New in the Gallery: 1963 IDL Steelers

September 14th, 2010  |  Published in New in the Gallery

1963 IDL Pittsburgh Steelers photosToday I added 1963 IDL Steelers photos to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. These resemble the team issue photos I have been adding recently–1955 49ers, 1960 Eagles, and 1958 49ers–and I wouldn’t really call them cards. They are about 4 inches by 5, and they are printed on thin stock, approximately the thickness of a magazine cover. The backs are blank, or at least they were when they were printed. All of mine but one have “URBANI’S PHARMACY” and its address stamped on the back.

I learned from Wikipedia that IDL stood for Independent Drugstores League, and that the IDL “was a cooperative of independent drugstores that disbanded in the late 1960s.” I also did a web search for “Urbani’s Pharmacy,” and I found an obituary for Mr. Arthur Urbani, who owned the drug store that my photos came from. He sold his store to Rite Aid in 1984.

The images in this set are action shots cropped such that only the players’ faces and upper bodies are showing. The players are clearly exerting themselves, but you can’t see what they are doing, so many of them appear to have odd expressions on their faces. The Buddy Dial photo shown above is one example. Cropping action shots this close is not a good idea.

As is common with team sets, the IDL Steelers photos include a few players who, to my knowledge, never appeared on cards. Those players are Frank Atkinson, John Burrell, Lou Cordileone, and Glenn Glass. As I’ve written before, the thing I enjoy most about team sets is getting to see a few new faces.

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Ron Kramer, Packers and Lions Tight End

September 11th, 2010  |  Published in Player Deaths  |  2 Comments

1963 Topps Ron Kramer football cardRon Kramer, who played tight end for the Packers and Lions from 1957 to 1967, passed away today. Kramer made the Pro Bowl in 1962 for the Packers, and he is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame. There is a nice article about Kramer’s career on the Pro Football Researchers web site.

My favorite Ron Kramer card is the one pictured here, a 1963 Topps card. The Packers cards in the 1963 set have green-and-gold borders, so the borders match the Packers’ uniforms. This appears to have been a coincidence, since the border colors Topps used for the other teams’ cards don’t match their uniform colors.

Kramer’s rookie card is a 1958 Topps, which I featured in a previous article. He also appeared on a 1961 Lake to Lake Packers card and on two Topps cards with the Lions. You can see all of Ron Kramer’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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The Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

September 11th, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery, Uniforms  |  5 Comments

1962 Topps Don Perkins rookie football cardThis morning I added the ability to search the Vintage Football Card Gallery for members of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. Just go to the Advanced Search page, choose Cowboys Ring of Honor in one of the “Honor” menus, and hit the Search button.

Pictured here is one member of the Ring, Don Perkins, on his 1962 Topps rookie card. He’s wearing the Cowboys’ first home jersey, my all-time favorite over all the NFL teams. He doesn’t appear to be wearing it in the black-and-white inset photo, though, so I wonder if that is a college photo. Or maybe it’s not even him: on some 1962 cards, Topps pictured a different player in the inset photo, sometimes altering the image to look like the player on the card. For examples of that, see my earlier blog article on the subject.

Looking through the cards I have of members of the Cowboys Ring of Honor, it’s striking that there are no cards of players who had moved on to different teams. It is possible that I don’t have all of the players’ cards, but the impression I get is that the Cowboys’ best players stayed with the Cowboys.

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New in the Gallery: 1958 49ers Team Issue Photos

September 10th, 2010  |  Published in New in the Gallery, Team Issue Photos

Today I added 1958 49ers Team Issue Photos to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. There are forty-four 4-by-6 black-and-white photos in the set, including players, coaches, the head of personnel, and even the 49ers announcers. Pictured here are my two favorites, Bill Stits and Jerry Mertens, both making (or faking) spread-eagle receptions.
1958 49ers Team Issue Photo of Bill Stits1958 49ers Team Issue Photo of Jerry Mertens
Some of the players in the 1958 set also appear in the 1955 49ers Team Issue set. The team reused the images for those players, but they updated the text on the backs of the photos. Pictured here is the text from the back of Matt Hazeltine’s 1955 photo, along with that from his 1958 photo. (I added the years in red.) In three years he gained ten pounds, a wife, and a daughter!
Backs of Matt Hazeltine 49er Team Issue Photos
Several players in the 1958 photo set never appeared on cards of their own–at least not to my knowledge. They are Gene Babb, John Gonzaga, Bill Herchman, Bill Jessup, Jim Pace, Lou Palatella, and John Wittenborn. As always, it’s good to add new faces to the Gallery. The set also includes a photo of John Brodie, issued three years before his 1961 Fleer and 1961 Topps rookie cards.

