I never saw Tony-O play. He was my Aunt’s favorite player back in the 1970s. When I got into hockey, she loaned me her Tony Esposito Blackhawks jersey. So, Esposito was a personal favorite of mine. At age 15, I saved up enough money to buy a Tony Esposito rookie card.
And now, over two decades later, I finally picked up the next few cards from the Hall of Fame netminder’s career.
This beauty of a card is from the 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set. It has near-perfect corners, great centering and no creases or stains. I would almost get it graded, if I was into that sort of thing. (Still, I might consider it). This was Esposito’s second card.
Esposito had another card in the 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set. This card uses a different photograph and notes that he is the Calder Trophy Winner as the best rookie in the 1969-70 season. The corners are not as good as the above card–and this one has a bit more “yellowing” in the borders–but otherwise it is a nice card to look at. Notice the sweat dripping off of Esposito’s chin; the photo must have been taken right after a game.
My third Tony-O card is from the 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set. I have a few copies of the Topps version of this card, so I was glad to find its O-Pee-Chee counterpart. Great corners, great gloss, no creases or stains. Esposito’s neatly-combed hair leads me to believe that this picture was taken before stepping on the ice for a game or for practice.
BONUS: Kicking it back to 1970-71, it’s the Calder Trophy. This isn’t really a Tony Esposito card, though he is listed as the most recent winner (’69-70) on the back of the card, which also notes that the winner of the Calder Trophy receives $1,500, while the runner-up gets $750. I wonder if that was in Canadian or American dollars.