Happy Birthday, Russ Francis!

April 3rd, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Russ Francis 1976 Topps rookie football cardRuss Francis, who played tight end for thirteen seasons with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, is celebrating his 60th birthday today. Francis was a three-time Pro Bowler, and he played on the 1984 49ers team that finished 18-1 and won Super Bowl XIX.

Francis excelled in other sports, as well. In 1971, at Pleasant Hill High School in Oregon, he set the national high school record for the javelin. In the 1974 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, the Kansas City Royals drafted him as a pitcher. He also wrestled professionally, and he placed second in the 1980 U.S. Superstars competition.

Francis is pictured here on his rookie card, a 1976 Topps.

Happy birthday, Mr. Francis!

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Happy Birthday, Tom Vaughn and Roland Harper!

February 28th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Two players in the Vintage Football Card Gallery are celebrating milestone birthdays today: Tom Vaughn is 70, and Roland Harper is 60.

Tom Vaughn, a defensive back and kick returner, played from 1965 to 1971 for the Detroit Lions. Before joining the Lions, he starred at Iowa State. He was elected to the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. Vaughn appeared on one football card, the 1969 Topps card pictured here.

Roland Harper played fullback from 1975 to 1982 for the Chicago Bears. His best season was 1978, when he rushed for 992 yards and had 340 receiving yards. If Harper had gained just 8 more yards rushing, he and his running mate, Walter Payton, would have been the third pair of teammates to rush for 1000 yards in the same season. Harper is pictured here on his rookie card, a 1976 Topps.

Happy birthday, Messrs. Vaughn and Harper!
Tom Vaughn 1969 Topps football cardRoland Harper 1976 Topps rookie football card

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Unflattering Sideline Shots on 1978 Topps Cards

February 18th, 2013  |  Published in Funny Poses, Silly Stuff

I have been busy scanning 1978 Topps cards for the Vintage Football Card Gallery, and I have been amused by some of the images on the cards. The set contains a lot of sideline shots, so it’s no surprise that the players aren’t looking their best. Here are just a couple of beauties: Tom Banks going for the oxygen mask, and Bill Lenkaitis sporting an Ed Grimley ‘do.
Tom Banks 1978 Topps football cardBill Lenkaitis 1978 Topps football card
Both players cleaned up well. Here are Banks and Lenkaitis on their 1976 Topps cards.
Tom Banks 1976 Topps rookie football cardBill Lenkaitis 1976 Topps football card
I am only about half done with the images, but you can scroll through the rest of the 1978 Topps cards here.

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Happy Birthday, Randy White!

January 15th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Randy White 1976 Topps rookie football cardRandy White, the great Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle, turned 60 today. White played for the Cowboys from 1975 to 1988, and he was first team all-NFL seven times in that span. He played in three Super Bowls, and he was a co-MVP in Super Bowl VII, in which the Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos. (He shared the honor with teammate Harvey Martin.) White was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

In 1974, at the University of Maryland, White won the Outland Trophy, awarded to “the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.” He also placed ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1974.

The card pictured here is White’s rookie card, a 1976 Topps. You can see more cards of Outland Trophy winners and Heisman Trophy candidates in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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Have a Holly Jolley Christmas!

December 25th, 2012  |  Published in Silly Stuff

Augustus Holly and Gordon Jolley just about span the range of years represented in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. Next year I hope to add cards into the early 80s–but then maybe it will no longer be just a vintage gallery?

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope it’s been happy for you. Thank you for your business, for visiting my gallery, and for reading my silly blog. Throughout the year, and especially on holidays, I try to remember how fortunate I am to be able to spend money on bits of cardboard. I hope you do, too. Stay in touch in 2013!
Augustus Holly 1894 Mayo Cut Plug football cardGordon Jolley 1976 Topps football card

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John Ward, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Bears Lineman

December 5th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

John Ward 1976 Topps football cardJohn Ward passed away on December 4; he was a lineman from 1970 to 1976 for the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Chicago Bears. Ward was a member of the Vikings teams who represented the NFC in Super Bowls VIII and IX. There is a story about Ward and a recent picture at newsok.com.

Ward appeared on one football card, the 1976 Topps card pictured here. The card pictures Ward with Tampa Bay, who obtained him from Minnesota in the 1976 NFL Expansion Draft. He played just four games with Tampa Bay, then finished the 1976 season with Chicago.

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Fathers and Sons on Vintage Football Cards

June 17th, 2012  |  Published in Fathers and Sons

As I have mentioned in other articles, I have been gradually adding fun facts for the cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. In May I identified the players whose brothers also played pro football (see my blog article Teammate Brothers), and this month I marked the players whose fathers or sons also played professionally. I used the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s list as a reference.

