This week I have for you what I am told is an incredibly rare and significant Bobby Orr item. I don’t want to waste time so let’s get right to it shall we.
As you can see, this is a program for a pre-season game between the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs on September 23, 1966. So why is this significant? Because it’s the first pre-season game of the year and the first game that Bobby Orr ever played for the Bruins.
Here’s a little back story on this program. In the past I’ve mentioned that get quite a few of my Orr items from Sportworld in Saugus. I got a call recently from the owner Phil Castinetti telling me that he just got in an Orr piece that was incredibly rare. Of course I immediately drove over to check it out. He showed me the program and told me what it was and how rare it was. As if I needed any more convincing to buy it, former Bruin Dave Shaw was in the store and he actually played in the arena that the game took place in, which was known as The Gardens and was home to the London Nationals. The Nationals were a junior team that played in the Ontario Hockey Association. The arena held 5,075 people. One has to wonder just how many of these programs survived.
Here’s what the inside looks like.
As I was looking at the inside I noticed a few odd things.
First, there are facsimile autographs of the entire Bruins training camp roster except for Orr. Secondly, Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers name is spelled with a J instead of a G. Last and most puzzling was that Orr is listed as #4.
Now I know some of you are asking why that is so strange considering that he wore #4 his entire Bruins career. Not so. In the pre-season of his rookie year he wore #27. That number is assigned in the program to someone named Paul Popil.
The year before, Albert Langlois wore the number. He might have even had it in training camp, but he obviously didn’t make the team.
In searching for an answer, I got lucky. As some of you may know, I went to game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals (8-1 Bruins and an amazing game to be at). At the end of the first period, I happened to run into another Orr collector that I met recently at Sportsworld. This guy is a COLLECTOR. He has a number of Orr game used jerseys including his rookie one. We started talking about the program (which he also has and said that he has never seen another) and I asked him about the number. He thought that Orr might have been just randomly assigned the number for the game because Langlois didn’t play and the jersey was available. Also, it might have been possible that Orr never wore the number in the game and that the program had it wrong. Unless someone was there that night and remembers, we may never know.
On another note, Orr only played in about four preseason games because he was injured during the camp. He might not be listed at all in other programs.
All in all, I would have to think this is a pretty rare piece of Bobby Orr memorabilia, which I feel lucky to own.
Thanks again for reading this week. As I write this the Bruins are down 3 games to 2. I’m hoping they have two more wins in them. Either way, it’s been a great series.