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Bobby Hull's place in the hobby

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  • Bobby Hull's place in the hobby

    Bobby Hull was arguably the most popular player in the world in the 1960s and 1970s. He always had time for kids, and would sign an autograph for anyone who asked. In the years since, he has been revealed to be an alcoholic, with a disturbing history of beating his wives. I'm wondering if the dark side of Bobby Hull has affected your collecting habits? Do you think his behaviour has (or will) affected his status in the hobby?

    Personally, I used to have a couple of Bobby's cards/autographs. Eventually I felt uncomfortable displaying them, and sold them off. I haven't owned any since.

  • #2
    It doesn’t seem like his cards are any less popular, especially his RC. Probably a combination of lack of awareness and desire to look the other way because he was such an important player and has some great cards. Same goes for Sawchuk and probably others. Set collectors and RC collectors will always include them.

    That being said, I’m with you. I don’t want cards of someone like that.

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    • #3
      Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth sell very well in the states. I'm sure there are a few who stay away because of how they were off the field. But then again, I don't think people go out of their way for a Christy Mathewson card just because he was a top notch citizen...........................(from wiki)....................Mathewson was highly regarded in the baseball world during his lifetime. As he was a clean-cut, intellectual collegiate, his rise to fame brought a better name to the typical ballplayer, who usually spent his time gambling, boozing, or womanizing. As noted in The National League Story (1961) by Lee Allen, Mathewson was a devout Christian and never pitched on Sunday, a promise he made to his mother that brought him popularity amongst the more religious New York fans

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      • #4
        Originally posted by exodus View Post
        Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth sell very well in the states. I'm sure there are a few who stay away because of how they were off the field. But then again, I don't think people go out of their way for a Christy Mathewson card just because he was a top notch citizen...........................(from wiki)....................Mathewson was highly regarded in the baseball world during his lifetime. As he was a clean-cut, intellectual collegiate, his rise to fame brought a better name to the typical ballplayer, who usually spent his time gambling, boozing, or womanizing. As noted in https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_National_League_Story&action=e dit&redlink=1"]The National League Story[/URL] (1961) by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Allen_(baseball)"]Lee Allen[/URL], Mathewson was a devout Christian and never pitched on Sunday, a promise he made to his mother that brought him popularity amongst the more religious New York fans
        Mathewson is in fact more popular for off-field reasons. He served in the War, died early, and was inducted in the first HOF class partly as a result.

        Cobb was supposedly a racist, but there is much debate about that. Ruth was an alcoholic and womanizer. But neither abused women as far as I know and there is not the type of evidence there is with Hull.

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        • #5
          Don't really care much about Hull, or the subject, but I guess my final comment would be that it all depends where you put these things on your list of things to hate. If wife beating is worse then wife cheating, or if wife beating is worse then being racist, then I guess you'd hate Hull more then you'd hate Ruth or Cobb. Ruth cheated on his wife all the time. Hull hit his wife all the time. Cobb called black people N^^^^^S all the time. Which is worse ? I guess it all depends on the individual.

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          • #6
            I'm from Winnipeg and a Jets fan. Hull's personal history has negatively impacted my passion for collecting his cards. I'd have a better Hull collection for sure if I had more respect for him.
            Last edited by hart2004; 05-27-2018, 06:49 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by exodus View Post
              Don't really care much about Hull, or the subject, but I guess my final comment would be that it all depends where you put these things on your list of things to hate. If wife beating is worse then wife cheating, or if wife beating is worse then being racist, then I guess you'd hate Hull more then you'd hate Ruth or Cobb. Ruth cheated on his wife all the time. Hull hit his wife all the time. Cobb called black people N^^^^^S all the time. Which is worse ? I guess it all depends on the individual.
              One is a crime while the others are not. And, again, there is much more evidence against Hull.

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              • Anish
                Anish commented
                Editing a comment
                But yeah, everyone we collect is flawed and it is ultimately different where we draw the line.

            • #8
              I think Mathewson memorabilia does sell for more because of his reputation. Before we completely venerate Matty let's remember that Sunday baseball was not allowed in New York until 1919 (after he retired) and he was known to pitch exhibition games on a Sunday.

              Regarding Hull, it's hard to reconcile my feelings towards him as there is no excuse for what he has done to his wives, but at the same time he has always been fantastic with fans and he was a wonderful hockey player.

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              • #9
                Hull was known to be abusive during his playing career yet was inducted into the hof 3 years after he retired.
                Busher Jackson was blacklisted for decades for being a broke alcoholic.
                Go figure

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                • #10
                  If I would be collecting athletes because they are model citizens, I would not have a lot of players in my collection.

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                  • skelly423
                    skelly423 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It'd be a pretty sparse collection with only Gretzky, Howe, Orr and Beliveau, right?

                • #11
                  This is a tough one. I have lived in Winnipeg all my life and without Bobby there would never have been major league hockey here. He was the face of the NHL during his career with the Blackhawks and nobody treated his fans, and hockey fans in general, better than he did. As you all know, he never turned down an autograph request. He was one of the two or three greatest ambassadors the game has ever had.

