Ted Lindsay’s nicknames were well-earned.
He was called “Terrible Ted” for his toughness and willingness to play down and dirty. Another nickname, “Old Scarface,” was a nod toward the more than 600 stitches he took — mostly on his face — during his 17-year career.
Lindsay, who died Monday at the age of 93, was a left winger for the Detroit Red Wings’ Production Line, a trio that generated Stanley Cups in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955.
While there are a lot of recent cards of Lindsay, including patches, autographs, signed sticks and pucks, the vintage cards are what resonate. Lindsay was never afraid to mix it up with an opponent and there was no middle ground.
“I hated everybody I played against, and they hated me,” Lindsay once said. “That’s the way hockey should be played.”
Here are seven cards to remember No. 7, a Hockey Hall of Famer who had his number retired in 1991.
1951-52 Parkhurst No. 56
Parkhurst began the modern era of hockey cards with its 1951-52 set, the first one issued after World War II. Technically, every player featured in this 105-card set is a rookie card. While Lindsay does not command the highest price for this set — those honors go to Gordie Howe and Maurice “Rocket” Richard — it remains a coveted cad. The cards measures 1¾ inches by 2 ½ inches and was printed on heavy stock with photographs that would make modern-day collectors cringe. Finding a card from this set in high condition is difficult, too.
There are only six gem-mint cards out of more than 19,300 submissions. (None of them are Lindsay, Howe or Richard), and there are only six cards of Lindsay that grade as high as PSA 9. This set is also prone to counterfeiting, so if an ungraded card looks sharp, sound the alarms. Lindsay had 35 goals and 50 assists as the Red Wings won their second Stanley Cup in three years.
1952 Royal Desserts No. 5
There are only eight cards in the 1952 Royal Desserts Hockey set. The cards formed the back panel of Royal Desserts packages, and a collector had to cut them, much like Post baseball and football cards of the 1960s. Therefore, the condition of the card depended on the steadiness of the collector’s hand. That means the cards measure approximately 2 5/8 inches by 3¼ inches.
Certainly, Lindsay must have grimaced while reading his biography, as the copy writers referred to him as “Little Ted, who “weighs a bare 165.” A facsimile autograph adorns the bottom of Lindsay’s photograph. The top of the card is bannered in red with the words “Royal Stars of Hockey” along with the number of the card in the set.
1953-54 Parkhurst No. 52
Lindsay won his third Stanley Cup during the 1953-54 season, scoring 26 goals and adding 36 assists during the regular season. Lindsay’s Parkhurst card from this season shows better quality photography and a larger-looking card, coming in at 2½ inches by 3 5/8 inches.
The 1953-54 “Parkies” had 100 cards in its set, and the game-action photographs on the card are framed by a white border. A bold facsimile autograph is featured at the bottom. The card backs, sporting a vertical design, include the previous season’s statistics and a short biography in English and French. There is also a black box that contains a send-in offer for an album that could hold the complete set.
1954-55 Topps No. 51
Topps made its hockey debut with a 60-card set for 1954-55 season. Topps only had rights to the four teams that were based in the United States — the Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. These cards mirror the larger sizes of Topps’ baseball and football cards that were released before 1957. Lindsay’s production had waned somewhat during this season, with 19 goals and 19 assists, but the Red Wings continued their dominance by nailing down their fourth Stanley Cup of the decade.
The card fronts feature an action shot that is superimposed upon a white background. On the Lindsay card, the Red Wings’ logo appears in an upper left-hand corner and a facsimile autograph is at the bottom of Lindsay’s image. His name is featured below in a red rectangular box, with his team name similarly shaped underneath in a blue box. The card backs for the set are printed in red and blue on white stock. Condition was an issue for Lindsay’s card. Of the 354 cards submitted to PSA, only two were graded as high as PSA 9.
1957-58 Topps No. 21
It must have been disconcerting for Detroit fans — and hockey fans in general—to see Lindsay appearing on a card that did not depict him with the Red Wings. The 1957-58 season was Lindsay’s first with the Blackhawks, and after a 30-goal, 55-assist performance the previous year, the winger scored 15 goals and added 24 assists. Although he was 32, Lindsay remained durable, playing in 68 regular-season games. Topps had taken a two-year break after its debut hockey set, and there were some changes to its second effort in 1957-58.
The size of the 66 cards in the set were reduced to the 2½ inches by 3½ inches Topps unveiled for baseball and football that year. The card fronts feature a large photo of the player against a solid yellow background; in Lindsay’s case, the background is yellow. The other main colors Topps used for backgrounds were red and blue. The team logo is positioned in the lower half of the card, and the bottom features the player’s name, position and team. The card backs include biographies in English and French, and a line of statistics is situated near the top. There is a trivia question included, also in English (printed in blue ink) and French (printed in red ink).
1959-60 Topps No. 6
It looked as if Lindsay’s career was about to end, as he only scored seven goals and had 19 assists in 68 games during the 1958-59 season. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t quite over. For the 1960 Topps set, Lindsay was featured superimposed over a two-color background of white and yellow.
The yellow dominates the card front, while a white block is positioned behind Linsday’s head. There is also a white border. The card backs feature a box that is tilted and has a red border.
1964-65 Topps No. 82
Topps used the same photograph of Lindsay that it used for its 1957-58 set. Perhaps Topps was not prepared for Lindsay’s comeback, but few in hockey were. “It’s the blackest day in hockey when a 39-year-old man thinks he can make a comeback in the world’s fastest sport,” NHL President Clarence Campbell said before the 1964-65 season. Four years removed from the ice, Lindsay made his critics eat their words, scoring 14 goals and adding 14 assists while playing in 69 games. Campbell apologized. He scored a goal in the final game of his career and received a 10-minute misconduct penalty for yelling at referee Art Skov.
Lindsay was part of a Topps set that had several notable milestones. It was the first time Topps had all six NHL teams in its set and the first time the company issued more than 100 cards (110 in 1964-65). It was also the debut of Topps’ tall boy format for any sport, using the 2 1/2-inch by 4½-inch design it would later use for its 1965 AFL football set and NBA sets later in the decade.