Question: Your own personal Joe Shlabotnik

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My sister clipped this comic from the newspaper and gave it to me. I think we all can relate to Charlie Brown here. I know I can.

Ironically, it was my sister who always got the one card I wanted-needed-had-to-have when we were kids. Whoever was my personal “Joe Shlabotnik” at the time. Looking back is a bit fuzzy, but I remember two occurrences of this phenomenon: 

#1 – 1989-90 Topps Pittsburgh Penguin sticker

In my freshman year of high school, I bought a box of 1989-90 Topps (36 packs), got the complete 198-card set but was 1 sticker shy of completing the 33-sticker set.

My sister bought 4 packs and got the one sticker I was missing: #16 – Pittsburgh Penguins. 

I probably traded 20 or so various 1980s Penguins cards for this logo sticker. Negotiation was not my strong suit when I was a kid. Fortunately, I was in honors algebra that year, because 2 years later…

#2 – 1991-92 Upper Deck Eric Lindros Canada Cup

Bad luck struck again in fall of 1991. Now a Junior in high school, I bought 2 boxes (72 packs) of 1991-92 Upper Deck hockey cards. The one card I did not get was this short-printed card of Eric Lindros, which had a high Beckett value of $15 at the time. 

My sister bought one pack and got this card. I am not exaggerating.

Both my sister and I were in honors math classes, but I’m 2 years older. I saved all my honors Algebra homework from my freshmen year, and ended up trading a semester’s worth for this card.  I got to complete my set, and my sister got all the answers. 

My sister and I talked during the Sharks-Canucks game last night. She could not remember any specific times when she got a card that I needed–she just remembered that this was a regular occurrence when we were kids.

Question: What card was your “Joe Shlabotnik” when you were young? Did you have to overpay–or trade too much–to get it?


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 “Question: Your own personal Joe Shlabotnik”

  1. My first experience was trying to get a 1991-92 Pro Set Scott Niedermayer CC4. I must have bought like two or three boxes of that and never could get any CC cards other than the stupid Draft Picks one or The Mask. My Step-father bought a few packs here and there and seemed to pull Falloons and Niedermayers at will. I would eventually trade for them but like yourself, I was a poor negotiator as a kid.

  2. Bob Sauve – 1980-81 OPC. I had to trade a bunch of cards I didn't even have dupes of to get it. It was easier to replace the rest of them than to find another Sauve.

    For whatever reason, Stan Mikita is the bane of my vintage collecting experience. No matter what the set, Stan will be one of the last handful of cards I need. On the rare occasions where I actually have a Stan Mikita already, it will need upgrading.

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