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Football Cards of Members of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

September 6th, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery

1950 Bowman Tobin Rote rookie football cardI am continuing to identify players in the Vintage Football Card Gallery who have been honored by the individual teams. Today I added the members of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. There were a lot of members to add!

Pictured here is one of them, Tobin Rote, on his 1950 Bowman rookie card. I learned today that in 1956, Rote led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns, led the Packers in rushing, and finished second in the league in rushing touchdowns.

You can use the Advanced Search page of the Gallery to find members of the Packers Hall of Fame and recipients of other honors.

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Vikings Ring of Honor and Redskins Ring of Fame

September 3rd, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery

1964 Philadelphia Bill Brown rookie football card1955 Bowman Gene Brito rookie football cardEarlier this week I enhanced the Vintage Football Card Gallery to let you find the cards of players and coaches who received various honors, such as membership in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. Now, for each such honor, I just have to add the honorees to my database. Over the past couple of days I added the members of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame and the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor. The exercise has been interesting: I am familiar with most players who have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and now I am learning who was in the next level of great players for each team.

Pictured here are the rookie cards of two players I added to my honors database this week. The first is a 1964 Philadelphia card of Bill Brown, a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, and the second is a 1955 Bowman card of Gene Brito, a member of the Redskins Ring of Fame. To see the other honors I’ve done so far–and to do more complex searches–see the Advanced Search page of the Gallery.

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Rings and Halls of Fame and Honor

August 31st, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery

This week I enhanced the Vintage Football Card Gallery so that I can easily add searches for players who received various honors. Prior to the enhancement, you could search only for Hall of Fame members and Heisman Trophy winners. With the enhancement (and after I do some data entry), you can search for cards of College Hall of Famers, Most Valuable Players, members of each team’s hall of fame, and so on.

To test the enhancements, I added searches for CFL Hall of Famers, Broncos Ring of Famers, and members of the new Jets Ring of Honor. Over time, I will add the recipients of other awards, as well.

The change appears in two places. The first place is the Advanced Search page, which now has drop-down menus containing all of the various honors. You can pick up to three honors, and the search will find the players who received all of the honors you chose.
Vintage Football Card Gallery Advanced Search Page

The second place the change appears is the search results page. That page now has a column that lists each player’s honors, regardless of the search you did.
Vintage Football Card Gallery Search Results Page

Try it out! If you have any requests–or if you find a bug–let me know.

New in the Gallery: 1960 Eagles Team Issue Photos

August 29th, 2010  |  Published in Football Card Oddities, New in the Gallery, Team Issue Photos  |  2 Comments

Today I added 1960 Eagles Team Issue Photos to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. There are eleven 5-by-7 prints in the set, and the prints have blank backs.

Jimmy Carr 1960 Philadelphia Eagles Team Issue PhotoThe composition of the set is easily the oddest I’ve seen. First, Nick Skorich, an assistant coach in 1960, appears in the set, but Buck Shaw, the head coach, doesn’t. (Skorich took over as head coach in 1961.) Second, there are no quarterbacks, running backs, or receivers in the set! Hall of Famers Norm Van Brocklin and Tommy McDonald were both established starters in 1960, but neither is included. Finally, the Eagles had six Pro Bowlers in 1959 (Van Brocklin, McDonald, Jess Richardson, Marion Campbell, Bill Barnes, and Tom Brookshier), they were all still with the team in 1960, and not one of them appears in the set! It’s like the photographer was in a hurry, and he just grabbed the first eleven guys who showed up for practice.

