:
1. Pro Set wanted to get a more up-to-date photo.
Sometime after the 1987-88 season, Takko switched from the “birdcage” style mask to the hybrid style. Wanting a more recent photo is probably not the reason Takko didn’t get a card, though, as Pro Set had no problem using outdated photos for other players. (Both Denis Savard and Robert Nordmark both use photos from two seasons back).
2. Takko was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in November 1990.
Pro Set might have decided against including Takko because he was traded to the Oilers, so any photo of him as a North Stars player would be out of date. This is also unlikely, because many cards–including the (real) card of Hrdina—show the player with their old team and have text on the front noting their trade.
3. Pro Set Series 2 was originally supposed to have more cards.
This might be the real reason. Series 1 had 405 cards, and it is likely that Series 2 was originally slated to have around the same number of cards. Pro Set’s 1990 football set had a total of 800 cards between Series 1 and Series 2. It is likely that Pro Set wanted their hockey set to be just as big–remember, the bigger the set, the more packs you had to buy to complete it. Plus, I can name many players that could have been in Series 2 but were not. If and when a decision was made to make Series 2 only 300 cards, Takko–who was then the third-string goalie for the Oilers–likely didn’t make the cut.
As you might have guessed, it annoyed me that Pro Set did not make a Kari Takko card. There it was, right on the wax box, mocking me–a card that I could see, but not have. So, I decided to give Mr. Takko his due and make a few custom cards.
This is probably what Takko’s card would have looked like if he wasn’t traded, showing the netminder with his newer style of mask.
If Pro Set Series 2 had been released a little later (to get photos from trades during the first few months of the 90-91 season), and had more than 300 cards, then Takko’s supposed card would have used an Oilers photo.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■