Happy Birthday, Miller Farr!

April 8th, 2013  |  Published in Brothers, Milestone Birthdays

Miller Farr 1969 Topps football cardFormer AFL, NFL, and WFL defensive back Miller Farr is celebrating his 70th birthday today. Farr played from 1965 to 1973 for the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Detroit Lions, and he finished his career in 1974 with the WFL’s Florida Blazers. His best seasons were his three with the Oilers, 1967-1969. He led the AFL with 10 interceptions in 1967, he was voted First Team All-AFL in 1967 and 1968, and he was an AFL All-Star all three years.

Farr’s younger brother, Mel, also played in the NFL. The two brothers were teammates with the Lions in 1973. Their cards from that season are featured on the Teammate Brothers page of the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

Farr is pictured here on his 1969 Topps football card. He appeared on several other cards and stamps, as well.

Happy birthday, Mr. Farr!

Tags: , ,

Happy Birthday, Lindon Crow!

April 4th, 2013  |  Published in Brothers, Milestone Birthdays

Lindon Crow 1962 Topps football cardFormer NFL defensive back Lindon Crow is celebrating his 80th birthday today. Crow played from 1955 to 1964 for the Chicago Cardinals, New York Giants, and Los Angeles Rams. In 1956, his second season, he led the league with 11 interceptions. He played in two NFL Championship games, both with the Giants, in 1958 and 1959. The Giants lost both games to the Baltimore Colts.

Crow’s younger brother, Wayne Crow, also played professional football. He was a halfback and punter for four seasons with the AFL’s Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills.

Crow appeared on football cards with all three of his NFL teams. My favorite, his 1962 Topps card, is pictured here. You can see the rest of his cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

According to, Crow is the 494th oldest living American pro football player.

Happy birthday, Mr. Crow!

Tags: , , , ,

Yet Another Mistaken Identity

April 2nd, 2013  |  Published in Brothers, error cards, New in the Gallery

You learn something every week. Bob Odell 1955 Topps All-American football cardThis week I learned from a post in the Collectors Universe forums that the player pictured on Bob Odell’s 1955 Topps All-American card is not Bob Odell. The impostor is Howard Odell, Bob’s older brother, who played at the University of Pittsburgh. For details–and to see many more cards that picture the wrong player–see the Mistaken Identities page of the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

Tags: ,

Fathers and Sons and Teammate Brothers, Revisited

March 11th, 2013  |  Published in Brothers, Fathers and Sons, New in the Gallery

As I wrote in a previous article, I am converting some of my more popular blog articles into standard web pages and moving them to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. I am finding that blog articles work best for news, and standard pages work better for information that is not time-sensitive.

This weekend I converted my Fathers and Sons and Teammate Brothers blog articles into gallery pages. In the process, I added a few fathers, sons, and brothers who are new to the Gallery since I wrote the original articles. The new pages are in the Fun Pages section of the Gallery home page. While you’re over there, check out the other pages to see if you’ve missed any new ones.

What is your favorite father/son or brother/brother football card pair? Here’s mine: George Sauer Sr. on his 1955 Topps All-American card, and George Sauer Jr. on his 1969 Glendale Stamp. There’s quite a resemblance, don’t you think?
George Sauer 1955 Topps All-American football cardGeorge Sauer Jr. 1969 Glendale Stamp

Tags: , , , ,

Teammate Brothers

May 28th, 2012  |  Published in Brothers, New in the Gallery

Awhile back, on the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site, I found a list of brothers who played pro football. I thought it was interesting, so I marked all of the players in the Vintage Football Card Gallery whose brothers had also played professionally. In many cases, only one brother appeared on a card, and it was fun to give the cardless brothers a nod. Did you know, for instance, that Terry Bradshaw’s brother Craig played a season for the Houston Oilers?

In the Hall of Fame’s list, the brothers who were teammates during their pro careers are marked with a diamond. Seeing these made me wonder how many brothers appeared on the same team in the same set of football cards. I did a quick check, and these are the ones I found in the Gallery:

