George Saimes, Bills and Broncos Defensive Back

March 10th, 2013  |  Published in Player Deaths

George Saimes 1964 Topps rookie football cardGeorge Saimes, who played defensive back from 1963 to 1972 for the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, passed away on March 8. There is a tribute to Saimes on the Buffalo Bills web site. Saimes was an AFL All-Star five times, and he played on Buffalo’s 1964 and 1965 AFL championship teams. He was elected to the Bills Wall of Fame in 2000.

Before his pro career, Saimes starred at both fullback and defensive back at Michigan State. In 1962 he finished seventh in voting for the Heisman Trophy. He was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

Saimes is pictured here on his rookie card, a 1964 Topps. He appeared on numerous other cards and stamps, as well.

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Happy Birthday, Elbert Dubenion and Brig Owens!

February 16th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Elbert Dubenion 1963 Fleer football cardTwo players in the Vintage Football Card Gallery are celebrating milestone birthdays today: Elbert Dubenion is 80, and Brig Owens is 70.

Elbert “Golden Wheels” Dubenion, a flanker, played his entire career with the Buffalo Bills in the AFL. He was one of the original Bills in 1960, and he stayed with the team until 1968. Dubenion was AFL All-Star in 1964, and he was elected to the Bills Wall of Fame in 1993. Before his pro career, Dubenion starred at Bluffton University, and there is a nice article about him on the school’s web site. According to, Dubenion is the 494st oldest living pro football player.

Dubenion is pictured here on his 1963 Fleer football card. He appeared on many other Fleer and Topps cards, as well.

Brig Owens 1970 Topps football cardBrig Owens, a defensive back, played from 1966 to 1977 for the Washington Redskins. He is second on the Redskins all-time leaders list for interceptions, behind Darrell Green. The team has named Owens one of the 80 Greatest Redskins, and he is member of the Redskins Ring of Fame.

Owens is pictured here on his 1970 Topps football card. He also appeared on several other cards and stamps during his career.

Happy birthday, Messrs. Dubenion and Owens!

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Happy Birthday, Artie Owens!

January 14th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays, Oddball

Artie Owens 1974 West Virginia football playing cardArtie Owens is 60 years old today; he was a wide receiver and kick returner from 1976 to 1980 for the San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, and New Orleans Saints. He also played one season, 1983, for the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL. Owens played college football at West Virginia University, where he also starred in track. He was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

As far as I know, Owens did not appear on a football card as a pro, but he did appear on the 1974 West Virginia playing card pictured here. A few of his teammates in the deck of 1974 West Virginia cards made it to the NFL, as well.

Happy birthday, Mr. Owens!

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Ernie Warlick, Stampeders and Bills Tight End

November 25th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Ernie Warlick 1963 Fleer rookie football cardErnie Warlick, a tight end for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders from 1957 to 1961 and the AFL’s Buffalo Bills from 1962 to 1965, passed away on November 24. Warlick was an AFL All-Star all four of his seasons with the Bills, and he was a member of the Bills’ 1964 and 1965 AFL championship teams. The Buffalo News web site has a story about Warlick, including a recent photo.

Pictured here is Warlick’s 1963 Fleer football card. He appeared on one other AFL card, a 1965 Topps “Tall Boy.” He also appeared on several CFL cards with the Stampeders.

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Tom Keating, Defensive Tackle for the Bills, Raiders, Steelers, and Chiefs

September 5th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Tom Keating 1968 Topps football cardTom Keating has passed away; he played defensive tackle from 1964 to 1975 for the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs. There is an article about Keating on the San Francisco Chronicle web site. Keating played on the three American Football League championship teams: the 1964 and 1965 Bills, and the 1967 Raiders. The 1967 Raiders team went on to play Green Bay in Super Bowl II.

The card pictured here is Keating’s 1968 Topps football card. In 1968, Topps honored the prior season’s Super Bowl contestants, the Raiders and Packers, by giving their cards a different design than the rest of the teams. Keating also appeared on a 1965 Topps card, a 1970 Topps card, and a 1972 Sunoco Stamp.

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A Modest Start on 1961 Topps Virtual Uncut Sheets

August 8th, 2012  |  Published in New in the Gallery

Yesterday I showed you some miscut 1967 Topps cards that I picked up at the National; today I have a handful of 1961 Topps cards. I hope to collect enough of these to determine what uncut sheets of 1961 Topps cards looked like. I have not seen an uncut sheet, partial sheet, panel, or strip of 1961 Topps cards, so I am starting from scratch with this set. To see what I have so far, check out my 1961 Topps virtual uncut sheet page. As always, if you have miscut cards that would help the project, I would love to see them.
Miscut 1961 Topps John David Crow football cardMiscut 1961 Topps Ken Rice football card

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Reversed Images on 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures

March 2nd, 2012  |  Published in error cards

I discovered two more reversed images today, these on the 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures of Dan McGrew and Chris Burford. It is easy to see the errors when you put the pictures alongside the players’ regular issue 1961 Fleer football cards. Fleer used the same images for all of the players who appear in both the Wallet Pictures set and the regular Fleer set, but they happened to get these two backward. They made lots more errors on the Wallet Photos, too, mostly misspelling the players’ names on the backs.

