Wanting to up my Hockey Greats category while watching my beloved Cubbies play Philadelphia, I was surprised to hear that the Phillies were in first place the week prior. I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps they found inspiration in the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. So I decided, why not keep the Philly theme going and show some brotherly love to All-Time Great, Bobby Clarke.
Clarke was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. He played his entire 15 year career with the Philadelphia Flyers and to this day remains the face of the franchise. Although he displayed talent he was the 17th pick of the 2nd Round in 1969. Teams did not want to take the chance on him because of his known diabetic condition, they questioned his stamina for an entire NHL season.
Philadelphia took their chances on Clarke and he debuted in the NHL in 1969 at the young age of 20 and by age 23 he became the captain of the Flyers, the reason for that position is because of his extreme work ethic. He became the inspirational leader of the team and it was something that happened naturally as the team bonded with Clarke as the captain.
Bobby Clarke was tough, mean, and aggressive. His mental approach to the game of hockey was incompatible with anyone else in the league. His philosophy was, “never back down” as he would never accept defeat. His toughness and competitive nature were over the top and he knew what it took to win.
However, it was that competitive nature that gained Bobby Clarke a reputation. In fact he flirted with being a dirty player but that was the very thing that gave him and the Flyers that psychological edge over their opponents. By the mid-70’s the Philadelphia Flyers, and their rough house tactics, gained a reputation and were nicknamed The Broad Street Bullies – with a win at all cost mentality, and Bobby Clarke in the lead, opponents feared going to Philadelphia.
Clarke is a 3x Hart Memorial Trophy winner which is comparable to a most valuable player award. A 2x Stanley Cup winner and the 1971 Masterton Trophy winner which is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. And lets not forget the 1982 Selke Trophy which is given to the player who demonstrates the most skill on the defensive side of the game.
Clarke retired after the 1983-1984 season and his career stat line reads: Games Played 1,144 | Goals 358 | Assist 852 | Points 1,210
ROOKIE CARD OF HALL OF FAMER BOBBY CLARKE
1970-71 O-Pee-Chee, Card No. 195 (shop eBay)
For the third year in a row O-Pee-Chee increased its set size, this year 264 cards were offered to collectors. Card 195 of this set is of our featured Hall of Famer. I really enjoy the abbreviated team name towards bottom of card. Photo shows a young Bobby Clarke with a full set of teeth which later in his career definitely changed as Clarke was proud of his huge, missing, front toothless smile. At first the background had me really confused, was that the headlights of a Mac truck headed towards him? Or perhaps the ditch lights of locomotive?! Actually, this 1970 design included these “spot-lights” to accent the cards background.
Card back speaks vintage with that green cardboard, vector image of a hockey guy, and text box with player bio. Of course since O-Pee-Chee is a Canadian company card shows player commentary in both english and french languages.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $20.00-$60.00 depending on condition; graded near mint copies (7’s) sell for around $110.00; near mint-mint copies (8’s) sell in the $287.00 range. And mint copies (9’s) can be had for around $1,135.00 respectively.