Wax Stain Wednesday will be a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some amazing experiences to share with us. These posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.This past week, brought another Hockey Hall of Famer to my door step. This time, it was Red Wing and Maple Leafs great Red Kelly. Long before Dustin Byfuglien was a two position threat, there was Red Kelly.
Red Kelly’s amazing career began in Detroit as a defenceman in 1947 and finished as a forward with Toronto in 1967. Over his 20 seasons in the NHL as a player, he would win 8 Stanley Cups (4 with Toronto and 4 with Detroit). Red would also play in 12 NHL All-Star games (2 as a forward and 10 as a defenceman), win the Lady Byng Trophy 4 times, and become the first ever winner of the Norris Trophy.
Red’s transition from defence to centre was Punch Imlach’s idea. When Red Kelly was traded to Toronto via New York, Punch wanted a centre who could match-up against the great Jean Beliveau and he felt that Red Kelly could be that centre. The change would pay dividends as Toronto would win 4 Cups over the course of just 8 seasons with Toronto including one against Montreal in 1967.
Red would hang up his skates after that ’67 Cup win and move behind the bench. As a coach, Red Kelly would experience some regular season success by qualifying for the playoffs in all but one of his nine seasons as a coach. He would never win a Cup as a coach, but did finish with a 261-311-128 record before retiring from hockey for good. In 1998, The Hockey News ranked Red Kelly as the 22nd greatest NHL player of all-time.
The card I mailed away is from the 10-11 OPC set.
Ever since 2008-09, OPC sets include a subset of “Legends” in their sets. Usually there are about 40-50 of the greatest players in NHL history that they include as a part of the set. Many collectors like this feature because you can open of pack of current cards and pull yourself a card of a legendary player like Gretzky, Orr, or Howe.
Red Kelly signed the card with a blue sharpie and included his number 4 which he wore in both Toronto and Detroit. Definitely a great auto from a great legend.