No, it wouldn’t matter if there was insulin needed for the diabetic, or food to be put on the table, I blew my entire disability pension cheque for one pay period to complete a 1910 set of lacrosse cards. But for a guy with obsessive compulsive disorder, it was no more difficult than spending nine hours walking one day from Oshawa to Toronto to attend a Toronto Beaches Junior A lacrosse game. (This was just one month after having a quadruple heart bypass). It was something I just had to do. [Editor's note: Next time I saw him, Wamper was quick to point out that it only took him nine hours, not 10 as we reported, to make it to the Beaches. 10 would have made him late for the game, and that wouldn't do. We apologize for the error.]
Among the three collectable sets, C59 (a set of 100 colour cards from 1910), C60 (a set of 97 colour cards from 1911), and C61 (a set of 50 black and white cards from 1912), I am the owner of the only set of 1910 C59 Imperial Tobacco lacrosse cards in the whole world, and now (two pension cheques later), they have been graded and registered by the Professional Sports Authenticators.
The cards include many of the best field lacrosse players to ever play professional field lacrosse within the last century. Today’s lacrosse fans may have heard of one of these all-time great players. Edouard “Newsy” Lalonde, who, as well as being inducted into both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1950, was named Canada’s best lacrosse player for the first half of the century. Stories are told of “Newsy” being signed by Con Jones to play for Vancouver for $5,500 for one season of lacrosse. In comparison, as a hockey player, his salary in 1910 for the Montreal Canadiens was $1,300, and that was considered high for the time. As late as 1920, Lalonde couldn’t get more than $2,000 a year playing hockey. Lalonde scored an incredible 66 goals for the Montreal Nationals in 1914. “Newsy” was so highly thought of that there are two cards of him in the C59 set.
Another hockey player in the lacrosse card set is Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Malone, who scored 44 goals in only 20 games for the Montreal Canadians during the National Hockey League’s first season in 1917. It remained an NHL record until Rocket Richard potted 50 goals in the 1943-44 season. Another Hockey Hall of Famer who made it was referee Mickey Ions. Ions was a member of the Minto Cup winning team from 1911.
As well as playing professional lacrosse, Tommy Burns, at five feet, seven inches and 175 pounds, was the only Canadian-born heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Tommy, born as Noah Brusso, was the first professional boxer to break the colour barrier. Burns changed the sport of boxing forever, by allowing the first African American man a chance in the ring with him for a shot at Burns’ heavyweight crown. He defended his heavyweight crown eleven times. He was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Clifford Doughy Spring is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He played until 1935 when, as a 47-year-old, he scored 49 goals for the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the Inter-City Senior A box lacrosse league. He also scored eight goals in one game on August 22, 1935.
Joseph Cattarinch was the first goaltender of hockey’s Montreal Canadiens. He was co-owner of the team, co-owner of horse racing tracks in Canada and the United States, and also co-owner of the Montreal Canadians of the International Professional Box Lacrosse league in 1931-32.
Charlie Querrie is a famous lacrosse and hockey promoter around Toronto and was the first general manager of hockey’s Toronto St. Pats, which later became the Toronto Maple Leafs. Charlie played lacrosse as late as 1933 for Mount Dennis in the Ontario Amateur Lacrosse Association Senior A box lacrosse league. He started playing intermediate field lacrosse for Markham in 1899 as an 18-year-old. There are others that include Paddy Moran and Horace Gaul who are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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