Mr. Irrelevant

August 13th, 2010  |  Published in Silly Stuff

Since 1976, the last player selected in the NFL draft has been dubbed Mr. Irrelevant and invited to a celebration called Irrelevant Week. The event, which was started by Paul Salata, a former receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and original Baltimore Colts, raises money for Orange County charities. You can read about the this year’s Mr. Irrelevant and the 2010 festivities at IrrelevantWeek.com.

The Vintage Football Card Gallery has pictures of cards only up to 1976, so it includes only one card of an official Mister Irrelevant. It also, however, includes a few cards of players who would have been named Mr. Irrelevant if the title had been awarded earlier. Most of these players turned out to be relevant, after all, or they would not have made it onto football cards. Here are all of players in the Gallery who were chosen last in the NFL draft:

Bill Fischer, 1948

1950 Bowman Bill Fischer rookie football cardBill Fischer was the final player chosen in the 1948 draft; the Chicago Cardinals picked him in the 32nd round. Unfortunately, according to an article on buzzle.com, Fischer was ineligible for the NFL in 1948–perhaps because he was only a junior? So the Cardinals drafted him again in 1949, this time in the first round. Fischer played five seasons for the Cardinals and went to three Pro Bowls.

This is his rookie card, a 1950 Bowman. He also appeared on Bowman cards in 1951 and 1952.

John Schweder, 1949

1952 Bowman Small John Schweder rookie football cardJohn “Bull” Schweder was the 251st and last player chosen in the 1949 draft. The Philadelphia Eagles picked him, but he apparently did not make their roster in 1949. In 1950 he joined the Baltimore Colts, but the Colts folded after the season, and the team’s players were made available in the 1951 draft. In 1951, Schweder was again drafted, this time at pick number 103, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played for the Steelers from 1951 to 1955.

Pictured here is one of Schweder’s rookie cards, a 1952 Bowman Small. He also appeared on several other 1950s Bowman cards.

Sisto Averno, 1951

1953 Bowman Sisto Averno football cardSisto Averno was another member of the 1950 Baltimore Colts team who ended up in the draft when the team disbanded. Averno was the last player chosen in 1951, by the Cleveland Browns in the 30th round. He played for the New York Yanks in 1951, and the Yanks folded at the end of that season. The NFL gave the remnants of the Yanks to a new franchise in Dallas in 1952, and–guess what?–that franchise also folded at the end of the season. In 1953, the league awarded the remains of the Dallas team to another Baltimore Colts franchise, and Averno spent two years with the new Baltimore team before calling it a career. (See Bob Carroll’s article at profootballresearchers.com for a detailed description of the churn in the NFL in the early 1950s.)

Averno appeared on one card, this 1953 Bowman.

Jacque MacKinnon, 1961

1964 Topps Jacque MacKinnon rookie football cardJacque MacKinnon was the last player chosen in the 1961 NFL draft. The Philadelphia Eagles chose him with the 280th overall pick. He instead went to the AFL’s San Diego Chargers, and in nine years with the Chargers, he made the Pro Bowl twice.

The card pictured here is MacKinnon’s rookie card, a short print in the 1964 Topps set. He also appeared on several other Topps cards in the late 1960s. (On his 1969 Topps card, he looks like Emilio Estevez!)

Stan Hegener, 1975

1973 Nebraska Playing Card of Stan HegenerStan Hegener was the last player chosen in the 1975 NFL draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers chose him with the 442nd overall pick, but he apparently did not make the team. The card pictured here is a 1973 Nebraska playing card, from his college days. He also appeared on a 1974 Nebraska playing card.

Jim Kelleher, 1977

Jim Kelleher 1974 Colorado Playing CardJim Kelleher is the only official Mr. Irrelevant in the Gallery. The Mr. Irrelevant title was first awarded in 1976, and Kelleher was the last player chosen in the 1977 NFL draft. The Minnesota Vikings chose Kelleher with the 335th overall pick, but he did not see playing time in the NFL. The card here pictures Kelleher on his 1974 University of Colorado playing card.

The Mr. Irrelevant page on Wikipedia lists all of the players chosen last in the NFL draft, before and after 1976.

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Sites I Like: The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game

July 11th, 2009  |  Published in Football Card Trivia, Sites I Like, Uniforms

Sometimes you get to a topic in a roundabout way. Last night I came across this terrific 1954 Bowman Jim Dooley card, and I thought I’d look for other cards that picture players in their College All-Star uniforms. I found John Brockington’s 1972 Topps rookie card, which I believe shows him in an All-Star jersey with the stars airbrushed off. It’s not an Ohio State jersey, and it’s not a Packers jersey, but it has the style of an All-Star jersey, and Brockington played in the All-Star game in 1971. (Topps also used this image of Brockington on his 1972 All-Pro card, where they airbrushed his jersey Packer green.)

Anyway, looking around the internet for pictures of players in their All-Star uniforms, I found a site called The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game 1934-1976. What a great site! It provides the background and history of the game, scores from each year, a summary of each year’s game, game records, the MVPs, and yearly attendance. Some of the early games drew over 100,000 fans!

The MVP awards were given only to the college players, and the positions that the MVPs played show how the game evolved. In the 30’s and 40’s, nearly all of the MVPs were running backs, and there was even an offensive lineman, Bill Fischer. In the 50’s and 60’s, as the passing game became more prevalent, the award went mainly to quarterbacks. In the late 60’s and 70’s, when the NFL dominated the game and stuffed the All-Star offenses, many of the awards went to the All-Stars’ defensive players. The college MVP in the final game, in 1973? The punter, Ray Guy!

Find Jim Dooley cards on: eBay, Nearmint’s Cards.

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