December 8th, 2010 |
Halls of Fame | 2 Comments
Yesterday I identified the members of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. To search for them, go to the Advanced Search page and pick Chargers Hall of Fame in one of the Honor menus.
As usual, I learned something by looking at a team’s hall of fame. I was surprised to see Bob Laraba among the inductees, because, to my knowledge, he had appeared on only one football card, the 1961 Golden Tulip Chargers card pictured here. I did a web search and learned that Laraba had died in a car accident after his second season with the Chargers. In fact, according to a page on the team’s web site, all four members of the inaugural Chargers Hall of Fame class–Laraba, Frank Buncom, Emil Karas, and Jacque MacKinnon–were “inducted posthumously as honorary members.” Buncom, Karas, and MacKinnon all spent several years with the Chargers, so I suspect that their play was also a factor in the decision to induct them.
Emil Karas also appeared in the 1961 Golden Tulip Chargers set; his card is pictured on the left. You can read about the Golden Tulip cards in one of my earlier posts, K is for KDKA–and Other Regional Sets.
December 6th, 2010 |
Player Deaths, Players Who Became Actors
Don Meredith, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1968, passed away on December 5, according to the Dallas Morning News. Meredith led the Cowboys to two NFL Championship games, in 1966 and 1967, both of which they lost to the Green Bay Packers. (The 1967 NFL Championship game is better known as the Ice Bowl.) After retiring as a player, Meredith was an NFL broadcaster for fifteen seasons, twelve of them with Monday Night Football. He was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1976.
The card pictured here is Meredith’s rookie card, a 1961 Fleer. He appeared on cards every year from 1961 to 1969, the year after he retired. You can see all of Don Meredith’s football cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
December 3rd, 2010 |
Where They Are Now | 1 Comment
Last week I talked with a customer who collects football cards of University of Memphis (formerly Memphis State University) alumni, and he told me about the web sites of two alumni, Andy Nelson and John Bramlett. It was interesting to see where the players were now, so I thought I’d pass the web sites along. If I find enough sites of former players, I’ll create a page to summarize them.
Andy Nelson, after graduating from Memphis, played eight seasons with the Baltimore Colts. His 1962 Topps card is pictured here, and he also appeared on a 1959 Topps card. After retiring from football, Nelson founded Andy Nelson’s Barbeque, in Cockeysville, Maryland. The business still appears to be going strong. (I thought about joining Andy’s Swine Social Club, but I live kind of far away.) There’s a recent picture of Nelson in a Baltimore Examiner article about the restaurant.
Another Memphis grad, John “Bull” Bramlett, played seven seasons for the Broncos, Dolphins, Patriots, and Falcons. The card pictured here is Bramlett’s rookie card, a 1967 Topps; he also appeared on a 1969 Topps 4-in-1 insert and a 1971 Topps card. After football, Bramlett started John Bramlett Ministries, in Cordova, Tennessee. The web site includes a few recent photos of Bramlett.
December 2nd, 2010 |
General Collecting Info, New in the Gallery
Today I added virtual uncut sheets of 1948 Bowman football cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. The numbering of the cards on the sheets shows why some of them are short prints, and the positions of the cards on the sheets shows why some are scarce in high grade.
(Click the image to see the uncut sheet page.)
December 2nd, 2010 |
Interactive Team Cards, Player Deaths
Buzz Guy, a lineman from 1958 to 1961 for the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, and Houston Oilers, passed away on November 25. While with the Giants, Guy played in the 1958 NFL Championship game, “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” The Giants lost that game to the Baltimore Colts, 23-17, in overtime.
To my knowledge, Guy had only one football card, the 1961 Topps card pictured here. He also appeared on five New York Giants team cards and three Dallas Cowboys team cards. This happened because Topps used a photo of the 1958 Giants team on all of the Giants team cards from 1959 to 1963, and they used a photo of the 1960 Cowboys team on all of the Cowboys team cards from 1961 to 1963. (See my interactive 1959 Topps Giants team card and 1963 Topps Cowboys team card. Guy is number 60 on both of them.)
Guy also appeared on a Cowboys team issue photo in 1960, the team’s first year in the NFL. You can see that photo at thecowboysguide.com.