These are the ten and eleventh reversed images I have identified in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. All of them are pictured on the Gallery’s Reversed Images page.
Dan McGrew 1961 Fleer football cardDan McGrew 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture
Chris Burford 1961 Fleer football cardChris Burford 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture

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Another Cup of Coffee

January 14th, 2012  |  Published in Football Card Trivia

Larry Joe 1948 Leaf football cardIn a previous article I featured the football cards of several players who played in exactly one NFL, AFL, or AAFC game. Today I added Larry Joe’s 1948 Leaf football card to that article. Joe, I learned, played in one game in 1949 for the AAFC’s Buffalo Bills. Check out the whole list.

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Ray Abruzzese, Bills and Jets Defensive Back

August 27th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Ray Abruzzese 1963 Fleer rookie football cardRay Abruzzese, a defensive back from 1962 to 1966 for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, passed away on August 22. He was a member of Alabama’s NCAA National Championship team in 1961 and a member of Buffalo’s AFL Championship team in 1964. I found a photo of the Alabama team on the university’s web site and a photo of the Bills team at

Abruzzese had two football cards with the Bills, and both are error cards. His rookie card, the 1963 Fleer card pictured here, has his last name misspelled. The error on his 1964 Topps card is worse: the card pictures Ed Rutkowski, not Abruzzese. (For more cards that picture the wrong player, see my Mistaken Identities page.)

Abruzzese also appeared on a rare–and pricey–1963 Jones Dairy milk bottle cap. His name is spelled correctly on the cap, and the picture on it is his. I do not have the cap, but I found a clear image of one in an eBay listing.

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New in the Gallery: 1975 McDonald’s Quarterbacks Football Cards

June 5th, 2011  |  Published in New in the Gallery

This weekend I added 1975 McDonald’s Quarterbacks cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. This is a bitty set: just four cards of AFC quarterbacks. Three of the four quarterbacks–Ken Stabler, Terry Bradshaw, and Joe Ferguson–had led their teams to the playoffs the season before. The fourth, Al Woodall of the Jets, was an odd choice. Perhaps he was included because New York was a big market, or perhaps because Marden-Kane, Inc., and Rosenfeld, Sirowitz & Lawson, Inc., the advertising agencies who produced the cards, were based in New York.
Joe Ferguson 1975 McDonald's Quarterbacks football cardBack of Joe Ferguson 1975 McDonald's Quarterbacks football card
On the back of each card is a coupon for 25 cents off a McDonald’s Big Meal. Each coupon was good for a different week early in the 1975 NFL season.

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Ralph Felton, Redskins and Bills Linebacker

January 26th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Ralph Felton 1960 Topps football cardRalph Felton, a linebacker for the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills, passed away on January 22, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Felton played for the Redskins from 1954 to 1960, and for the Bills in 1961 and 1962.

Felton appeared on two football cards during his career. His first card, a 1960 Topps, is pictured here; it was issued in his seventh season. He also appeared on a 1961 Fleer card as a Redskin, but by then he had moved on to the Bills.

You can see Ralph Felton’s NFL and AFL statistics at

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Cookie Gilchrist, Star CFL and AFL Fullback

January 10th, 2011  |  Published in CFL Cards, Player Deaths

Cookie Gilchrist 1963 Fleer football cardCookie Gilchrist, who played fullback from 1962 to 1967 for the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, and Miami Dolphins, passed away this morning. He was a member of the Bills team that won the American Football League Championship in 1964. Before playing in the AFL, Gilchrist spent six seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. There is a comprehensive article about Gilchrist’s career on the Pro Football Researchers web site.

The card pictured here is Gilchrist’s 1963 Fleer football card. He also appeared on Topps AFL football cards each year from 1964 to 1967. His 1963 Fleer card is considered his rookie card, though he appeared on several CFL cards prior to 1963.

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The Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame

December 26th, 2010  |  Published in Halls of Fame, New in the Gallery

Booker Edgerson 1963 Fleer rookie football cardYesterday I identified the members of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. Pictured here is the 2010 inductee, Booker Edgerson, on his rookie card, a 1963 Fleer. You can see the full list of inductees on the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association web site. I had to dig a little, but I also found a photo of part of the wall, from the day that Andre Reed was inducted.

Over the past few months, I have identified the members of many of the NFL teams’ halls of fame in the Gallery. To see if I have gotten to your favorite team, go to the Advanced Search page and look for it in one of the Honor menus.

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Wayne Patrick, Bills Fullback

March 26th, 2010  |  Published in Player Deaths

Wayne Patrick, who played fullback for the Buffalo Bills from 1968 to 1972, passed away on March 23. For most of his career, Patrick was the lead blocker for O.J. Simpson. He gained over 1000 yards rushing, as well.

The sharp 1972 Topps card shown here was Patrick’s only appearance on a mainstream football card. He also appeared on a 1972 Sunoco stamp.

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Al Dorow, NFL, CFL, and AFL Quarterback

December 8th, 2009  |  Published in Player Deaths

Al Dorow, who played quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Titans, Buffalo Bills, and three CFL teams, died on December 7. Dorow was the New York Titans’ starting quarterback when the AFL started play in 1960. (The Titans became the Jets in 1963.) There is a detailed article about Dorow’s career on the web site.

Pictured here is Dorow’s rookie card, a 1955 Bowman. Over his career, he appeared on five NFL and AFL cards. He also appeared on one CFL card, in 1959. I don’t have Dorow’s CFL card, but there are a lot of them on eBay.

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