Frank Tripucka’s Many Numbers

March 20th, 2012  |  Published in Football Card Trivia

Frank Tripucka 1962 Fleer football cardWith Peyton Manning going to Denver, Frank Tripucka has been in the news this week. Tripucka’s number, 18, is one of three numbers the Broncos have retired (the others are John Elway’s #7 and Floyd Little’s #44), and there is discussion about whether the team should un-retire #18 so Manning can have it. Tripucka, for one, is okay with reissuing the number.

Perhaps Tripucka isn’t too attached to #18 because it’s just one of several numbers he wore in his career. His page at pro-football-reference.com shows that he wore #8 with the Chicago Cardinals, #11 with the Dallas Texans, and #18 with the Broncos. His 1960 Fleer football card shows him in #36, which I’m guessing was his number with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Saskatchewan’s colors are green and white, and Tripucka played there from 1953 to 1959.

Frank Tripucka 1963 Fleer football cardOther cards of Tripucka show him in numbers that I don’t believe he wore in games. His 1950 Bowman card shows him in #28, but I suspect that whoever colored the original black-and-white image either added or changed the jersey number. Also, Tripucka’s 1961 Topps, 1961 Fleer, and 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture cards all show him wearing #10. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the pictures on those cards were taken in 1960 training camp, before the players’ official numbers were issued. My reasoning behind the guess? Well, the background on Tripucka’s 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture is the same as the one on Goose Gonsoulin’s. But the player shown on Gonsoulin’s Wallet Picture is actually Darryl Rogers, who was only with the Broncos before the 1960 season. See my Mistaken Identities page for details.

The cards pictured here are the only cards on which Tripucka is wearing #18: his 1962 Fleer card, and his 1963 Fleer card. You can see all of Frank Tripucka’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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