Fan de-ices missing hockey card mystery

MEMORABILIA

March 27, 1994|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Sun Staff Writer

From 1951-52 to 1963-64, hockey fans collected Parkhurst cards.

Except in the 1956-57 season, when there were no hockey cards, Parkhurst's or anyone else's.

Next month collectors can begin filling that gap with the Parkhurst "missing link" series.

Brian Price, a lifelong hockey fan and collector, is the guiding force behind the cards, which will be produced by Upper Deck.

Two card dealers purchased the rights to the Parkhurst name in 1986. Price got involved in 1990 and now has the controlling interest. New Parkhurst cards have been produced for the past three seasons, the first two by Pro Set and this season by Upper Deck.

Price began collecting at 6 and went back to his cards in the mid-1970s and began completing his sets. "I decided it was a passion," he says. "When the opportunity arose to do something with this [missing set], I seized it."

He pored over statistics from the 1956-57 season, picking 20 to 22 players from each of the six NHL teams to get 134 players and coaches. There also are cards for league leaders, all-stars and the 1955-56 playoffs, for a total of 180. In a 1990s twist, there are 40 insert cards: future stars, autographed cards and pop-ups.

Otherwise, the set is a look backward but without the gum.

"I think it's exactly the way the set would have looked . . . paper stock, wax wrappers," he says.

Price made blow-ups of 1955-56 and 1957-58 cards and invited 10 collectors to help with a design. He sought advice from people at Beckett and got pictures "everywhere."

"It was difficult getting pictures of them as juniors," he says. He found his picture of Eddie Shack on the wall of the Guelph (Ontario) Arena.

Because there's no license involved, he had to sign everyone to a contract. That meant contacting the men or their heirs. He dealt with 22 estates, including those of Tim Horton, Doug

Harvey, Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk.

Reaction was positive. "I networked with the players," he says. "It was very, very rewarding." Only one thing never turned up: the reason Parkhurst didn't make the cards.

Price says he tracked down George Kennedy, the company's former president, and asked him.

"His answer was, 'We didn't?' " says Price. Kennedy had no idea.

Price suspects it could have been over money. He says Parkhurst stopped making cards after the 1963-64 season because teams were demanding $15,000 each.

It's 1954 again

Topps is bringing back its 1954 baseball set (minus the first and last cards -- of Ted Williams, who's doing his own cards these days) in an Archives edition. There are 248 reprint cards from 1954, as well as eight new "prospect" cards for Roberto Clemente, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Grim, Camilo Pascual, Herb Score, Elston Howard, Bill Virdon and Don Zimmer. Insert cards are Hank Aaron autographed gold cards, redemption cards for actual Topps 1954 cards and full sets of ToppsGold Archives cards. Each pack of 12 includes one Topps Gold Archive card. There are no factory sets. Look for them in April.

Triple Play returns

Donruss is bringing back its fun-oriented Triple Play baseball cards in April. The 300-card set is supplemented by three insert sets with a total of 33 cards. One insert set explains how eight teams got their nicknames and features a star player with a photo of the team mascot.

Cal Ripken represents the Orioles. There are 10 players from each team and a 15-card rookie subset.

Coming events

Through Oct. 31, "Sheriff and His 'Boys,' " exhibit on Sheriff Fowble Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.

April 22-23, Professional Sports Equipment and Memorabilia Show, Econo-Lodge (I-695 and Route 40, Exit 15A), April 22 (6 to 10 p.m.), April 23 (10 to 5 p.m.), (202) 780-1212.

CARD OF THE WEEK

Fleer is putting an insert card in each 14-card pack of the second series of Ultra Hockey. There are 250 basic cards and 60 insert cards, including the national teams of the United States and Canada, with 20 cards each. There are more than 1,000 randomly inserted autographed Adam Oates cards.

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