Bobby Orr (True) Rookie Card

As early as age eight Bobby Orr played for the Oshawa Generals, which was a junior ice hockey league and was an NHL Bruins affiliate. Bobby grabbed the NHL’s attention by age 12. Bobby Orr has one true rookie card.

There are good players and there are great players. And once in a generation comes along an elite player. The best of the best.

They are the players that change the game forever. Ones that not only leave their impression on a team or city but on an entire era. Bobby Orr is at the highest level among the heroes of hockey.

Like Bobby, If I Could Be Like Bobby

Born March 20, 1948, Bobby is the pride and joy of Parry Sound, Ontario. In Canada he’s a Superhero, in Boston he’s a Saint.

Much like Michael Jordan in basketball in the 1980-90s kids wanted to “be like Mike.” But in the 1960-70s kids emulated and wanted to be like Bobby Orr.

As a child, he was a hockey prodigy. So much so the Boston Bruins drafted him in 1961 at the young age of 14. He could not play in the NHL until he was 18 so he had time to develop his game even further.

When he debuted in 1966 in the very first game he ever played many could see he was the best player on the ice. As one would suspect his manhood was immediately tested, but he gave it just as much as he took it.

The season of 1967 was a game-changer as the Bruins acquired Phil Esposito from the Chicago Blackhawks and paired him up with Bobby. It was a franchise game changer. You can read more about Phil Esposito here.

What Bobby Orr Did Differently 

Bobby Orr revolutionized the game of hockey for the modern day. He accomplished that with his skates. Legend has it the day he was born he knew how to skate.

He turned skating into a ballet. And to this day many claim him to be the greatest skater to ever play the game. However, it came at a cost later in his career as he was only able to play 12 years due to chronic knee issues.

His niche was in the mindset that was prevalent of the day. It said, “Defensemen aren’t supposed to score.” Defensemen never attacked the net they never crossed the blue line but Bobby Orr did!

Career Stats & Accomplishments

He changed the concept of his position and he did it with excellence. Defensively he showed excellence as well, as he won eight consecutive James Norris Memorial Trophy’s which is given to the best defensive player in the league.

Career Stat Line: Games Played 657 | Goals 270 | Assist 645 | Points 915

Career Accomplishments:

  • 1966-67 Calder Memorial Trophy
  • 9x All-Star
  • 2x Stanley Cup Winner
  • 3x Hart Memorial Trophy
  • 1974-75 Ted Lindsey Award
  • 2x Art Ross Trophy
  • 2x Conn Smythe Trophy

Before We Begin

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True Rookie Card

Identifier (RC) Defined

A rookie card is a trading card that is the first to feature an athlete AFTER that athlete has participated in the highest level of competition within his or her respected sport. It must be licensed by both the League and the Players Association. An RC identifier is only given to cards that fit this criteria. Below is an exhaustive list of the featured players true rookie cards.

1966 Topps, #35 (RC)

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If this card looks eerily familiar it’s because the design resembles the 1955 Bowman baseball set.

The design is made to look like a television, this is no flat screen either, televisions back in the mid-sixties were these ginormous wooden boxes that housed a picture “tube” inside of it and no remote control. As a kid, you were the remote control.

This 132 card set was the largest hockey set ever produced by Topps. The card front is not only creative but also realistic.

It seems like your really looking into a television and the details: notice the fans in the stands, player benches even an opponent skating along Bobby’s right shoulder. Also, it makes you wonder if Bobby is in the Penalty Box?

However, the one negative about the card front is the big brown borders which create a nightmare for finding centered copies, and chipped edges and corners stand out like a sore thumb.

The beauty of the card front is quickly neutralized when you flip this one over to view the design on the card back. Wow! that’s rough. A giant, black text box with player commentary in both French and English.


1967 Topps USA Test, #35 (PRT)

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This experiment was released by Topps exclusively for the US card market. It was the first hockey product released specifically for the US too.

The differences are: only 66 cards in the set, French text was removed, lighter wood grain border, and a lighter card board stock in the back.

The reason why I don’t consider this one a true rookie card is because it was released in 1967. It’s believed this was released later than anticipated by Topps. Perhaps just taking advantage of the Bobby Orr craze going on among NHL collectors.


Post-Rookie Theme

Identifier (PRT) Defined

The PRT identifier has a dual function. It’s used to identify cards that feature a player after their rookie season but in some way the card design has elements that feature a rookie theme. Also, for vintage, this identifier can be used for second year cards which are highly collectable, and often times preferred, but they are NOT true rookie cards.

1967 Topps, #92, #118, 128 (PRT)

A viable option for many collectors is second year cards especially when the true rookie gets too expensive. I call these post-rookie theme for the reasons noted above.

Bobby Orr had a fantastic rookie campaign and Topps noticed. They celebrated Bobby with three cards in their 1967 set. These are stunning for obvious reasons, although they used recycled photos colors and overall design are fantastic to me.

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1967 General Mills

Food & Beverage (PRT)

This food and beverage issue of Bobby Orr was distributed by General Mills on boxes of Wheaties, Cheerios, and Country Corn Flakes. This specific card was featured on the front panel of the cereal box, and is much smaller than the standard size card. This is an early, post-rookie theme card of Bobby for those who like rarity.


Sources:

Bobby Orr Stats | Hockey-Reference.com https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/o/orrbo01.html (accessed May 12, 2019).

Burrell, Bobby. Vintage Hockey Collector – Price Guide. Printed November 2015.

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