Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Joe Thornton Autograph Card

After Jarome Iginla last week, here's another card inspired from a post inspired by The Iron Lung's attempt at getting a hard-signed autograph card from every player in the NHL's 1000-point club. This time around, former captain of the Boston Bruins (and current one of the San Jose Sharks), Joe Thornton.

I'm not a huge fan of Big Joe, but I do enjoy watching him fail at another Stanley Cup run each year, although he's making the suspense last longer of late, which isn't good for my heart pressure. I started having these feelings for Thornton when his Bruins would play my hometown Montréal Canadiens and find embarrassing ways to finish first in the division yet fall to the Habs come playoff time.

I'll give him one thing, though: he's the only player ever to have won the Art Ross trophy as points leader in the year when he was traded. At the time I was hoping this wouldn't become a trend, and I'm glad to see it didn't; I'm a purist that way, the type who didn't like when players got free agency after at most 7 seasons (then again, there are more destinations now that I wouldn't last a month in than there was when I played myself).

This card's a little weird, I'll give you that much; his last name in capitals letters, the lack of a design, and the bizarre absence of a logo make the whole thing an oddity, but that's because its manufacturer, The Score Board, didn't have a license to produce official cards, even in this uniform, Big Joe's junior team, the Sault-Ste-Marie Greyhounds. Here's the logo that was on his chest before it was airbrushed out:
Take a good, long look at that logo, which the team's fans called ''The Ugly Dog'', as it was used only for four seasons before the team reverted back to its original jersey and logo

The card is an insert, signed in blue sharpie, from the 1997-98 The Score Board collection. The way TSB worked, essentially, was they would purchase packs of cards like you and I, from all the other manufacturers, sell the valuable cards to hobby shops and repackage the rest in new packs combining those of all brands (but inevitably more of those they got for cheaper, like Pro Set or Parkhurst), and adding signed inserts of prospects from Canadian junior leagues and American colleges to 'up' the value of their packs.

They also did end up getting licenses, mostly for NFL games and cards for movies, notably Star Trek, Star Wars, The Wizard Of Oz, and estate sets for the likes of Elvis Presley.

For more information, a pretty long article about them seemingly written by someone from the company posing as an objective onlooker can be found here.

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