Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 Top 20 Under $25 - #2 - Don Cherry!

Time for the runner-up in the 2011 Top 20 Under $25 Countdown...

What is it? A 1974-75 Topps Don Cherry!
When and where did I get it? CheckOutMyCards.com, September 19th
How much did it cost me? $5.80 (plus a little for shipping)

My quest to hand collate the 1974-75 Topps hockey set presses onward, and Don here was a major addition this past fall. Only Bobby Orr and the Scotty Bowman card I featured a few weeks ago have a higher book value as this set goes. This is one card I would have loved to add to my collection even if I weren't in pursuit of this set though.

I mentioned in my last post that this spot in the countdown was occupied by someone better known for their personality than for anything they accomplished in professional sports. I'm sure that when many young hockey fans out there hear the name Don Cherry they think of this guy:

These days you can tune in to the "Coach's Corner" segment of Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night and enjoy some commentary from Don along with some over-the-top suits like this one. I can't sum it up any better than his Wikipedia page, which states that he "is known for his outspoken manner, flamboyant dress, and staunch patriotism".

Back in the mid-'70's though, you could find Cherry in slightly more muted attire (although I do like the polka-dot tie on this card) standing behind the Boston Bruins' bench. Unfortunately for Don, superstars Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr weren't around long after he took the reigns and he was never able to replicate the success of the Bruins teams from earlier in the decade.

Don't get me wrong, this is only because the bar was set so high by those previous Bruins teams. In fact, Don was pretty damn successful as a coach. He led the B's through a stretch of four straight division titles and two Stanley Cup Finals appearances, although the team lost both times. He even won the Jack Adams award as coach of the year in 1976. Not too shabby at all, but I still stand by my claim that he is better known for his work as an analyst than for his accomplishments as a coach.

Don was also a player, which is mentioned on the card back. Interestingly enough, despite playing over 18 seasons of professional hockey he appeared in just one single NHL game, called up for a playoff game in 1955 for the Boston Bruins. If a professional hockey career that long with just a single NHL game played doesn't show Cherry's love for and dedication to the sport, then I don't know what does. Maybe the decades that he's spent closely involved with the sport of hockey since then?

Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Don Cherry is one of the most significant and recognizable figures in hockey's illustrious history. This is a card that I will enjoy for a long time to come!

1 comment:

Dave H said...

Awesome buy! The card looks in very good shape too.

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