1974-75 Topps #24 – Jacques Lemaire
It is not uncommon for a trading card company to sometimes spell a player’s name wrong. And occasionally, a card company might flub the player’s position, such as listing him as a defenseman when he’s really a forward. Heck, we all make mistakes. But showing a player on a team he never played for? Well, that’s a mistake that you would have to go out of your way to make. And that’s exactly what card company Topps did in 1974, when they pictured Jacques Lemaire with the Buffalo Sabres — a team that he never played for.
The true reasons for this error is unknown. Allegedly, during the summer of 1974, someone at Topps thought that Lemaire, a Montreal Canadiens center, was going to be traded to Buffalo. So the card company went through the trouble to have an artist paint Sabres’ colors over Lemaire’s Habs sweater for the photo used on his 1974-75 trading card. They did a pretty good job too; at first glance this card looks like a halfway decent close-up of the future Hall of Famer.
The only problem? Lemaire was never actually traded to the Sabres.
But picture for a moment if the trade did happen. Imagine Lemaire skating on Buffalo’s famed “French Connection” line with Gilbert Perreault and Rick Martin.
That trio would have been even more devastating to opponents, and Lemaire might have had a 50-goal season once in his career — an achievement he yearned for, according to the little cartoon on the back of his erroneous 1974-75 Topps card.
This piece of paper hints at what might have been. Still, this card is a true oddity, as it shows a player with a team he had no business with whatsoever.
So, did Topps learn their lesson? Nope! Five years later, they would repeat this mistake with a card of Dale McCourt. ■