Monday, May 12, 2008

Rare, Odd, and One-of-a-Kind

Original Comics for 1970s Hockey Cards
In August 1989, the Topps Company opened its "vault" to auction off unique items like the original cartoons drawn for the 1971-72 series of hockey cards. This is the original cartoon Topps used to print Meehan's card.

This is the original cartoon for the Topps 1976-77 card.

1968-69 Tulsa Oilers Schedule
This 40-year-old schedule, printed on heavy paper stock features Meehan as a Tulsa Oiler.

Toronto St. Michael's Majors Ticket
During the 1997-98 season, the Toronto St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League honored alums on their tickets. Meehan was featured on the ticket for a game against Oshawa on Dec. 4, 1997 at St. Michael's Arena. After the 1961-62 season, St. Michael's College discontinued its hockey program, and the Toronto St. Michael's Majors team transferred to Neil McNeil High School, becoming the Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons. In 1962-63, Meehan helped the team finish first in the Metro Junior A league. The 1997-98 season marked the team's return to junior hockey after more than 35 years.

Toronto Marlboros Program, 1965 Playoffs
Gerry Meehan is featured on the cover of this program for a playoff game against the Montreal Jr. Canadiens on March 17, 1965. Interestingly, the Jr. Canadiens were coached by Scotty Bowman, who would hire Meehan about 20 years later. Bowman had a successful NHL coaching career with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings, winning a record nine Stanley Cups. In 1979 he became the general manager for the Buffalo Sabres, and in June 1984 hired Meehan as assistant general manager. After the team fired Bowman in December 1986, Meehan replaced him as general manager.

Original Charles Linnett Drawing
8.5x11 prints of these portraits of NHL players were distributed regionally in the 1973-74 season. The artist, Charles Linnett of Quincy, Mass., also created sketches of baseball and basketball players. They were packaged in sealed packages of three. The text reads: "Officially licensed by the NHL Players Association and by NHL Services, Inc. All rights reserved by Charles Linnett Studios, Inc., Walpole, Mass. 02081."

Linnett negotiated with each team and made the illustrations from black and white photos. This is the photo the Meehan sketch was based on, with a handwritten misspelling of "Gerry."

And this is the 1/1 original sketch of Meehan used to produce the prints, which I purchased at a National Sportscard Collectors Convention.
Buffalo Evening News Insert
This full-page foldout poster was an insert in the Buffalo Evening News on Jan. 13, 1973.

Signed Hockey Banquet Flyer
On May 5, 1973, Gerry Meehan was the guest speaker at a hockey banquet for the Massena Minor Hockey league, held at Holy Family High School. Someone who attended got his autograph and years later contributed it to my collection. Massena is a tiny town in upstate New York, along the St. Lawrence River, and despite a population of less than 12,000, Massena Minor Hockey and Massena Red Raider High School Hockey have produced several state championship teams.

1971-72 Toronto Sun Insert
During the 1971-72 season, the Toronto Sun included inserts of NHL players -- 5x7 pages with two holes punched, I guess so you could keep them in a binder. Bio information is on the back. These are very fragile, since they are on newspaper stock.

Buffalo Sabres Patch
This original, unused iron-on patch (3x5) was issued by Labatt beer in the 1971-72 season.

Youth Hockey Patch
This West Seneca Youth Hockey patch was signed on the back by Gerry Meehan. I got this from someone whose brother played house hockey in West Seneca, N.Y. His brother thinks he got the patch at an end-of-year banquet where Meehan was a guest speaker, in 1973 or 1974.

In the Community
In 1972, Gerry Meehan represented the Buffalo Sabres to kick off the annual Girl Scout cookie sale. In this original photo, Meehan appears with 12-year-old Girl Scout Ellen T. Carney, daughter of Mrs and Mrs. Bernard W. Carney of Buffalo. The photo was published in the Alden Advertiser on January 20, 1972, with the article "Girl Scout Cookie Starts January 21."

A Young Fan
Rich Sander sent me this photo of a photo of Gerry Meehan with a young fan. He writes: "It was taken on my cell phone at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Sabres last year. They had a great exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (in Buffalo)." Read Erik Brady's article in the Buffalo News about tracking down the origins of this photo nearly 50 years after it was taken.