Many of the players on the Hall of Fame’s list never appeared on cards, and some of them appeared on newer cards that I don’t yet have in the Gallery. I did find five pairs of fathers and sons who both appear in the Gallery, though. In honor of Father’s Day, here they are:

Tony Adamle played six seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the AAFC and NFL; his son Mike played six seasons for the Chiefs, Jets, and Bears. Tony is pictured here on his 1951 Bowman card, and Mike on his 1975 Topps card.
Tony Adamle 1951 Bowman football card1975 Topps Mike Adamle football card
Ted Fritsch Sr., a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, played from 1942 to 1950 for the Packers. Ted Fritsch Jr. played from 1972 to 1979 for the Falcons and Redskins. Ted Sr. appears here on his 1950 Bowman card; Ted Jr. is shown on his 1974 Topps card.
Tony Fritsch Sr. 1950 Bowman football cardTed Fritsch Jr. 1974 Topps football card
Dub Jones played for the Miami Seahawks, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Cleveland Browns in the AAFC, and he remained with the Browns when they joined the NFL in 1950. He is shown here on his 1953 Bowman card. Bert Jones, Dub’s son, was a quarterback for ten seasons with the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams. His 1976 Topps card is shown here.
Dub Jones 1953 Bowman football cardBert Jones 1976 Topps football card
George Sauer Sr. played from 1933 to 1935 for the Green Bay Packers; he is shown here on his 1955 Topps All-American card. George Jr. played from 1966 to 1970 for the New York Jets; he is shown on a 1969 Glendale stamp.
George Sauer Sr. 1955 Topps All-American football cardGeorge Sauer Jr. 1969 Glendale Stamp
Finally, George Wilson Sr. played for the Chicago Bears for ten seasons, and he was head coach of the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins for thirteen. Wilson never appeared on a card of his own, but there is a small image of him on the 1964 Philadelphia Lions’ Play card shown here. Wilson’s son, George Jr., played for his father for one season at Miami. His 1967 Topps card is shown here.
1964 Philadelphia Lions Play of the Year football cardGeorge Wilson Jr. 1967 Topps football card

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Teammate Brothers

May 28th, 2012  |  Published in Brothers, New in the Gallery

Awhile back, on the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site, I found a list of brothers who played pro football. I thought it was interesting, so I marked all of the players in the Vintage Football Card Gallery whose brothers had also played professionally. In many cases, only one brother appeared on a card, and it was fun to give the cardless brothers a nod. Did you know, for instance, that Terry Bradshaw’s brother Craig played a season for the Houston Oilers?

In the Hall of Fame’s list, the brothers who were teammates during their pro careers are marked with a diamond. Seeing these made me wonder how many brothers appeared on the same team in the same set of football cards. I did a quick check, and these are the ones I found in the Gallery:

Brothers Knox and Garrard (“Buster”) Ramsey were teammates with the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and 1951. They both appeared with the Cardinals on 1951 Bowman cards.
Knox Ramsey 1950 Bowman rookie football card1950 Bowman Buster Ramsey rookie football card
Ebert and Steve Van Buren were teammates with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1951, and they both appeared on 1951 Bowman football cards.
Ebert Van Buren 1951 Bowman rookie football cardSteve Van Buren 1951 Bowman football card
Phil and Merlin Olsen were teammates with the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 to 1974. They appeared together on 1972 Sunoco Stamps and 1973 Topps football cards.
Phil Olsen 1972 Sunoco StampMerlin Olsen 1972 Sunoco Stamp
Phil Olsen 1973 Topps rookie football cardMerlin Olsen 1973 Topps football card
Tody and Bubba Smith were teammates with the Houston Oilers in 1975 and 1976, and they both appeared with the Oilers in the 1976 Topps set.
1976 Topps Tody Smith football cardBubba Smith 1976 Topps football card
Finally, just missing the cut are brothers Mel and Miller Farr, who were teammates for the Detroit Lions in 1973. Both of them appeared on 1973 Topps cards, but Miller was not traded to the Lions until September, so Topps still had him with the St. Louis Cardinals.
1973 Topps Mel Farr football cardMiller Farr 1973 Topps football card

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2012 College Football Hall of Fame Inductees

May 16th, 2012  |  Published in Halls of Fame

Yesterday the National Football Foundation announced the 2012 Football Bowl Subdivision College Football Hall of Fame Class. (That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) You can see the full list of 12 players and 3 coaches on the NFF web site.

Four of the new College Hall of Famers appear on cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. Their rookie cards are pictured here: Hal Bedsole on a 1965 Philadelphia, John Wooten on a 1967 Philadelphia, Otis Armstrong on a 1975 Topps, and Steve Bartkowski on a 1976 Topps.
Hal Bedsole 1965 Philadelphia rookie football cardJohn Wooten 1967 Philadelphia rookie football card
Otis Armstrong 1975 Topps rookie football cardSteve Bartkowski 1976 Topps rookie football card
I have identified all of the past College Football Hall of Fame inductees in the Gallery, as well. To see the College Hall of Famers from your favorite school, use a web address of the form http://www.footballcardgallery.com/honor1/College+Hall+of+Fame/college/Your+College/. (Example: http://www.footballcardgallery.com/honor1/College+Hall+of+Fame/college/Ohio+State/.)

