Happy Birthday, Jim Hardy!

April 24th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Jim Hardy 1948 Bowman football cardFormer NFL quarterback Jim Hardy is celebrating his 90th birthday today. Hardy played from 1946 to 1952 for the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals, and Detroit Lions. He played in the first Pro Bowl, after the 1950 season, and he was a member of the Lions team that won the NFL Championship in 1952.

Hardy played college football at USC, leading the Trojans to Rose Bowl wins in 1944 and 1945. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

According to oldestprofootball.com, Hardy is the 66th oldest living American pro football player. He is pictured here on his 1948 Bowman football card.

Happy birthday, Mr. Hardy!

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Chuck Cherundolo, Rams, Eagles, and Steelers Center

December 27th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Chuck Cherundolo 1948 Bowman football cardChuck Cherundolo, who played center from 1937 to 1948 for the Cleveland Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers, passed away on December 22. Cherundolo was a Pro Bowler for the Steelers in 1941 and 1942. After retiring, Cherundolo coached for 22 years in the NFL, according to the Scranton Times Tribune. At 96, he had been the fourth oldest living pro football player, behind Clarence “Ace” Parker, Johnny Kovatch, and Bill Glassford. (See oldestlivingprofootball.com for a list of the oldest 500 living pro football players.)

Cherundolo appeared on one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here. Cherundolo’s last season, 1948, happened to be the first year since 1935 that a major card company issued football cards. Leaf also released a set of football cards in 1948.

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Merv Pregulman, Packers, Lions, and Bulldogs Lineman

November 30th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Merv Pregulman 1948 Bowman football cardMerv Pregulman, who played from 1946 to 1949 for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and New York Bulldogs, passed away on November 29. There is a story about Pregulman, along with a few photos, on Chattanooga’s WRCBtv.com web site. Pregulman received All-America honors at the University of Michigan, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. Between college and the NFL, he served in World War II.

Pregulman appeared on one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here.

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Trivia Tuesday

May 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Trivia Questions

It’s Trivia Tuesday! Just pick the “Answer” links to see the answers.

    1948 Bowman football card
  1. The quarterback pictured on this 1948 Bowman football card holds the NFL record for most interceptions thrown in a game. Who is he, and what is the record? Answer
  2. What defensive back holds the NFL record for career interceptions? Answer
  3. What University of Nebraska head coach was a receiver for the Washington Redskins in 1960 and 1961? Answer
  4. What Dallas Cowboy married actress Joey Heaterton in 1969? Answer
  5. What member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been an Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court since 1992? Answer
  6. Who were the first two Heisman Trophy winners to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Answer
  7. Which two teams were the participants in the longest NFL game ever played? Answer

Like these? See my trivia questions from past weeks.


Bill “Red” Moore, Steelers Guard

December 23rd, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Bill "Red" Moore 1948 Bowman football cardBill “Red” Moore, a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1947 to 1949, passed away on December 14. The Beaver County (Pennsylvania) Times web site has a report.

Moore appeared on one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here.

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Nolan Luhn, Green Bay Packers End

November 30th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Nolan Luhn 1948 Bowman football cardNolan Luhn, an end for the Green Bay Packers from 1945 to 1949, passed away on November 27. The whiotv.com web site has a short report.

To my knowledge, Luhn appeared on just one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here. 1948 Bowman cards with numbers divisible by 3 were short-printed, and Luhn’s card, number 9, is one of the scarcest cards in the set. See my 1948 Bowman virtual uncut sheet page for details.

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Bill Gray, Washington Redskins Offensive Lineman

August 25th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Bill Gray 1948 Bowman football cardBill Gray, an offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins in 1947 and 1948, passed away on August 18. OregonLive.com has an account of his life.

Gray appeared on one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here.

You can see Gray’s career NFL statistics at pro-football-reference.com.