                  I was at Bobby Hull Night at the old Winnipeg Arena back in 1989 and it was a wonderful and deserving tribute. It was terribly disappointing when he announced that he couldn't, or wouldn't, attend the ceremony two seasons ago in which True North honoured the Hot Line. It felt awfully empty and incomplete when Ulfie and Anders watched their numbers go up to the rafters, along with Bobby's, but Bobby wasn't standing with them. It was okay to celebrate him in 1989 but in 2016, social media made it too uncomfortable for him to come back. It didn't seem right.

                  Bobby, along with many of our heroes, is a seriously flawed man but he is the greatest left winger in hockey history and Winnipeg was lucky to have him play here. His personal history doesn't affect how I collect his cards or memorabilia.
                  Last edited by JohnH19; 05-28-2018, 11:02 AM.

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                  • #12
                    This is an interesting topic and some of you folks on here have made good points. I agree that some athletes get a pass, while others don't. For example, America forgave Kobe Bryant, but not Tiger Woods. I also agree with Exodus that we tend to rank these crimes. In America, wife-beaters, child-beaters, and even murderers get a second chance, but if you disrespect the flag, then you're finished.

                    Now to answer the OP's question, no, I do not think that Bobby Hull's past will harm the value of his cards. In my opinion, his 1958 Topps RC is currently the second-most popular hockey card from the 1950s and I won't be surprised if it ends up knocking the Howe RC out of first place.

                    Oh, and Bobby Hull should have spent some time in a violent US prison; maybe that would have screwed his head on right.

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                    • #13
                      If you haven't done so already, read Gare Joyce's "The Devil and Bobby Hull". As a kid who grew up with Hull as my favorite player, and the Black Hawks (sic now, but not back then) as my favorite team, it just left me sad. While everyone eventually found out about the allegations as time went on, those behaviors still permeate society today. The book almost made me feel sorry for him, as much of the character appears to be an act. Cue Phil Mickelson here...

                      Another unauthorized biography that you may want to check out is Stephen Brunt's book called "Searching for Bobby Orr". The "Spin the Bobby" description still sticks with me.

                      All of our boyhood heroes are flawed in one way or another. The line in Metric's "Breathing Under Water", "They were right, when they said, we should never meet our heroes" rings so true.
                      Last edited by Stampsfan; 05-29-2018, 01:35 PM.

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                      • #14
                        I have had many professional athletes come and do autograph sessions at my Ottawa card shows and Bobby Hull was easily my worst experience ever but that is a story for another day.

                        One of the dealers from my shows back in the 1990's told me that he used to play in a senior men's league and his team was based in the Gananoque / Kingston area and one of the players was good friends with Hull so Bobby would come along with them on their road trips as a "coach" but was more or less there to party with the guys.

                        Their team had a game in upstate New York in some town like Plattsburgh or Malone and after the game the boys went out for a few pops with Bobby. They all ended up back at their hotel and things really went into high gear. After a pile of beer, one of the guys asked Bobby if he still had "the shot". One thing lead to another and someone ran down to the team bus to get a stick and the bucket of pucks. They set Bobby up in his hotel room with a rubber mat and laid down some pucks and challenged him to rip a slap shot at the digital clock on the night table and see if he could make it explode.

                        Bobby was pretty lit at this point and more than up to the challenge and started firing full blown slap shots at the clock until he hit it and it exploded with sparks and the whole nine yards. The guys were dying laughing and they all ran to their rooms to get their digital clocks and bring them back to Bobby's room so he could do it again.

                        The one big problem was that all of the pucks that missed their target were going through the walls in the room. When Bobby started firing at the second round of clocks, the police were already on their way to the hotel after numerous noise complaints.

                        The cops arrived and someone form the team had to put forward their credit card to cover room damage to avoid all of them being hauled off to jail.

                        We are talking about Hall of Fame legend Bobby Hull here, you can't make this stuff up.

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                        • strohman
                          strohman commented
                          Editing a comment
                          That is one of the greatest stories I have heard in a long time! It literally sounds like a scene from a movie that was totally invented. I know that some people will fault Hull for being an overgrown kid, but there are plenty of stories of hockey players doing things that we find amusing, even though they were being immature and irresponsible.

                          I know I read that members of the Ottawa Silver Seven carried the Stanley Cup through the street after the winning it earlier that night. Somehow one of them thought it would be a good idea to drop kick the trophy into the canal, which they did. Then left it there until the morning!
                          In the 1920's, a couple of Canadien's players had the cup in their car while celebrating their win. They got a flat tire and put the Stanley Cup on the sidewalk while they replaced the tire. They eventually drove off and left it there, where it sat until the next morning.
                          I imagine that these players were likely drunk at the time too!

                      • #15
                        Originally posted by Stampsfan View Post
                        If you haven't done so already, read Gare Joyce's "The Devil and Bobby Hull".
                        I am in the process of finishing this book off now, and all I have to say is "wow!" This author, despite interviewing Hull himself, sure did have the guts writing what he did. I'm surprised Hull didn't shoot him! Anyways, the whole purpose of reading a biography is to learn more about that individual, and this is why I am enjoying this book so much because Hull is described as a person with many flaws. He is human after all.

                        Reading books like "Mr. Hockey by Gordie Howe" can be a very boring experience because Howe portrays himself as this angel that can do no wrong. I don't recall reading anything negative about him, his family, his teammates, etc. He did call Jack Adams "Trader Jack," and that's about all I can remember. The whole thing was just rubbish.

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