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From the World of “Why?”: Curious Checklist Choices Edition, Volume 2

November 23, 2011

1998-1999 Upper Deck MVP John LeClair OT Heroes Insert

Most collectors are well aware of the fact errors on trading cards are an all too common occurrence, particularly those of us who have been involved in this hobby for a significant length of time.

While things certainly seem to have improved compared to where they were when I first started collecting, there always seems to be something that manages to slip through the cracks, usually in the form of a typo or editing oversight.

As someone whose job involves a tremendous amount of writing and editing, coupled with writing being a favourite way for me to spend my personal time,  I know that those types of errors are bound to happen.  I make some (plenty?) of those mistakes myself, so I find that I can be pretty understanding when such an error appears

What I find that I am not overly understanding of is the type of error that comes off as boneheaded and/or lazy.  Today’s article focuses on a card that screams out as being both of those undesirable things and is the second card featured under the Curious Checklist Choices subsection of my From the World of “Why?” series of articles.

At first glance, this 1998-99 Upper Deck MVP OT Heroes insert of then-Philadelphia Flyers winger John LeClair would not seem to be that curious of a choice at all.  Produced during the time of his career that 50-goal seasons were the norm, it would have been a fairly safe assumption that LeClair would fit the bill for a set dedicated to heroes of the extra frame.

Of course, any assumption ought to be confirmed as being fact by doing a little research before proclaiming it as such.  As the back of the card shows, assuming was all that Upper Deck seemed to do before settling on a checklist for this set.

Did you spot the problem?  If not, here’s a close up of the mistake I’m talking about.

That’s right folks, a guy with ZERO overtime points is apparently what qualified as an OT Hero in Upper Deck’s books at the time this set was produced.

The error in the case of this card is the fact that it was created at all!

As I said earlier, some errors that appear on trading cards are the honest type.  The brain sometimes reads what it wants to read, rather that what is actually there.  The result is that minor mistakes occasionally make their way through and end up in the finished product.

When it comes to this card, however, there is no minor mistake being made.

Alarm bells ought to have gone off the second it was discovered that LeClair had no right to be in this set given what its theme was based upon.  This is definitely not one of those oversights that is easy to make.

If a goalie were to appear on the checklist of a set honouring the game’s fifty goal scorers, I feel pretty certain that he would be replaced before the product hit the market.

In my eyes, credibility as an authority on a sport is tarnished through this sort of laziness.

Forcing LeClair into this set with the loose justification of “His 26 power play goals since 96-97 are another testament to how versatile he is, especially in crunch time”, as seen on the back of the card, does not make up for the fact that a focal point of the card itself nullifies any reason for him to be there.

There had to be someone else out there in the league at that time whose presence was more justifiable, which quite frankly wouldn’t exactly have taken all that much.

I mean, if Jaroslav Balastik manages to make it into the Shootout Artists insert set from UD’s 2006-07 flagship product because of his “prowess” in the shootout, then surely some other no-name player could have belonged in this insert set back in 98-99.

Do you have an example of a card that leave you wondering why it was ever included in a given set or insert set?  If so, let me know if you have any Curious Checklist Choices that you think I should include in a future article in this series by emailing me at, leaving a message below, or connecting on Twitter and Facebook.

Until Sunday’s Month-End “Business” Update, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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