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Pete Pihos, Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame End

August 16th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Pete Pihos, Hall of Fame end for the Philadelphia Eagles, passed away this morning, according to the team’s web site. Pihos played nine seasons for the Eagles, from 1947 to 1955, and he made the Pro Bowl the last six of those seasons. He was also a member of the Eagles’ 1948 and 1949 NFL Championship teams. Pihos’s page on the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site has a summary of his career.

Pihos had two rookie cards, the 1948 Leaf and 1948 Bowman cards pictured below. The 1948 Leaf card shown here is the variation with yellow numerals; there is also a rare variation with blue numerals. You can see all of Pete Pihos’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Pete Pihos 1948 Leaf rookie football cardPete Pihos 1948 Bowman rookie football card

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1948 Bowman Wrong Back Football Cards

June 3rd, 2011  |  Published in Football Card Trivia, Interesting eBay Auctions

I noticed this week that eBay seller bmw_cards2 has a bunch of 1948 Bowman wrong-back cards for sale. Pictured here is one of them, a Joe Muha card with a Harry Gilmer back.
Joe Muha 1948 Bowman wrong back football cardBack of Joe Muha 1948 Bowman wrong back football card
I was curious about how the cards got the wrong backs, so I looked at where they were positioned on the uncut sheets. (See my 1948 Bowman virtual uncut sheet page.) It turns out that the fronts of all of BMW’s cards are from the first sheet, and the backs are all from the corresponding positions on the third sheet. (The Muha card is fourth from the right in the bottom row.) I don’t know much about printing, but it looks to me like the printer printed the front of the sheet, then used the wrong plate when printing the back.

Searching eBay further, I found a 1948 Bowman Art Faircloth card with a similar problem, only the Faircloth card has both the correct back and an incorrect back printed on it. Again, the front of the card is from the first sheet, and the incorrect back is from the corresponding position on the third sheet.

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Duke Iversen, Giants and Yanks Blocking Back and Linebacker

May 26th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Duke Iversen 1948 Bowman football cardDuke Iversen, a back and linebacker from 1947 to 1951 for the New York Giants and New York Yanks, has passed away. He was 91. There is a recent article about Iversen’s career at petaluma360.com.

Iversen appeared on one football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here.

You can see Duke Iversen’s NFL career statistics at pro-football-reference.com.

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Paul Briggs, Detroit Lions Tackle and Linebacker

February 22nd, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Paul Briggs 1948 Bowman football cardPaul Briggs, who played tackle and linebacker for the Detroit Lions in 1948, passed away on February 14. According to Briggs’s obituary at bakersfield.com, a knee injury cut short his football career. The obituary includes an account of his World War II heroism, a list of his college football awards, and a recent photo. Cubuffs.com has a photo of Briggs with the 1947 University of Colorado football team.

Despite having a short NFL career, Briggs appeared on a football card, the 1948 Bowman card pictured here. His card is one of the short prints in the set, and one of the more difficult cards in the set to find in high grade. (For details, see the 1948 Bowman uncut sheet page.)

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An Achievement Unmatched in Fifty Years

December 10th, 2010  |  Published in Trivia Questions

Bob Hoernschemeyer 1950 Bowman rookie football card1948 Bowman Charley Trippi rookie football card1948 Leaf George Taliaferro rookie football cardHere’s a bit of trivia from my fellow collector Pete. Pictured here are three vintage rookie cards: a 1948 Bowman Charley Trippi, a 1950 Bowman Bob Hoernschemeyer, and a 1948 Leaf George Taliaferro. What did these three players achieve that no one has since?

Answer: They are the only three NFL players to have gotten over 1000 yards passing, 1000 yards rushing, and 1000 yards receiving in their pro careers. Here are their numbers from pro-football-reference.com:

But wait–there’s an asterisk.

