Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Andy Bathgate Autographed card

Today marks Andy Bathgate's 80th birthday, so I thought I'd write a post about him.

The 17-year NHL veteran played for half the Original Six (the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings) as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he also played pro in the AHL (Cleveland Barons, Pittsburgh Hornets), the WHL (Vancouver Canucks) and the WHA (Vancouver Blazers, four years after retiring from the NHL!); he has won the Memorial Cup, the WHL championship (Lester Patrick Cup) and the Stanley Cup, and was the league MVP in both the NHL and WHL.

I tend to believe his best years were as a Ranger, with whom he spent 10 seasons, in the middle of which was a 7-year span in which his lowest production was 74 points (1959-60, in 70 games) and his highest was 88 points (40 of them goals, in 1958-59). He led the league with 84 points in 1961-62 but lost the Art Ross trophy to Bobby Hull, who had more goals. The Rangers retired his #9 jersey after having done so with Adam Graves; Graves has since said he considers Bathgate to be the ''best #9 in team history'' (I agree).

Team success, however, would only come when he was traded to Toronto (a Cup in 1963-64) and later Detroit (a Cup finals in 1965-66).

The history books, however, will forever link him to a November 1st, 1959 game between the Rangers and the Montréal Canadiens, where three minutes in, he fired a slap shot right to Jacques Plante's face, who had to leave the game to get stitched up. Plante wouldn't return unless he wore a home-made mask, that he would wear for the remainder of his career, thus forever changing the face of hockey.

Ironically, both Plante and Bathgate were elected to the Hockey Hall Of Fame the year I was born, 1978.

This card is from the 1964-65 Parkhurst Reprint set (card #124), manufactured by Upper Deck in time for the 1995-96 season, as a ''missing link'' set. The brand's owner, Dr. Brian H. Price (also owner of the In the Game brand) loves these throwback sets.

I got this card signed in person in blue sharpie as a young adult at a HOF event where Mr. Bathgate was a guest. Because this was a paying event, I didn't have a lot of time to talk about the Plante incident, and I sure didn't want to waste my breath on the Leafs, so I congratulated him on his many achievements with the Rangers - despite the card I handed him to sign!


  1. What The Puck ? That is a great autograph collection, dude.

    I've added you to my blog roll.


  2. Thanks for the kind words!

    I was already subscribed to your blog, thanks for adding mine!