Wednesday, February 19, 2014

74-75 OPC WHA Set Card by Card #1 - The Howes

The WHA was an interesting league to say the least, and what might have been more interesting was OPC's approach to handling its business with respect to the league. OPC had been making NHL cards for a few years before this bump in the road existed and with the WHA beginning their season in 72-73, OPC decided to include them in their NHL set. What OPC did was dedicated a series 3 to WHA players which was cards 280-341. The following season, OPC released a WHA Posters Set and then in 74-75 OPC released its own WHA set featuring 66 cards including a checklist. Here is OPC's inaugural WHA set card by card.  

74-75 OPC #1 The Howes/Les Howes
 This card is a very interesting one for a few reasons. It is the first "card" to feature Gordie Howe in his WHA uniform and it features him with two of his sons. Technically it is a rookie card for Mark and Marty as well but for whatever reason it isn't considered one by the Beckett Hockey Monthly. In baseball multiplayer cards are often considered rookies, just see Nolan Ryan for an example. Nolan's rookie also featured Jerry Koosman but I guess in hockey the rules are different. Mark and Marty get their rookies the following year when OPC released their much larger 132 card 75-76 OPC set.

The card itself, feature all three Howes in a studio shot with facsimile autos of all three on the front as well.

Here is the back of the card. Check out those stats! In all it is a very cool first card of the set and I like that OPC did the triple player card of the Howes and didn't feature them on any other cards in the set. Also neat to see that Mark started his career as a Left Winger before eventually making the move to defense. The 1973-74 WHA season was a fine one for the Houston Aeros with the Howe boys winning the Avco World Trophy aka Avco Cup. A 45 year old Gordie Howe lead the team in scoring with his 100 points and put up another 17 in 13 playoff games.

This card certainly is one of the more famous cards to come out of the mid-70's and I think is one of those cards that most Howe collectors and WHA collectors must have. Personally, I don't think OPC could have picked a better first card for their set.


  1. A beauty! I definitely need to land a copy of this one in 2014, it's been too long without one in my collection. Interesting observation about how multi-player baseball cards are considered rookies (as a Red Sox collector Carlton Fisk's '72 Topps card also comes to mind) but their hockey counterparts are not...

    1. I'm trying to think of another multi-player hockey card (other than some goofy subset like the UD brothers cards) and can't come up with one. This may be a one-off.

  2. I used to joke around and say Who is Les Howe? And where's his photo. But yes, a great start for t his set.

  3. I have this card and more.. found it hidden in the door frame while remodeling