The COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed everything, from “pausing” the 2019-20 NHL season, to postponing the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. It has even delayed the induction of new members into the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame. But the wait is finally over.
A Wayne Gretzky rookie card recently sold at auction for $1.29 million dollars. Meanwhile, the 10 cards on this list would only cost you $5 combined. Yet, they are all priceless in each of their own, awful ways.
So here they are, the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame: Class of 2020.
The Bad Paint Job Category
What’s a card company to do when a player gets traded to a new team? Patiently wait for that player to be photographed in his new uniform? Hell no! The companies took matters into their own hands and would repaint the photo so that it kind of looked like the player was with his new team — if you were drunk and the room was full of smoke.
1989-90 Topps #63: Randy Cunneyworth
Or maybe the person who painted over poor Randy Cunneyworth’s picture was drunk and in a room full of smoke. They recolored Cunneyworth’s Penguins jersey and glove, and even the stick(?) for some reason. Extra points for painting the SHER-WOOD logo on the stick while excluding sleeve numbers on the jersey. Cunneyworth looks like an impressionist painting by Paul Cézanne, if Cézanne painted pictures of hockey players instead of guys playing cards. (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2015.)
1983-84 O-Pee-Chee #78 Guy Chouinard
This Guy Chouinard hockey card from 1983-84 answers a very important question: at what point should you give up and find a better picture? In this case, the answer is NEVER, because THIS is the picture that O-Pee-Chee started with:
Yup, someone decided that it would be time well spent repainting a mediocre photo of Guy Chouinard — and even go through the trouble of recreating the back half of his head — than just finding a different photo and painting over that instead.
At least the artist gave Guy some sweet flow coming out of the back of his bucket.
The Bad Photograph Category
Just remember, not only was someone PAID for taking these pictures, but someone was PAID to select these pictures to use on hockey cards, too.
1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA #3: Anders Hedberg
Anders Hedberg looks like an ax murderer, ready to do some “slashing” — and not the kind that only gets a two-minute penalty. It is as if the Swede is reenacting Jack Nicholson’s famous “Here’s Johnny!” scene from the movie “The Shining” But this card came out two years prior, so maybe Jack Nicholson was reenacting this Anders Hedberg hockey card.
1997-98 Upper Deck #67: Mike Grier
Everything about this photo is wrong. The low angle makes Mike Grier’s hands look huge — like he has long, skinny E.T. fingers — as we gaze straight up into his giant nostrils. The fact that he’s scarfing down pizza isn’t very flattering, either. We almost didn’t notice the ugly couch that Grier is sitting on…except that we did. Guys, this is NOT how to take a selfie for your online dating profile. (First mentioned — in the comments — on Puck Junk in 2017.)
1991-92 Upper Deck #440: Star Rookie Checklist
Upper Deck really went off the deep end with this card, which pictures Rangers’ prospects Doug Weight, Steven Rice and Tony Amonte, having a little fun in the sun. It’s a silly photo, but it doesn’t hurt anyone, so why aren’t photos like this used on cards anymore? Well, back in 2017, an Upper Deck spokesman addressed that:
Today, these [types of photos] are a source of embarrassment for Upper Deck and the players who appeared on these cards. 🙂 I get a lot of grief about this card in particular.
Nearly 30 years later, and Upper Deck still can’t live this card down. (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2017.)
The Bad Idea Category
Hockey cards so bad that they shouldn’t have been made.
1996-97 Fleer Metal Universe #53: Curtis Joseph
The entire 1996-97 Fleer Metal Universe set falls into the “so bad it’s good” category of hockey cards, but some of the cards are really bad. Perhaps the worst is of Edmonton Oilers goalie Curtis Joseph being attacked by a swarm of flying eyeballs. This card is pure nightmare fuel. (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2016.)
1991-92 Parkhurst: Santa Claus insert card
Unlike the awesome Santa Claus card that was found in Pro Set football packs — which pictured St. Nick decorating a tree with sports cards — this Santa card from 1991-92 Parkhurst Hockey is lame. Santa Claus is looking at Peter Nedved’s Pro Set rookie card under a magnifying glass; no doubt wondering if it would fetch a PSA 10 grade so he could then flip it for $1.29 million at the next Heritage auction.
Meanwhile, more Pro Set trading cards fall into an open bag; presumably to be put on someone’s doorstep and then set on fire. Former Pro Set President Lud Denny — who bankrupted the company with his lavish spending — is pictured as the elf on the poster. But what makes this card really suck is the text on the back in part states:
…for the less fortunate, the holidays are simply a time when the weather turns cold. For some, there are no loved ones to visit, no presents to exchange. And, sadly, for some children St. Nicholas never arrives.
This holiday season, remember those who need more than ‘best wishes’ for a prosperous new year. Your kindness may prove to be the greatest gift of all.
Wow, that’s…harsh. Merry Christmas? (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2008.)
1993 Classic Superheroes #SS2 Manon Rheaume
Manon Rheaume as a superhero? This needs some explaining. Back in the early 1990s, trading card company Classic put cards of Rheume in any set they could, even if it didn’t make sense. And let me tell you, her inclusion in this set doesn’t make any sense. This card was found in the Deathwatch 2000 set, which was based on a comic book crossover series of c-list superheroes. (Remember CyberRAD? Or Megalith? That’s what I thought.) And while the card is illustrated by legendary comic book artist Neal Adams, the awkward way Rheaume is shown holding a goalie stick and the giant hockey puck ricocheting off of her chest makes this one of the strangest cards from the 1990s. (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2012.)
The Bad Mistake Category
When a card company makes an error that cannot be forgiven.
1974-75 Topps #24: Jacques Lemaire
At first glance, you would almost think that Jacques Lemaire actually did play for the Buffalo Sabres. Topps did a really good job of doctoring his photo. But this belongs in the Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame for two reasons. First — obviously — because Lemaire never played for the Sabres, even though Topps went through all the trouble to make us think so. This card must have been really confusing to anyone who pulled it from a pack during the 1974-75 season.
The bigger problem with this card is the myth that surrounds it. Everyone just assumed that the reason why Lemaire’s photo was altered was due to trade rumors in 1974. Even the Hockey Hall of Fame believes that story, stating on its website:
Although he never played for the Sabres, there were strong speculations that he would be dealt to the club and a card was subsequently made.
But the rumors about the rumors…are just rumors.. The real reason Lemaire is pictured with the Sabres is that Topps confused Jacques Lemaire with Jacques Caron, who was traded by the Canucks to the Sabres in September of 1974. Most likely, someone at the card company thought it was Lemaire, not Caron, that went to Buffalo and greenlit the traded card that nobody asked for. (First mentioned on Puck Junk in 2016.)
The Bad Head Swap Category
Abuse of scissors comes as no surprise.
1971-72 O-Pee-Chee #168: Larry Hillman
Larry Hillman looks like he’s sitting on the toilet– which is alarming because he is also looking us right in the eye while he’s doing it. Ewww!
In reality, Hillman’s head was cut from his photo and pasted onto the photo of teammate Dave Dryden. Now, Dryden looks normal doing the goalie crouch because he’s a goalie. But Hillman just looks…constipated. (First mentioned –in the comments — on Puck Junk in 2018.)
So, who do you think should make the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame next year? Leave your nomination in the comments below.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■