Thursday, March 8, 2012

Back Checking - Al MacInnis

One card I added to my collection in the last year was an Al MacInnis rookie. I have always wanted this card and one reason for the desire was the fact that I haven't seen many in my life. I don't think the card is super rare, but it is the ONLY rookie for Al as he didn't make an appearance in the Topps set which might be why many aren't floating around in the circles I travel in.

I was reading the back of the card the other day and I noticed something peculiar.

Front side
Just a neat photo, not sure what he is looking at, but he is staring pretty intently.

Back Side
At first glance, it appears that he has played many seasons for this to be his rookie card. This isn't entirely unusual for the time as many players may have had a part season or two before they were included in an OPC release. What is the most strange is when you read the text and see he was Calgary's top scoring defenseman in the 83-84 season!

My first thought was, why didn't he have a card in the 84-85 set? After all, he was Calgary's top scoring defenseman. I was a little perplexed by this as I always felt that the biggest exclusion from the 84-85 set was Pelle Lindbergh but now I feel that Al MacInnis may be the biggest miss.

So I decide to look through my 84-85 OPC set and see who made the cut before Al. There were the usual players like Kent Nilsson and young guys like Hakan Loob, Dan Quinn and Jamie Macoun. Quinn, Loob and Macoun were all rookies along with Al MacInnis, but Quinn was a hotshot rookie, and both Loob and Macoun played more games than Al so I imagine that is why Al got axed.

However, on the team leader card, Al did get a mention as Allan MacInnis.

Is this a Pre-Rookie card? Maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but I do get a little satisfaction that he wasn't entirely excluded from the set.

(I have a feeling this card is an error card because I don't think Froese gave up 506 goals in 48 games. His GAA might be a little closer to 10 than to 3 in that case)

It turns out Pelle Lindbergh was given the same treatment to some degree. His rookie card is from the 83-84 set, but the only mention of him in 84-85 is on the back of the team leaders card. Then as many collectors know, he had three regular issue cards in the 85-86 sets (OPC, Topps and Topps All-Star Sticker). One of those three cards (OPC) does list his birth year and death year. Pelle Lindbergh's four cards were the very first PC I ever completed. Unfortunately, since 1992 many more cards from different sets have been released and I never continued collecting his cards. To this day, I consider those four cards my complete Pelle Lindbergh PC.


  1. cool find. I love reading the backs of cards... unfortunately, not a lot of the new releases take the time to give you a decent back.

  2. I remember that about MacInnis. It never made sense to me that he wasn't part of '84-85.

    The only thing I can think of is that they somehow failed to get a picture of him because he missed a bunch of games. Maybe he missed all the Washington games (which seems to be where most pics were taken).

    Lindbergh's second year wasn't all that good, so that might be why he didn't have a card.

  3. Also - I agree about the PC thing. I never consider cards released after a player's career is over to be "real," for lack of a better term. I can get behind a retirement card, but a lot of the rest don't really count in my eyes.

  4. Nice article! Another interesting thing about this card is that the very same photo of MacInnis was used again in OPC's 87-88 set - check it out, it's card #72. The RC photo was cropped a bit closer than the second time they used it.

    1. On closer inspection, maybe it's not the exact same photo. But the pictures were probably taken just a few seconds apart. I noticed the same thing on a couple of Lanny McDonald cards from the same two sets and wrote about it here.

  5. Hey Chris, neat comment! I definitely agree those photos were probably taken in succession.

    @1967ers, Glad to hear someone else out there agrees with my definition of a PC. However, certainly don't want to take away from the Super Collectors out there who are trying to get every single cardboard incarnation of their fav players. I certainly have the utmost respect for them!

  6. Great card. The '85-85 Topps Lindbergh has eluded me for quite some time now. I don't know what it is but I can never seem to find one anywhere. I've been watching eBay for months and most times there's not a single one listed. I think it's one of the last 3-4 cards I need to finish that set off. One day...

  7. Agreed. The energy people put into their player collections is enormous and if that's what floats their boat, far be it from me to put that down. It's a totally different approach, though. I'm still set-based and wouldn't want four different variations of something unless that was the set I was putting together.

    I think the OPC retro '79-80 Orr is a really great card and I love my Orr mini, but if I were to make up a montage of all my Orrs, I don't know if I would include them. There's a lot of Orr stuff out there I'd like to have, but the last "real" card came out in '78-79.

    I do find it odd, though, when someone collects a vintage player and doesn't have a single card from their playing days. I remember someone who collected Parent and Cheevers and didn't have a single card more than five years old.