Terry Owens, San Diego Chargers Tackle

November 6th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Terry Owens, a tackle for the San Diego Chargers from 1966 to 1975, passed away on October 27. His obituary on the Shelton Funeral Home web site includes a recent photo and a summary of his career. Owens suffered from dementia, which his wife, Alison, described on Dave Pear’s blog.

At Jacksonville State University, Owens starred at both football and basketball. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1975.

The two cards pictured here are Owens’s rookie card, a 1973 Topps, and his 1975 Wonder Bread card. He also appeared on a 1972 Sunoco stamp, a 1974 Topps card, and a 1975 Topps card.
Terry Owens 1973 Topps rookie football cardTerry Owens 1975 Wonder Bread football card

Tags: , , ,

Mad Men

September 25th, 2011  |  Published in Silly Stuff

Don’t ask me how I got there, but the other day I found myself thinking about players with “Mad” nicknames. Here are four I thought of: Daryle “Mad Bomber” Lamonica, on his 1968 Topps Stand Up insert; Ted “Mad Stork” Hendricks, on his 1975 Wonder Bread card; Alex “The Mad Duck” Karras, on his 1966 Philadelphia card, and Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, on his 1976 Topps card.

Can you think of more?
Daryle Lamonica 1968 Topps Stand Up Insert CardTed Hendricks 1975 Wonder Bread football card
Alex Karras 1966 Philadelphia football cardJim Mandich 1976 Topps football card

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

Happy Independence Day from Red, White, and Blue

July 4th, 2010  |  Published in Silly Stuff

1955 Topps All-American Red Grange football card1976 Wonder Bread Forrest Blue football cardDaryl White 1973 Nebraska Playing CardHappy Independence Day! It took me awhile, but I found just the right three cards for the occasion. First we have Red Grange on his 1955 Topps All-American card. Then there’s Daryl White on a 1973 Nebraska Playing Card. (Note that its card #4.) And, finally, Forrest Blue on his 1975 Wonder Bread card. Between the three, we even have a star and a few stripes!

In case you aren’t familiar with the three sets, you can read about them in earlier blog articles:

Enjoy your picnics and fireworks!

Tags: , , , , ,

W is for Wonder Bread–and Other Food Issues

April 30th, 2010  |  Published in ABCs of Vintage Football Cards, General Collecting Info

Old football cards weren’t packaged just with bubble gum. They also came in and on packages of cereal, bread, hot dogs, potato chips, and dairy products. Some food issues were regional: they included players from a single team and were distributed only in that team’s part of the country. I covered most of those issues in K is for KDKA–and Other Regional Sets. In this article I’ll cover the food issues that were distributed nationally and included players from multiple teams.

1974-1976 Wonder Bread and Town Talk Bread

In 1974, 1975, and 1976, Topps printed small sets of football cards for distribution by Wonder Bread. The cards from all three sets are plain, plentiful, and cheap. The 1974 Wonder Bread set includes thirty cards of star players, and its design closely resembles 1971 Topps. The cards of the offensive players, punter, and kicker have red borders, and the cards of the defensive players have yellow ones. Some of the images on the Wonder Bread cards–such as the Willie Brown pictured here–also appear in Topps sets.

The 1975 and 1976 Wonder Bread sets each contain twenty-four cards. Each set represents an all-star starting lineup: offense, defense, kicker, and punter. I described these sets in “New in the Gallery” blog articles, so I’ll just point you to those: 1975 Wonder Bread Cards and 1976 Wonder Bread Cards.

Topps also printed a variation of each Wonder Bread set for Town Talk Bread, a brand that was distributed only in Western Pennsylvania. I did a little research, and I found that in 2005, the Town Talk and Wonder Bread brands were owned by the same company. Apparently, the two companies were already affiliated in the mid-1970s.

The differences between the Wonder Bread and Town Talk cards are trivial. According to Beckett, the 1974 Town Talk cards “are distinguished from the Wonder Bread issue by the absence of a credit line at the top of the cardback.” On the 1975 and 1976 Town Talk cards, the credit line on the back reads “Town Talk Bread All-Star Series,” rather than “Wonder Bread All-Star Series.”

Because they were distributed in only one area, the Town Talk cards are much scarcer than the Wonder Bread cards. Most of the Town Talk cards I see are priced ten times higher than their Wonder Bread counterparts. You can usually find a few Town Talk cards on eBay.