Brothers Knox and Garrard (“Buster”) Ramsey were teammates with the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and 1951. They both appeared with the Cardinals on 1951 Bowman cards.
Knox Ramsey 1950 Bowman rookie football card1950 Bowman Buster Ramsey rookie football card
Ebert and Steve Van Buren were teammates with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1951, and they both appeared on 1951 Bowman football cards.
Ebert Van Buren 1951 Bowman rookie football cardSteve Van Buren 1951 Bowman football card
Phil and Merlin Olsen were teammates with the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 to 1974. They appeared together on 1972 Sunoco Stamps and 1973 Topps football cards.
Phil Olsen 1972 Sunoco StampMerlin Olsen 1972 Sunoco Stamp
Phil Olsen 1973 Topps rookie football cardMerlin Olsen 1973 Topps football card
Tody and Bubba Smith were teammates with the Houston Oilers in 1975 and 1976, and they both appeared with the Oilers in the 1976 Topps set.
1976 Topps Tody Smith football cardBubba Smith 1976 Topps football card
Finally, just missing the cut are brothers Mel and Miller Farr, who were teammates for the Detroit Lions in 1973. Both of them appeared on 1973 Topps cards, but Miller was not traded to the Lions until September, so Topps still had him with the St. Louis Cardinals.
1973 Topps Mel Farr football cardMiller Farr 1973 Topps football card

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Joe Paterno’s Brown University Football Card

January 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Brothers, Player Deaths

Joe Paterno 1950 Topps Felt Back rookie football cardJoe Paterno did not play professional football, but he was a quarterback and defensive back in college, at Brown University. He appeared on one football card, the tiny 1950 Topps Felt Back pictured here. The image on the card resembles the one in a photo on the Sports Illustrated web site; my guess is that they were from the same photo session.

According to the Sports Illustrated page, Paterno’s record as a quarterback was 15-3 over two seasons, 1948 and 1949. He also intercepted 14 passes in his college career, still a school record. (He shares the record with Greg Parker.)

One of Paterno’s teammates at Brown was his brother George, who played fullback. George Paterno led the team in rushing in 1949, with 480 yards. From 1976 to 1999, George was a broadcaster for Penn State football. He passed away in 2002.

You can see all of the 1950 Topps Felt Back cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

Bubba Smith, Colts, Raiders, and Oilers Defensive End

August 5th, 2011  |  Published in Brothers, Player Deaths, Players Who Became Actors

By now, most NFL fans have heard that Bubba Smith passed away. Smith was a defensive end from 1967 to 1976 for the Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders, and Houston Oilers. He made the Pro Bowl twice, and he played in two Super Bowls: Super Bowl III, which the Colts lost to the Jets, and Super Bowl V, in which the Colts beat Cowboys. A New York Times article from earlier this week has a summary of Smith’s career, along with a few photos.

After football, Smith appeared in many films and television shows, most notably the Police Academy movies. I had no idea how many until I checked out his IMDB page.

Smith’s brother, Tody, also played in the NFL. You can see the family resemblance in one of my earlier articles.

Smith appeared on numerous football cards in the 1970s, and most of them showed the same image. Pictured here are his rookie card, a 1970 Topps, and his last card, a 1976 Topps. You can see the rest in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Bubba Smith 1970 Topps rookie football cardBubba Smith 1976 Topps football card

Tags: , , , , ,

Preston Carpenter, Browns, Steelers, Redskins, Vikings, and Dolphins Receiver

July 1st, 2011  |  Published in Brothers, Player Deaths

Preston Carpenter 1957 Topps rookie football cardPreston Carpenter, who played twelve seasons for the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins, passed away on June 30. Carpenter played halfback for the Browns in his rookie season, 1956, then spent the rest of his career as a receiver. He made the Pro Bowl in 1962 as a tight end with the Steelers.

Carpenter’s older brother, Lew, who also had a long NFL career, passed away last fall.

The card pictured here is Carpenter’s rookie card, a 1957 Topps. He appeared on numerous other cards during his career, as well.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lee Riley, Lions, Eagles, Giants, and Titans Defensive Back

June 15th, 2011  |  Published in Brothers, Fathers and Sons, Player Deaths

Lee Riley 1955 Bowman rookie football cardLee Riley, who played defensive back from 1955 to 1962 for the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and New York Titans, passed away on June 9. Riley’s best season was 1962, when he intercepted 11 passes for the Titans, leading the AFL. Riley was the son of Leon Riley, who played briefly for baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, and the brother of Pat Riley, longtime NBA coach and current president of the Miami Heat. He is mentioned in Pat Riley’s profile on the NBA web site.

The card pictured here is Riley’s rookie card, a 1955 Bowman. (1955 Bowmans are the only vintage football cards I can think of that indicate which players were rookies.) He also appeared on a 1963 Fleer card, issued after his last season.

