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Gordie Howe Hockey Card

Larmer, Ludzik, Reichel, Ciger, and Mr. Hockey?

What do Steve Larmer, Steve Ludzik, Robert Reichel, Zdeno Ciger, and Gordie Howe have in common? Obviously all five of them played in the National Hockey League at some point, albeit across several eras of the sport. Also, however, all five of them have been victims of some amusing hockey card errors.

Larmer, Ludzik swap photos on rookie cards

Steve Larmer and Steve Ludzik had vastly different NHL careers. Larmer put up 441 goals and 1,012 points over his 1,006 games, including a career-high 101-point campaign in 1990-91. Ludzik, on the other hand, had just 139 points in 424 games before getting into coaching – he would eventually spend a pair of seasons behind the bench with the Tampa Bay Lightning as their head coach from 1999 to 2001.

However, while their careers ended up in different places, they started out together as prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks. Ludzik, a second-round pick of Chicago in 1980, played eight games for the Hawks in 1981-82 then played 66 games for them in 1982-83. Larmer played four NHL games in the 1980-81 season, three more in 1981-82, and then broke into the league full time in 1982-83 with 90 points in 80 games – good enough to earn him the Calder Trophy that season as the league’s rookie of the year.

That put both players on track to have their rookie cards produced for the 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee NHL set.

And they did both get cards in that set, just probably not like they were hoping. The card designers at O-Pee-Chee must have been in a rush the day they designed the Blackhawks’ cards for that set, and the two ‘Steve L’s’ have their photos swapped – Larmer appears on Ludzik’s card, and Ludzik is on Larmer’s.

Steve Larmer and Steve Ludzik Hockey Cards

Reichel, Ciger get merged on a Pro Set card

Robert Reichel and Zdeno Ciger each played for four NHL teams during their respective careers – Reichel suited up for the Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs, while Ciger laced them up for the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. The NHL careers of the Czech and the Slovak never came together, though, except on one card.

The 1990-91 Pro Set NHL set featured rookie cards for both Reichel and Ciger, with Reichel’s card having more value based on his superior NHL career (he scored 40 goals twice for the Flames). The notable card, though, is the one from that collection that features both of those forwards – just not on purpose.

An error card in the 1990-91 Pro Set NHL set has a Ciger front and a Reichel back, so you have Ciger with his name and the Devils logo on the front, but Reichel with his headshot and his statistics on the back.

Robert Reichel and Zdeno Ciger Hockey Card

Gordy and Gordie on his vintage Topps card

And not even Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, earned the respect of a full quality assurance process when his cards were produced. The 1958-59 Topps NHL set is most notable for its Bobby Hull rookie card, and it also includes a rookie card for Eddie Shack and valuable cards for Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk, and Johnny Bucyk. Second only to Hull in value, though, is the Gordie Howe card of that collection.

Or is that the ‘Gordy’ Howe card? Because the back of the card spells his name correctly, as Gordie Howe, but the front of the card calls him Gordy Howe. Clearly whoever was proofreading the text for the set was not a hockey fan, because it is hard to imagine them not knowing how to spell Howe’s name. By the start of the 1958-59 season Howe had already put up eight 30-goal seasons (en route to 801 NHL goals) and he was coming off a 77-point campaign in 1957-58 that put him fourth in the Art Ross race.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.