Tall Boys #10 – Bob McCord and witch trial logic

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,
Bob McCord - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys

It’s always fun to see Boston defensemen wearing number 4.

There’s a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which a bunch of villagers announce to their local knight that they’ve caught a witch and would like to burn her.  The question is immediately posed to them, “How do you know she is a witch?”

“She looks like one!”

The scene then careens off into some wonderful scientific analysis (“If she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood”), but it’s that initial line that best represents something I’d believed for years: Bob McCord was a minor-league goon defenseman.

How did I know he was a goon?

Well, he looked like one, at least to me.

I will admit that it’s not really apparent in the card because he is smiling and appears to have hair that has been combed into something mostly photogenic.  On all of his other cards, McCord just looks like a classic face-puncher: he has the short, short hair, the flattened-looking features of someone who been through a ton of scraps and taken a good share of blows to the face, the stern glare.  It’s all stereotypical 1960s tough-guy fare.  I never even questioned it.

When I wrote up the 1963-64 Topps set, I covered the McCord RC with a dismissive one-liner about him being a tough guy who would see more action post-expansion.  I never questioned the tough part.  It was that obvious.

This was his RC.  Can you see where I got the idea?

Bob McCord - 1963-64 Topps

Career tough-guy Bob McCord, right?

Of course, as someone who likes to think of himself as something of a historian and loves vintage because of all the neat little factoids one learns from the back, one might think I’d turn the card over and see what it said:

Bob McCord - 1963-64 Topps back

Oh – it’s actually skilled All-Star defender Bob McCord, my mistake

Bob McCord was actually a very good defender – a multiple All-Star and two-time defenseman of the year (Eddie Shore Trophy) who in today’s league would have played in the NHL for 15 years or more. He had the misfortune (perhaps) early in his career to be dealt to the place Don Cherry called “the Siberia of hockey” – Eddie Shore’s Springfield Indians. This was an unaffiliated AHL team and it made NHL callups basically non-existent. The only way out was to be traded out. Bob McCord was good and the Indians were often good and this meant he was staying put. Bob played in Springfield (with a couple stops in Trois Rivieres – another Shore-linked team) from 1954 through 1963. There would never be a sniff of NHL action.

At age 29, his opportunity finally came. Boston, sliding badly and desperate for help anywhere they could find it, dealt four players to Springfield for Bob’s rights.  He joined a Bruin team that would only win 18 games and couldn’t score.  As such, he didn’t put a lot of points on the board.  He’d play part of 1964-65 with Boston and the rest with Hershey.  There would be the occasional game with Detroit over the next couple of seasons, but nothing of significane until 1967-68, when he became a regular with the expansion Minnesota North Stars.  He put in two full seasons for them and actually led all their defensemen in scoring in 1968-69, but he’d be farmed out to Phoenix for 1969-70.  Save for 42 games with the Blues in 1972-73, the remainder of Bob’s career was spent in the minors – primarily with the Denver Spurs.

Bob retired in 1975, aged 40.  He was an assitant coach of the very short-lived Denver Spurs of the WHA.

Over 22 pro seasons, he played 1340 games, scoring 137 goals and 599 points.  Only 1086 penalty minutes.  Not much of a goon.

Bob McCord - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys back

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Comments
  1. commishbob says:

    I saw him play for the Blues in 1973. At least I saw the Blues at home in the Arena against the Penguins and McCord is listed in the program and I’m assuming he played.

    I do remember him from his days in Minnesota.

  2. shanediaz82 says:

    “She turned me into a newt!”

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