November 30th, 2010 |
New in the Gallery
Over the weekend I added 1948 Leaf football cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. I would like to thank Legacy Sports Rarities, who provided most of the images, and Scott Alpaugh (OTWCards), who provided images of the variations in the set. So far I have added the 1948 Leaf variations recognized by the price guides and grading services, but Scott has documented several more variations, and I hope to add those soon.
Pictured here is one of the variations, the “red pants” version of Bobby Layne’s rookie card. The other variation, which is more common, shows Layne in yellow pants. Both variations have Layne’s first name misspelled.
For more details on the 1948 and 1949 Leaf sets, see my earlier blog article, L is for Leaf. I also updated that article over the weekend, adding links where appropriate to the 1948 cards in the Gallery.
November 24th, 2010 |
Woodley Lewis appeared on three Topps football cards, and Topps spelled his name differently on all three. In 1958, he was Woodly. In 1959, he was Woody. In 1960, Topps finally got it right and spelled his name Woodley. The card companies misspelled plenty of players’ names (see a previous blog article, E is for Error Cards), but I can’t think of another player who had his name spelled three different ways.
As I usually do when I write about a player, I did a little web search for Lewis, and I turned up a couple of nice non-card images. One, on the University of Oregon web site, pictures him in the middle of a broad jump. Another, on flickr, shows him in front of the Sportsman Bowl, a bowling alley that he owned after retiring from football. I also found an old matchbook for Woodley Lewis’s Sportsman Bowl on eBay.
November 22nd, 2010 |
Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery
Today I identified the members of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. To search for them, go to the Advanced Search page and pick Chiefs Hall of Fame in one of the Honor menus.
The Chiefs Hall of Fame is interesting. Rather than inducting a group of players in an inaugural class, the team inducted one person in 1970 and one person each year since–except for 1983, when they did not induct anyone. (I don’t know why they skipped 1983. Does anyone else?) The first person inducted was Lamar Hunt, one of the eight founders of the American Football League and the first owner of the Dallas Texans. Hunt moved the Texans to Kansas City in 1963 and renamed them the Chiefs.
The second person inducted was Mack Lee Hill, a running back who died after knee surgery after a game in his second season. Hill was a good player, but clearly he was inducted because he had passed away unexpectedly while with the team.
Jerry Mays was the first person inducted for years of outstanding play. His rookie card, a 1962 Fleer, is pictured here. Mays played ten seasons with the Texans and Chiefs, and he was selected for the All-AFL team in seven of those seasons. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame just two years after retiring.
You can see the full list of Chiefs Hall of Fame inductees on the Chiefs web site.
November 16th, 2010 |
Halls of Fame | 2 Comments
Yesterday I added the ability to search the Vintage Football Card Gallery for members of the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor. The Falcons established the Ring in 2004; you can see all of the inductees on the Falcons web site.
Atlanta entered the league in 1966, and the Gallery contains cards only up to 1976, so I have cards for only three Ring of Honor members: Claude Humphrey, Tommy Nobis, and Jeff Van Note. They are pictured here on their 1972 Sunoco Stamps.
What’s remarkable about these three players is the amount of time they were with the team. Humphrey played 14 seasons in the NFL, 11 of them with the Falcons. Nobis played 11 seasons, all with the Falcons. And Van Note played 17 seasons, all with the Falcons! None of the three has yet been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though Humphrey has been a finalist four times. I would like to see one of the old-timers get in before Deion Sanders, who was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2010. Sanders spent just 5 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Falcons.
I am slowly identifying the members of all of the individual teams’ Halls of Fame in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. You can see the others I have finished on the Advanced Search page.
November 14th, 2010 |
Player Deaths | 1 Comment
Ken Iman, who played center for the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams from 1960 to 1974, passed away on November 13. Iman played on two of the Packers’ championship teams, in 1961 and 1962. Later, with the Rams, he started 140 straight games, and he was the team’s MVP in 1972, according to his obituary on the ESPN web site. After retiring as a player, Iman was the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line coach for eleven years, from 1976 to 1986.
