1984-85 Topps card #73 – Dino Ciccarelli
Back in 1985, I started collecting baseball cards – mainly because the other kids at school were buying them too. I was ten years old at the time, and usually I’d watch the Cubs if it pre-empted my afterschool cartoons. The 1985 Topps Baseball Set had a lot of cards – 792 to be exact – and I had accumulated hundreds in a short amount of time, trying in vain to complete my set.
One day, perhaps around April of ’85, a friend of my Mom was over. He had just purchased several packs of 1984-85 Topps Hockey cards. He let me open a pack. Inside were cards of players who I had never heard of, playing on teams I could not pronounce (the Can-OOKS; the NORD-ik-WEES). Once I showed him the cards that came in the pack, he told me that I could keep them.
I took the pack’s-worth of hockey cards I was given, and tossed them in the shoebox with my baseball cards. One year later, in 1986, with the Chicago Bears winning the Super Bowl, I would turn my attention to collecting football cards. My baseball card collection, along with the rogue hockey cards, would soon be forgotten.
Sometime after that, I’d find the hockey cards again when sifting through my baseball cards. I had no use for these hockey cards. I contemplated tearing them up. I actually had the small stack of them in my hands, and wondered if I could tear all 15 of them in half at once. I then decided that I’d hang onto the hockey cards. Who knows, maybe one day I’d meet someone who would want them.
Oh, the irony.
After finding hockey on cable TV in January of 1989 – much like people find God in prison – I would quickly and irrevocably become a die-hard fan. Soon afterwards, I would dig out my baseball cards, thinking that I could trade them at a card shop for some hockey cards. Lo and behold, what should I find but the same hockey cards I wanted to tear up two years before. I had completely forgotten about these, but now they were of more value to me than all of the baseball cards in that old Nike shoebox.
Even though these would be the first hockey cards in my hockey collection, I don’t remember all fifteen of them. I do remember a few of them, though for stranger reasons:
- Stan Smyl – Funny name that sounds like “smile”
- Colin Campbell – The same name as the conference the Blackhawks played in
- Rick Kehoe – Sounded like “keyhole”
- Dan Bouchard – Played on that unpronounceable team from Quebec
- Bobby Smith – Can’t get more white bread of a name than that
- Rick Middleton – Whoa! That dude ain’t wearing a helmet!
But my favorite of the lot was none other than super-pest Dino Ciccarelli. He had a nice Italian-sounding last name, the first name of Fred Flintstone’s dog, and his on-ice annoyingness was legendary – even on par with Esa Tikkanen and Claude Lemieux. Plus, he was on the North Stars – a cool name for a team that had awesome uniforms. For those offbeat reasons, this was my favorite among the inaugural hockey cards in my collection. Therefore, I’ll credit it as my first ever hockey card.