(Speaking of Van Brocklin, this wasn’t the only set from which he was conspicuously absent. In 1958, after nine seasons and six Pro Bowls with the Rams, Van Brocklin was traded to the Eagles. He played three seasons for the Eagles, making the Pro Bowl in each of them, but he did not appear in any of the 1958-1960 Topps football sets. The only card I know of that shows him as an Eagle is his 1963 Stancraft playing card.)

As I’ve said in previous articles, one reason I like team sets is that they usually include players who never appeared on cards in mainstream issues. In this set, those players are Howard Keys and John Wittenborn, both offensive linemen. Keys was a rookie in 1960, and he played for the Eagles for four seasons. Wittenborn spent ten years in the NFL and AFL, with the 49ers, Eagles, and Oilers.

My favorite photo in the set is the one shown here, Jimmy Carr. Carr was a defensive back, but he could have been the drum major!

Oh, and incidentally, the Eagles won the NFL championship in 1960.

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2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior Candidates

August 27th, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame  |  1 Comment

1952 Bowman Small Les Richter rookie football cardEarlier this week, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger were named the 2011 senior finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You can read the announcement and see the players’ biographies on the Hall of Fame site.

Richter’s two rookie cards are a 1952 Bowman Large and a 1952 Bowman Small, issued the year he graduated from the University of California. (The 1952 Bowman Small is pictured here.) He served in the Army for two years after graduating, and he joined the Rams in 1954. Richter played for the Rams from 1954 to 1962, and he appeared on at least one football card in each year of his career–unusual for a defensive player. He passed away earlier this year.

1967 Philadelphia Chris Hanburger rookie football cardHanburger’s rookie card is a 1967 Philadelphia, issued in the third year of his career. After that, he appeared on at least one card or stamp each year until he retired after the 1976 season.

Judging by recent history, it is likely that at least one of the two senior nominees will be elected to the Hall. The Hall of Fame’s senior nominees page shows that at least one senior candidate has been elected each year since 1998. Since 2004, when the senior committee began nominating two players per year, 11 of the 14 nominees have been elected. One nominee, Bob Hayes, was not elected in 2004, but he was nominated again in 2009 and elected that year.

You can see all of Les Richter’s cards and all of Chris Hanburger’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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New in the Gallery: 1972 NFLPA Iron Ons

August 26th, 2010  |  Published in Interesting eBay Auctions, New in the Gallery, Oddball

Bob Griese 1972 NFLPA Iron OnYesterday I added 1972 NFLPA Iron Ons to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. These are patches that you could (and still can!) iron onto your clothes to impress your friends. Beckett calls them “Fabric Cards,” but they aren’t cards at all: they’re cloth, not cardboard, and they’re floppy.

There are 35 patches in the set, with 22 of the 26 NFL teams represented. Oddly, there are no Bengals, Oilers, Eagles, or Rams in the set, but there are four Chargers, and the Chargers were a losing team at the time. Perhaps Deacon Jones was supposed to represent the Rams in the set, but he was traded to the Chargers before the 1972 season.

Gale Sayers 1972 NFLPA Iron OnMost of the NFLPA patches have a blue background, but there are six with a pink background, one with white, one with yellow, and one with green. I don’t think the colors are significant, but the distribution is odd, so perhaps I am missing something. There are no logos or trademarks on the patches, but John Brockington and Jim Plunkett appear in their College All-Star jerseys, complete with stars on the shoulders. Brockington and Plunkett also appear in their All-Star jerseys on their 1972 Topps cards, but Topps airbrushed the stars off of them.

According to Beckett, the NFLPA patches were sold from vending machines. When researching them, I found a couple of related items on eBay: a promo package and a vending machine display, pictured below. Interestingly, the list of players on the vending machine display does not match the list of players in the set: some players in the set are not on the display, and some players on the display are not in the set. Pity the poor young Bob Lilly fan, who kept chucking quarters into the machine, trying to get a patch of his hero!
1972 NFLPA Iron Ons Promo Package1972 NFLPA Iron Ons Vending Machine Display

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Airbrushing the Chargers

August 25th, 2010  |  Published in Uniforms  |  1 Comment

The 1972 Topps football card set is full of bad airbrushing. (See my earlier posts on John Brockington and MacArthur Lane and on College All-Star jerseys in the 1972 Topps set.) Here’s another example: Deacon Jones in red. The Rams traded Jones to the Chargers in 1972, and Topps apparently didn’t want to show him in his old Rams jersey. But the Rams wore blue, and the Chargers wore blue, so how did Jones end up in red? Did the artist see “Chargers” and think it said “Cardinals”? Did he just finish Randy Vataha and not want to put his pen down? Who knows, maybe he just thought Jones would look good in red. And he does, doesn’t he?