You can see Lee Riley’s career stats at

Tags: , ,

He Ain’t Whitey, He’s His Brother

November 13th, 2010  |  Published in Brothers, Football Card Trivia

1951 Bowman Al Wistert football cardYesterday, while I was adding the Eagles Honor Roll to the Vintage Football Card Gallery, I did a web search for “Whitey Wistert.” Al Wistert is a member of the Eagles Honor Roll, and some of his cards say “Al ‘Whitey’ Wistert.”

My search results were interesting: they included a lot of references to Al’s football cards and a lot of references to Al’s older brother, Francis “Whitey” Wistert. Only a couple of non-football-card references, which appeared way down in my search results, referred to Al as “Whitey.” Most references to Al said his nickname was “Ox.”

According to an article on, both Francis and Al were called “Whitey.” I’m guessing, though, that if people called Al “Whitey,” they did so out either out of confusion or as a tribute to Francis. Francis was a football and baseball star at Michigan, and he played major league baseball for Cincinnati.

Anyway, since Al’s brother Francis was well-known as “Whitey,” since Al was more often called “Ox,” and since mistakes are far from unusual on old football cards, I would say that calling Al “Whitey” was just another card company mistake. I suspect that some writers referred to Al as “Whitey” because that’s what it said on his cards.

Pictured here is one of Al’s error cards, a 1951 Bowman. His 1948 Leaf and 1949 Leaf cards also say “Whitey.”

Tags: , , ,

Yet Another Mistaken Identity

November 9th, 2010  |  Published in Brothers, error cards

1965 Topps Art Powell football cardIn an article a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Rick Redman’s 1965 Topps card doesn’t picture Rick Redman. In a comment on that article, my friend Todd, from whom I learned about the Redman error, pointed out that Art Powell’s 1965 Topps card pictures the wrong player, too. So I added that card to my Mistaken Identities page, as well. Somehow, I don’t think it will be the last one.

Todd, in his own blog, recently wrote a nice article about Art Powell and his older brother Charlie. Charlie Powell played for the 49ers and Raiders, and he was a world-class boxer, to boot. Check it out!

You can see all of Art Powell’s cards and all of Charlie Powell’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. You can also search for all of the error cards–or at least the ones I have identified so far.

Tags: , , , ,

Cliff Livingston, Giants, Vikings, and Rams Linebacker

March 22nd, 2010  |  Published in Brothers, Player Deaths

Cliff Livingston, who played linebacker twelve years for the Giants, Vikings, and Rams, died on March 13. He played in four NFL championship games with the Giants, and they won one of them, in 1956. Livingston was an All-Pro in one season, 1961.

Though he had a long, successful career, Livingston appeared on only one regular issue card, the 1962 Topps card shown here. He also appeared on a 1962 Post Cereal card.

Livingston’s brother, Howie Livingston, also played in the NFL.

Tags: , ,

Merlin Olsen’s Many Football Cards

March 11th, 2010  |  Published in Brothers, Player Deaths, Players Who Became Actors

Most football fans know by now that Merlin Olsen passed away this morning. Lots of people published articles about his career today, so I’ll just show you some of his vintage cards. According to the Beckett blog, Olsen appeared on a total of 338 cards, but most of those were issued after the end of his career.

A couple of these are actually stamps, so I don’t know if Beckett included them in their count. Hold your cursor over any thumbnail image to see what set it’s from, and click on it to see a full-sized scan.

Missing from this group are his 1971 Bazooka card, 1971 Dell card, 1972 NFLPA stamp, and possibly other oddballs I haven’t seen. He also appeared on two or three Topps poster inserts in the late 60s and early 70s. That’s a remarkable number of cards for a defensive player.

I wondered if perhaps Olsen appeared on a Little House on the Prairie card, if there were such cards. So I searched eBay and I found a set that was issued in Argentina. Alas, Jonathan Garvey, Olsen’s character, didn’t have a card in the set.

Two of Olsen’s brothers, Phil and Orrin, also played in the NFL. Phil appeared on a 1972 Sunoco Stamp and on a 1973 Topps card while he was Merlin’s teammate with the Rams.

Tags: ,

Bubba’s Brother Tody

October 12th, 2009  |  Published in Brothers, New Cards for Sale

Today I listed a bunch of new 1973 Topps cards on my sales site. While I was scanning them, the back of one card, Tody Smith, caught my eye. I had no idea he was Bubba Smith’s younger brother, but there it is, in blue and white. Of course, I also didn’t know that they both played high school ball for their father.

The 1973 Topps card above is Tody’s rookie card. For his 1974 Topps card he had grown a beard, and I’d say there’s a clear resemblance to his brother. Bubba is shown here on his 1972 Topps card.

My new resolution: read more card backs!

Tags: , , , ,