Sunday, December 22, 2019

Gordie Roberts: Two Autographed Cards

I can't think of a player who better exemplified the last Stanley Cup Final than Gordie Roberts, a bruising defenseman who collected 100-PIM seasons like I do sports cards and played for both the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins - the two teams who faced off in the classic this summer.

Both teams made the opposition pay with their physical play then knocked them out with opportune, sometimes lucky scoring and the Cup winner was a team no one expected.

Robert won the Cup twice... in his only two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not many people remember he was on those teams - maybe that's because he spent 63 minutes in 24 playoff games in the penalty box in 1990-91 and 33 more in 19 games in 1991-92. Most people remember the hard-hitting Grant Jennings and Ulf Samuelsson and the offensive contributions of Paul Coffey and Larry Murphy, or even the steady poise of Paul Stanton. Roberts? Not so much.

A Michigan native, he was named after the legendary Gordie Howe, with whom he got to play for three of the five seasons Roberts was in the New England Whalers/Hartford Whalers organization. After that came eight solid seasons with the Minnesota North Stars - including a trip to the 1980-81 Cup Final and a 53-point outing in 1983-84, 11 games with the Philadelphia Flyers to close out the 1987-88 season, three full seasons with the Blues, the two years in Pittsburgh, two injury-filled seasons in Boston, and two final years of pro hockey in a strong IHL - with the Chicago Wolves in 1994-95 and the Minnesota Moose in 1995-96.

Here he is wearing the Blues' 80s blue (away) uniform, on card #256 from O-Pee-Chee's 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee set:
And here he is rocking the Bruins' white (home) uniform from my youth, on card #41 from Topps' 1993-94 Stadium Club collection:
Those were nice full-bleed cards with no border, proudly advertising using Kodak photography development technology.

The 1977 and 1978 WHA All-Star signed both cards in blue sharpie while a scout with the Montréal Canadiens, which would date this around 2008-10, around the team's centennial.

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