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.
November 9th, 2010 |
Brothers, error cards | 1 Comment
In 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.
November 5th, 2010 |
John Greene, who played for the Detroit Lions from 1944 to 1950, passed away yesterday. Greene was a lineman at the University of Michigan, and he spent his first season with the Lions at guard. In his second season, the Lions moved Greene to end, where he had great success. According to his obituary on the Detroit Free Press web site, he led the Lions in receiving from 1945 to 1947, and he was the Lions’ all-time leading receiver when he retired.
I believe that the card pictured here, a 1950 Bowman, is Greene’s only football card. The major sports card companies did not print football cards during his first four seasons, 1944-1947.
November 3rd, 2010 |
Funny Poses, Silly Stuff | 2 Comments
Did you know that the card companies sometimes hired photographers from the DMV to take pictures for sports cards? As you can see from these examples, it’s true. Those DMV folks are experts at catching people with their eyes closed. At least driver’s licenses expire after a few years. People keep sports cards forever!
So, who are our sleepy players, and what cards do they appear on? From the top, we have:
I am undoubtedly missing some. If you know ‘em, post ‘em!
October 31st, 2010 |
Funny Poses, Silly Stuff | 2 Comments
Happy Halloween! This is the scariest vintage football card I can think of, easily topping last year’s Don Hutson card. It’s a 1967 Royal Castle Dolphins card of Ed Cooke, which I recently added to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. (See my earlier article about the Royal Castle Dolphins cards.) The image appears to have been cropped from a 1966 Dolphins press photo, an example of which I found on eBay. The seller of the press photo, historicimages01, has other sports photos on eBay, as well.
I believe that this is Cooke’s only card, though he played in the NFL and AFL for ten seasons. He got around, spending time on six different teams. His longest stint was with the New York Titans/Jets, where he spent four seasons. There is a slightly less scary photo of Cooke at fanbase.com.
So, what’s your favorite scary football card?
October 28th, 2010 |
error cards, New in the Gallery, Sites I Like | 3 Comments
I learned from Todd Tobias’s new blog, Tales from the American Football League, that Rick Redman’s rookie card, the 1965 Topps card shown here, does not picture Rick Redman. So, if it’s not Rick Redman, who is it? Well, Todd has a nice story to tell about it, so I’ll direct you to his article.
A surprising number of vintage football cards picture the wrong player. I keep a list of them, and Mr. Redman’s card is just the latest addition. You can see all of them on my Mistaken Identities page.
October 27th, 2010 |
Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery, Sites I Like
The New York Giants introduced their Ring of Honor at New Meadowlands Stadium early this month. The inaugural class included twenty-two players, plus eight coaches, owners, and executives. You can see the full list of inductees on the Giants’ Wikipedia page. (You can also see the full list on the Giants’ web site, but beware: the page automatically starts a video, and it’s kind of startling.)
Thirteen of the inductees appear as individuals on cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. You can search for them by choosing “Giants Ring of Honor” in one of the “Honor” menus on the Advanced Search page. At least one more inductee, coach Jim Lee Howell, does not appear on a card of his own, but you can find him on some of the team cards–see him on my interactive 1959 Topps Giants team card, for example.
Two of the inductees, Dick Lynch and Joe Morrison, first appeared on cards in the 1962 Post Cereal set, a minor issue. Their cards are pictured here. (For a description of the Post set, see W is for Wonder Bread–and Other Food Issues.) Lynch’s first card in a major issue–in other words, his rookie card–is a 1964 Philadelphia, and Morrison’s is a 1965 Philadelphia. Despite being stars, both players spent seven years in the league before appearing in a major set.
For more early Giants cards, matchbooks, etc., also check out revmoran’s Giants Football Cards page on the Giants web site. It’s great stuff!
October 26th, 2010 |
New in the Gallery, Team Issue Photos | 1 Comment
Yesterday I added 1969 Raiders Team Issue photos to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. These are large black-and-white photos, printed on lightweight cardboard. (At 8 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches, they barely fit on my scanner!) The photos were distributed in two packages, one containing eight offensive players and one containing eight defensive players, for a total of sixteen. The backs of the photos are blank. The players’ names, at the bottom of the photos, appear in at least three different fonts; this suggests to me that the Raiders reused the photos from year to year, adjusting the set as their roster changed.
The set includes a photo of Gene Upshaw, issued three years before his rookie card, a 1972 Topps. It also includes a photo of Warren Wells, who never appeared on a card of his own. Wells led the AFL in receiving yards, touchdowns, and yards from scrimmage in 1969.
October 25th, 2010 |
Player Deaths | 1 Comment
Vince Banonis, an offensive lineman and linebacker for the Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions in the 1940s and 1950s, passed away on October 23. Banonis was a member of the Cardinals’ NFL championship team in 1947–the last time the Cardinals won the championship–and of the Lions’ championship teams in 1952 and 1953. A New York Times article about the 1947 Cardinals includes a great photo of a muddy Banonis with Charley Trippi.
Banonis appeared on three cards that I know of: the 1948 Bowman card pictured here, a 1948 Leaf card, and a 1949 Leaf card. I have not yet added the Leaf cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery, but you can usually find them on eBay. The fronts of the 1948 and 1949 Leaf cards are identical, but the backs are different–see L is for Leaf for examples.
October 21st, 2010 |
Autographs, Interesting eBay Auctions
A few weeks ago, when I added 1967 Royal Castle Dolphins cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery, I wrote that I had seen only one example of the Bob Griese card, an autographed copy in the SGC set registry. Well, now I’ve seen two. My friend Steve at thecowboysguide.com emailed to tell me about this one, another autographed copy, which just sold on eBay for $1007.75. Because the card has writing on it, and because it has paper stuck to the back, my guess is that it would get about the same grade as the one on the SGC site, fair to good.
What, you say, “because it has writing on it”? It’s his autograph! Well, when grading cards, the grading companies treat signatures like any other pen marks: harshly. You might not expect it, but an autograph on an otherwise high-grade card can actually hurt the card’s value. I don’t know the value of a Bob Griese autograph, but I suspect that this is one card that would be worth more unsigned.
So, why $1007.75 for a “fair to good” card? The buyer could be a big Dolphins fan, he could be a vintage collector who wants everything, or–my guess–he could be a pre-rookie card collector. It is generally accepted that Griese’s rookie card is his 1968 Topps card, so this Royal Castle card pre-dates his rookie card by a year. See my pre-rookie card page for more examples.
It is interesting that both of the Griese cards I have seen from this set have been autographed. I wonder if he did a promotion at one of the restaurants and signed both of the cards the same day. I haven’t seen examples of the other short prints, but if some autographed ones turned up, I might conclude that the only way to get the short prints was in person.
For more interesting football card auctions, see my Interesting eBay Auctions tab, above. For more on regional vintage football card sets, see K is for KDKA Steelers–and Other Regional Sets.
October 19th, 2010 |
Player Deaths | 2 Comments
Charley Leo, who played guard for the AFL’s Boston Patriots and Buffalo Bills from 1960 to 1963, passed away on October 7. Leo made the 2nd Team All-AFL in 1960 and 1st Team All-AFL in 1961. I found a photo of the 1961 team on the Patriots web site; Leo is number 63, on the left end of the middle row.
Leo appeared on two cards: a 1961 Fleer card, pictured here, and a 1961 Topps. 1961 was the only year that two card companies printed cards of AFL players, and Leo appeared in both the Fleer and Topps sets. He also appeared on a 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture, a black-and-white version of the 1961 Fleer card, cut from a magazine. (See my previous blog article on the 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures.)