Some of Taliaferro and Hoernschemeyer’s stats are from the AAFC, it turns out, and without their AAFC stats, they would not have achieved their triple-1000s. I wondered if the NFL recognized AAFC stats, and I learned that they don’t: Hoernschemeyer’s page at nfl.com shows his seasons in the AAFC, but not his statistics. By contrast, George Blanda’s page shows both his NFL and AFL statistics. Why would the NFL recognize AFL stats but not AAFC stats? Wikipedia’s page on the AAFC offers two possible explanations: either the AAFC didn’t provide the NFL with its official scoresheets, or the NFL considered the AAFC less than equal, since the NFL absorbed only three of the AAFC teams when the AAFC folded in 1950. Both reasons seem silly, especially the latter. One of those three AAFC teams, the Cleveland Browns, reached the championship game in each of their first six years in the NFL, and they won three of those six games.

So, if you go by the NFL record book, Charley Trippi is the only player to have achieved the 1000-yard passing/rushing/receiving career triple. I’m siding with my friend Pete, though, and also including the other two here. Especially since I like the name Hoernschemeyer.

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New in the Gallery: 1948 Bowman Virtual Uncut Sheets

December 2nd, 2010  |  Published in 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.)
Virtual uncut sheet of 1948 Bowman football cards

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Vince Banonis, Lineman and Linebacker for the Cardinals and Lions

October 25th, 2010  |  Published in Player Deaths

1948 Bowman Vince Banonis football cardVince 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.

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Z is for Zebras

May 16th, 2010  |  Published in ABCs of Vintage Football Cards, Football Card Trivia

Last fall, when I wrote in the Collectors Universe forums that I was starting the ABCs, I said that I hadn’t yet thought of a topic for Z. One of the participants there (thanks, nam812!) suggested “Z is for Zebras.” Great idea, I thought, but only a few vintage cards of officials came to mind, and all of them were in the 1966 and 1967 Philadelphia sets. If I had only those to write about, “Z is for Zebras” would be a short article.

I learned last week, though, that Bruce Alford was a longtime NFL official who had appeared on a card as a player. I wondered if other officials had appeared on cards as players, too. Wikipedia happens to have an all-time list of NFL officials, so I perused the list, looking for names I recognized from cards. Including Alford, I found four. That was better, now I could include them in this article, as well.

First, the Philadelphia cards. The 1966 and 1967 Philadelphia sets each include a Referee Signals card and a few cards that have referee signals on the back. In the 1966 set, the referee signals appear on the backs of the “play” cards; in the 1967 set, they appear on the backs of the team cards. The Referee Signals cards and the back of the 1966 Philadelphia Vikings Play card are shown here.
1966 Philadelphia Referee Signals football card1967 Philadelphia Referee Signals football card1966 Philadelphia Vikings Play football card back

Except for an occasional official in the background (thanks, revmoran!) or random striped shirt in an action photo, that’s really about it for officials on vintage cards. But then we have the zebras who appeared on cards in their pre-zebra days:

Bruce Alford, who recently passed away, spent six years as a player in the AAFC and NFL, then officiated in the NFL for twenty years. He officiated Super Bowls II, VII, and IX. Alford appeared as a player on a 1951 Bowman card.

Al Conway was the Eagles’ first-round draft pick in 1953, and he appeared on a 1953 Bowman card. According to pro-football-reference.com, he never played a league game, but he went on to officiate for 28 years in the AFL and NFL.
1951 Bowman Bruce Alford football card1953 Bowman Al Conway football card
Pat Harder played eight years for the Cardinals and Lions, and he appeared on four cards in that span: 1948 Bowman, 1948 Leaf, 1950 Bowman, and 1953 Bowman. His 1948 Bowman card is pictured here. After retiring as a player, Harder was an official for seventeen years. One game he officiated was the Raiders-Steelers playoff game in which Franco Harris made his Immaculate Reception.

Finally, Frank Sinkovitz was a center and linebacker for the Steelers for six years. He appeared on the 1950 Bowman card pictured here, and a 1951 Bowman card. After his playing days, he officiated for 26 years. One game he officiated was Super Bowl XV.
1948 Bowman Pat Harder football card1950 Bowman Frank Sinkovitz football card
So there you have it, the NFL officials rookie card collection. If you can think of additions, let me know.

Now I know my ABCs…

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