“In Action” Inaction

1982-83 O-Pee-Chee card #40 – Mel Bridgman In Action

Mel Bridgman In ActionFile this under false advertising.

At the top of the card it states – no, it practically screams – in uppercase letters “IN ACTION”. But clearly, Mel Bridgman is anything but “in action”. Maybe O-Pee-Chee erroneously added a space between the two words, and really meant to say “inaction” As in, Bridgman isn’t really doing anything except looking somewhat perplexed – perhaps by the misnomer that labels the top of his trading card.

The “In Action” cards were peppered throughout the 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee hockey set. Each card highlighted a particularly great game for the player pictured on the front. Bridgman’s action-less “In Action” card tells us about one cold, dark night in Michigan:

DETROIT, Jan. 21 – Center Mel Bridgman exploded for four points, all of them in the first period, tonight as the Calgary Flames routed the Detroit Red Wings 7-4. Bridgman’s goal, his 23rd of the season, came at the 15:34 mark. Earlier he had set up a pair of goals by Ken Houston and a tally by Jim Peplinski.

Wow. The text on the back of the card is more exciting than the photo on the front.

Mel Bridgman In ActionSurprisingly, though, most of the “In Action” cards actually use an action photograph, instead of the standard “player standing around” photo that we knew and loved in the 1980s.

What really irks me about these “In Action” cards, though, is that the photos used are not from the game the card describes; they are just some random photo that O-Pee-Chee decided to use. For example, Wayne Gretzky’s card talks about a great game he played against the Philadelphia Flyers, and yet that card shows him playing against the Chicago Blackhawks.

What would have been really interesting is if photos from the game mentioned were used, joined with a reproduction of the headline from the next day’s local newspaper. That would have tied-in well with the “scrap of paper” design used on the backside of the card. (And before you say it – yes, I am drawing inspiration from the “Gretzky breaks Howe’s point record” cards from the 1990-91 Topps and O-Pee-Chee sets.)

After being traded from the Flyers early in the 1981-82 campaign, Bridgman played in 63 games for the Flames. Despite scoring 26 goals and 49 assists in that span, this was still the best action shot that money could buy. Oh well…at least it’s better than his card from the next year’s set.


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

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