Card of the Week: Paper Sabre

1974-75 Topps #24 – Jacques Lemaire

1974-75_Topps_Jacques_LemaireIt 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.

1974-75_Topps_Jacques_Lemaire

The only problem? Lemaire was never actually traded to the Sabres.

Whoops!

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.

In an alternate timeline, this might have happened.
In an alternate timeline, this might have happened.

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.

1974-75 Topps card #24 - Jacques Lemaire

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. ■

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

3 thoughts on “Card of the Week: Paper Sabre”

  1. This is funny and timely as I just came across this card at a recent show. I couldn't believe he was ever with the Sabres, but figured I missed some short-term trade. Wow, that is some weirdness though.

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