1962 Post Cereal

1962 Post Cereal was a large set for its time, with 200 cards. The cards came on the backs of cereal boxes, several to a box, so they are all hand-cut. The set contains several pre-rookie cards of Hall of Fame players; one of them is the Bob Lilly pictured here. You can see the rest on my pre-rookie card page.

The images on the Post cards are amusing. Most show the players in fake action shots, and the players appear to be hunching over to fit into the frame. Y.A. Tittle is wearing his helmet, of course, and I believe he is the only helmeted player in the set. (See Y.A. Kept His Hat On.) As I wrote in a previous article, the Post cards used footnotes to indicate which players had been traded during the off-season. Each card of a traded player shows both his old team and his new one. I can’t think of another vintage football card set that explicitly identifies the traded players.

Two of the cards in the Post set have variations. Both cards, Jim Ninowski and Sam Baker, have footnotes because the players had been traded. On each of these cards, the asterisk for the footnote can be either black or red. Yes, we nutty card collectors need to have them both.

1952 Wheaties

The 1952 Wheaties set is a sixty-card, multi-sport set. It contains two cards each for thirty athletes, and the cards came ten to a box on Wheaties boxes. The cards are slightly smaller than standard trading cards, at 2 by 2 3/4 inches.

Six of the thirty athletes in the set–and hence, twelve of the cards–are football players: Doak Walker, Otto Graham, John Lujack, Tom Fears, Glenn Davis, and Bob Waterfield. You can see the football cards in the 1952 Wheaties set in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

1970 and 1971 Kellogg’s

Lance Alworth 1970 Kellogg's football cardYet another cereal company, Kellogg’s, got into the football card game in 1970. Kellogg’s included small, plastic-on-paper “3-D” cards in their cereal boxes in both 1970 and 1971. The Lance Alworth card pictured here is a 1970 Kellogg’s card; the Jim Hart is a 1971 Kellogg’s.

The Kellogg’s cards came in thin paper wrappers that you could see through, and I know at least one person who collects the cards still in the wrappers. I make fun of him, but I actually think it’s cool. The 1970 Kellogg’s cards were available as a complete set via mail order, but the 1971 cards weren’t, so the 1971 cards are scarcer. The plastic coating on the cards makes the corners sturdier than cardboard, so the cards are easy to find in high grades. The plastic is susceptible to cracking, however.

Both sets feature facsimile signatures on the front, and lots of stats and detailed personal information in tiny print on the back. They’re pretty cool cards, and I imagine that kids made their moms buy lots of cereal to get them.

You can see both 1970 Kellogg’s and 1971 Kellogg’s football cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

Other Food Issues

As I said at the top, several other food issues were distributed regionally. These regional issues include 1959 and 1960 Bell Brand Rams, 1960 Mayrose Cardinals, 1961 Lake to Lake Packers, and 1961 Golden Tulip Chargers. You can read about them in K is for KDKA–and Other Regional Sets.

One group of food issues I haven’t covered yet is the run of 1959-1964 Kahn’s Wieners sets. I’ll write about those in a separate article.

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

New in the Gallery: 1975 Wonder Bread Cards

January 25th, 2010  |  Published in New in the Gallery

Today I added 1975 Wonder Bread cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. The cards are homely, but they’re cheap: you can find most of them on eBay for a dollar or two.

There are only twenty-four cards in the set, so not all teams are represented. There are no Bills, Falcons, Cardinals, Colts, Oilers, or Saints in the set. The players on the cards compose a starting lineup of eleven defensive players, eleven offensive players, a kicker, and a punter. The eleven defensive players have red borders; the rest have blue borders.

The backs of the cards contain the players’ stats and short quizzes. One question I saw was “What would happen if after a kickoff the ball deflates in flight?” Do you suppose that’s ever happened? Well if it did, the referee would get a new ball and it would be re-kicked, according to John Mendenhall’s card.

The card backs also say that Topps printed the cards. Like the regular 1975 Topps cards, the Wonder Bread cards have no team logos on them, and the two helmets that appear in the images are airbrushed. The cards don’t even have the teams’ cities on them. It’s not much of a set, I’m afraid, though I imagine that player and team collectors would be interested in individual cards. The little quizzes are the best part!

Tags: , ,