San Diego Chargers helmetSpeaking of the Chargers, the two 1972 Chargers cards below, Dennis Partee and Jerry LeVias, also caught my eye the other day. I thought that the players’ helmets, with just numbers on them, looked strange. So I visited the Helmet Project web site and found that the Chargers helmets of the time had both lightning bolts and the players’ numbers on them. Topps airbrushed the trademarked lightning bolts away, but left the numbers behind.
1972 Topps Dennis Partee football card1972 Topps Jerry LeVias football card

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Steve DeLong, Chargers and Bears Defensive Lineman

August 20th, 2010  |  Published in Player Deaths

1965 Topps Steve DeLong rookie football cardSteve DeLong, who played defensive end and defensive tackle from 1965 to 1972 for the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears, passed away on Wednesday. DeLong made the Pro Bowl once, in 1969, with the Chargers. Prior to his pro career, DeLong was a standout at Tennessee, and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. His obituary at includes some nice photos from his college days.

DeLong appeared on a lot of football cards for a lineman. Pictured here is his rookie card, a 1965 Topps “tallboy.” Topps apparently liked this image, because they used it on his cards for the next four years, also. On one of them, his 1966 card, Topps airbrushed DeLong’s left shoulder off, making for a strange picture.

You can see all of Steve DeLong’s football cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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Dom Moselle, Browns, Packers, and Eagles Back

August 20th, 2010  |  Published in Player Deaths

1952 Bowman Small Dom Moselle football cardDom Moselle, who played halfback and defensive back from 1950 to 1954 for the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles, passed away yesterday. He was a rookie on the Browns team that won the NFL Championship in 1950, their first year in the league. Moselle also spent one season, 1955, with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.

Moselle is pictured here on his 1952 Bowman Small card. He also appeared on a 1952 Bowman Large card, identical except for its size.

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New in the Gallery: 1958 Topps Virtual Uncut Sheet

August 17th, 2010  |  Published in Football Card Trivia, New in the Gallery

Today I put together another virtual uncut sheet, this time for 1958 Topps football cards. Once again, the cards that are scarcest in high grade are on the edges of the sheet.

(Click on the image to see the whole sheet.)
Virtual Uncut Sheet of 1958 Topps football cards

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More Faked Fake Autographs

August 14th, 2010  |  Published in Autographs  |  2 Comments

In an article in April, I wrote that Lee Folkins had told me that the facsimile signature on his 1964 Kellogg’s stamp was not in his handwriting. Today I noticed that some Kahn’s Wieners cards also have faked facsimile signatures on them. Below are the 1962 and 1963 Kahn’s cards of Fran Tarkenton. I don’t know if either card shows a true representation of Tarkenton’s signature, but you can certainly tell that at least one does not.
1962 Kahn's Wieners Fran Tarkenton football card1963 Kahn's Wieners Fran Tarkenton football card
I looked around on eBay and found other Kahn’s cards of the same player that have obviously different handwriting on them. The facsimile signatures on Ernie Stautner‘s 1961 and 1963 Kahn’s cards are much different from one another (look at the t’s), as are the ones on Lou Michaels‘s 1962 and 1963 cards (look at the leading L). And the signatures on Jim Brown‘s 1961, 1962, and 1963 cards all look different to me. It took me just a few minutes to find these, so I am sure it would be easy to find more examples.

I wonder: did the people who designed these cards intend for people to think that the signatures were copies of the players’ real signatures? If they wanted to fool people, I would think that they would have used the same signatures from year to year. Perhaps they wanted to give the impression that the signatures were copies of the real thing, but it didn’t matter enough to put a real effort into it. After all, the cards came free with wieners.

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