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Rich Saul, Los Angeles Rams Center

April 16th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Rich Saul 1976 Topps rookie football cardRich Saul, who played center for the Los Angeles Rams from 1970 to 1981, passed away on April 15, according to nfl.com. Saul made the Pro Bowl the last six of his twelve seasons, and he played in Super Bowl XIV against the Steelers. Saul’s brothers Bill and Ron also played in the NFL. Rich and Ron Saul were teammates at Michigan State; there is a nice article about them at profootballresearchers.org.

The card pictured here is Saul’s rookie card, a 1976 Topps, issued in his seventh season. He also appeared on a Topps card each year from 1977 to 1982.

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Freddie Solomon, Dolphins and 49ers Wide Receiver

February 14th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Freddie Solomon, a wide receiver from 1975 to 1985 for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, passed away yesterday. Solomon was a member of the 49ers’ NFL Championship teams of 1981 and 1984. His best season was 1981, when he gained 1012 combined yards rushing and receiving. Playing quarterback at the University of Tampa, Solomon gained 3299 yards rushing, then an NCAA record for a quarterback. There is a picture of him in action on the University of Tampa web site.

I have just one Freddie Solomon card, his 1976 Topps rookie card, pictured here. He also appeared on many newer cards that I don’t yet have in the Gallery. You can find most of them on eBay.

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I Hart You

February 13th, 2012  |  Published in Silly Stuff

Happy Valentine’s Day! Last year I gave you Flowers, this year it’s Harts. Here we go:

First is Leon Hart, a Heisman Trophy winner and College Hall of Famer. Hart played eight seasons for the Detroit Lions, and he appeared on at least twelve football cards. His rookie card, the 1948 Leaf pictured here, was issued while he was still at Notre Dame. It is a high number and one of the key cards in the set.
Leon Hart 1948 Leaf rookie football card
Next is Pete Hart, who played for the New York Titans in the AFL’s inaugural season, 1960. (The Titans were renamed the Jets in 1963.) Hart appeared on a 1961 Fleer card and the 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture shown here.
Pete Hart 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture
Jim Hart was a quarterback for nineteen seasons in the NFL, all but one of them for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a Pro Bowler for four straight seasons, 1974 to 1977. Hart appeared on a lot of football cards; the one pictured here is a 1968 Topps Stand-Up insert card.
Jim Hart 1968 Topps Stand Up football card
Doug Hart played from 1964 to 1971 for the Green Bay Packers. He had the NFL’s longest interception return in 1969, an 85-yarder. The Packers had a lot of great players in the 1960s, of course, so Hart didn’t appear on a card until 1970. His 1970 Topps card is pictured here. He also made it onto a 1972 Sunoco Stamp, but he did not play in 1972.
Doug Hart 1970 Topps football card
Tommy Hart played thirteen seasons for the 49ers, Bears, and Saints. He appeared on several cards during his career; you can see most of them in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. His rookie card, a 1973 Topps, is pictured here.
Tommy Hart 1973 Topps rookie football card
Finally, Harold Hart played four seasons, 1974-1975 and 1977-1978, with the Raiders and Giants. Ironically, his only card is a 1976 Topps that shows him with Tampa Bay, but he didn’t play in 1976, and he never played a regular season game for Tampa Bay. According to his page at bucpower.com, the expansion Buccaneers acquired Hart in the 1976 Veteran Allocation Draft, but he hurt his knee in the pre-season and spent the year on injured reserve.
Harold Hart 1976 Topps football card
That’s all the Harts! Next year, Roseys?

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Mike Current, Broncos, Buccaneers, and Dolphins Tackle

January 17th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Mike Current, a tackle for 13 seasons with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Miami Dolphins, has passed away. According to his page at bucpower.com, Current started 105 consecutive games for the Broncos and played in a total of 169 AFL and NFL games. Current was elected to the AFL West All-Star team after the 1969 season.

The cards pictured here are Current’s rookie card, a 1970 Topps, and his last card, a 1976 Topps. You can see all of Current’s cards and stamps in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Mike Current 1970 Topps rookie football cardMike Current 1976 Topps football card

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Greg Gantt, New York Jets Punter

October 27th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Greg Gantt 1976 Topps football cardGreg Gantt, punter for the New York Jets in 1974 and 1975, passed away on October 26, according to al.com. Gantt apparently was also the Jets’ backup kicker, because he scored an extra point in 1974.

At Alabama, Gantt led the SEC in punting for three straight years. He still holds the school records for single season and career punting average. Unfortunately, he is most famous for having two punts blocked and returned for touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 17-16 loss to Auburn. The game was nicknamed the Punt, ‘Bama, Punt game.

Gantt is pictured here on his 1976 Topps football card. It was issued the year after his last NFL season–not an unusual occurrence.

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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

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