I featured Iman’s football cards in an earlier blog article. His rookie card, a 1971 Topps, wasn’t issued until his twelfth season in the league. He appeared on a card much earlier in his career, a 1961 Lake to Lake Packers card, but since the Lake to Lakes are a regional set, cards from that set are not considered rookie cards. Iman’s 1961 Lake to Lake card is pictured here.
November 14th, 2010 |
Player Deaths | 1 Comment
Lew Carpenter, who played ten seasons with the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Green Bay Packers, passed away today. According to his obituary at PackersNews.com, Carpenter spent time at halfback, fullback, tight end, and wide receiver, and he also returned punts and kickoffs. He was with the Lions when they won the NFL championship in 1953, and he was a member of Green Bay’s 1961 and 1962 championship teams. He also played in three championship games on the losing team: with the Lions in 1954 against the Browns, with the Browns in 1957 against the Lions, and with the Packers in 1960 against the Eagles. After retiring as player, Carpenter was an assistant coach in the NFL for thirty years, on seven different teams.
All of Carpenter’s football cards were with the Packers. The card shown here is Carpenter’s rookie card, a 1959 Topps, issued in his sixth season in the league. He also appeared on a 1960 Topps card and a 1961 Lake to Lake Packers card. His Lake to Lake card is one of the short prints in the set, and it is much scarcer and pricier than his other two cards.
November 14th, 2010 |
John Elliott, a defensive tackle for the New York Jets from 1967 to 1973, passed away on November 11. Elliott made the Pro Bowl three times in his seven seasons, and he was a member of the Jets team that beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. There is a recent interview with Elliott, and a picture of him with his Super Bowl ring, on the Beamont (Texas) Enterprise web site.
After football, Elliott was elected sheriff of Real County, Texas. I found an old People magazine article that describes his efforts, while he was sheriff, to protect golden eagles.
The card pictured here is Elliott’s rookie card, a 1970 Topps. He also appeared on a 1971 Topps card.
November 13th, 2010 |
Brothers, Football Card Trivia | 2 Comments
Yesterday, 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 profootballresearchers.org, 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.”
November 12th, 2010 |
Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery | 1 Comment
Today I added the ability to search the Vintage Football Card Gallery for members of the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll. I found the list of Honor Roll inductees, along with summaries of their careers, in the Eagles media guide. As I have written in earlier posts, I like looking at team halls of fame because they include the second tier of stars, the ones who have not made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One name on the Eagles Honor Roll surprised me: Ollie Matson. I didn’t know that he had been an Eagle! So I looked up his stats and found that he had played for Philadelphia from 1964 to 1966, his last three seasons before retiring. He didn’t appear on a football card during those years, I suppose because his production had waned by then. According to Wikipedia, when the Eagles introduced their Honor Roll in 1987, they inducted all former Eagles who were members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So they included Matson, though his best years had been with the Cardinals and Rams.
Another member of the Eagles Honor Roll inaugural class, Harold Carmichael, is pictured above. This is Carmichael’s rookie card, a 1974 Topps.
You can use the Gallery’s Advanced Search page to find cards of members of the Eagles Honor Roll or other team halls of fame.
November 11th, 2010 |
Interesting eBay Auctions, Silly Stuff, Sites I Like | 1 Comment
I didn’t buy just football cards as a kid; I bought lots of Wacky Packages and other stickers, too. I can’t say I collected them, though, because I mostly stuck them on stuff: notebooks, bicycle, little brother, dog. At any rate, I thought I remembered an old Wacky Packages sticker that parodied Topps football cards, so yesterday I went looking for it. I didn’t have to look hard: the sticker is called “Sootball,” and there are lots of them on eBay. Oddly, there is no mention of cards on the sticker.
Though the Sootball sticker is from the 1975 series of Wacky Packages, it was modeled after the 1974 Topps football card wrapper pictured here. I don’t remember, but I’d guess that Topps released the 1975 Wackys before football season, so they had to use the prior year’s football card wrapper.
Speaking of wrappers, I recently tidied up my wrapper page, added an image or two, and linked the images to the cards that came in the wrappers. If you haven’t seen the page recently, take a look!
Also, if you’re an old Wacky Packages fan, you must visit wackypackages.org. It appears that the site creator, Greg Grant, has images of just about all of them.