Saturday, April 5, 2014

Steve Smith: 4 Autographed Cards

I came across these four cards I'd forgotten to write about when I originally got them...

I had sent them to Steve Smith with a fan letter on November 30th, 2010 - care of the Edmonton Oilers, where he is an assistant coach - and got them all back, signed in blue sharpie, on October 20th, 2011 - a 325-day return.

The 111th overall pick of the 1981 draft, Smith was a 6'3'', 210-pound rugged defenseman who often flirted with or surpassed the 200-penalty-minute mark, even once going as far as 304, in 1991-92. He won three Stanley Cups with the Oilers, though many remember him for an own-goal in a 1985-86 Game 7 that gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish; the Flames would end up losing in the Cup Finals against the Montréal Canadiens. The next season, when the Oilers won their third Cup, captain Wayne Gretzky made it a point to hand him the Cup before anyone else, showing the world there were no hard, lingering feelings.

The Oilers traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks for a similar type of defenseman, Dave Manson, to start off the 1991-92 season, and he would have his best offensive season the following year, with 47 assists and 57 points. He surpassed the 50-point mark three times in total, and scored 10 or more goals in each of those seasons.

Many thought a serious injury would bring an end to his career in 1996-97, but after sitting out the 1997-98 season, he made a comeback with the Flames - of all teams, though he had been an assistant coach with them during his year off - and played parts of three seasons with them to cap off a 72-goal,  375-point and 804-game career (plus 11-41-52 in 134 playoff games).

As an Oilers fan growing up, I was more than happy to add these cards of him wearing their blue (away) uniform:
The card on the left, an action shot, is from Pinnacle Brands' 1991-92 Score (American), card #11 in the set, while the card on the right, a pre-game warm-up shot displaying an awesome mullet-in-the-making, is from Topps' 1990-91 Bowman (card #200).

I was also happy to get him to sign two cards of him with the Hawks, an Original Six team:
The card on the left that sees him wearing the team's white (then-home) uniform - one fans have been familiar with since 1955 - is from Pro Set's 1991-92 Platinum set (card #27), and the card on the right is from Pinnacle Brands' 1992-93 Score (French Canadian Version), which is card #48 in the set, and sees him wearing the Blackhawks' third jersey of the NHL's 75th anniversary, which is the one they wore from 1941 until 1955. Such a beautiful design - like all the Hawks' jerseys.

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