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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2013 College Football Hall of Fame Candidates, Bowl Subdivision

March 8th, 2013  |  Published in Halls of Fame

Earlier this week, the National Football Foundation announced the names of the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame. Eleven of the 82 players and coaches on the ballot appear on cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. (One of them appears on someone else’s card, however.) Here are the eleven in the Gallery:

Bob Berry, Quarterback, Oregon. Berry had a long NFL career with the Vikings and Falcons. He is shown here on his 1972 Topps card.
Bob Berry 1972 Topps football card
John Didion, center, Oregon State. Didion played six seasons for the New Orleans Saints. This is his 1974 Topps card.
John Didion 1974 Topps football card
Charlie Gogolak, kicker, Princeton. Gogolak played six seasons for the Washington Redskins and Boston/New England Patriots. In 1966, he set a record for most extra points attempted in a game, with 10. (He made 9 of them.) He is shown here on his rookie card, a 1967 Philadelphia. Gogolak’s brother, Pete, also played in the NFL.
Charlie Gogolak 1967 Philadelphia rookie football card
Rob Lytle, running back, Michigan. Lytle played seven seasons for the Denver Broncos. This is his rookie card, a 1978 Topps. Lytle finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1976, so he also appears on my page of cards of Heisman Trophy candidates.
Rob Lytle 1978 Topps rookie football card
Paul Naumoff, linebacker, Tennessee. Naumoff had a 12-year NFL career with the Detroit Lions. He is pictured here on his 1973 Topps card.
Paul Naumoff 1973 Topps football card
Tom Nowatzke, linebacker, Indiana. Nowatzke played eight seasons for the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Colts. This is his 1969 Topps football card.
Tom Nowatze 1969 Topps football card
Phil Olsen, defensive end, Utah State. Olsen played six seasons for the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos. One of his teammates with the Rams was his brother, Merlin. (See my Teammate Brothers article.) Olsen is shown here on his 1973 Topps football card.
Phil Olsen 1973 Topps football card
Jim Otis, fullback, Ohio State. Otis played nine seasons for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, and St. Louis Cardinals. His 1976 Buckmans Disc is pictured here. Otis also appears on my page of cards of Heisman Trophy candidates.
Jim Otis 1976 Buckmans football disc
Don Trull, quarterback, Baylor. Trull played six seasons for the AFL’s Houston Oilers and Boston Patriots, and two seasons for the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. He is shown here on his 1971 O-Pee-Chee CFL card. Trull also appears on my page of cards of Heisman Trophy candidates.
Don Trull 1971 O-Pee-Chee CFL football card
Clancy Williams, running back, Washington State. Though Williams was a running back in college, as a pro he played defensive back. He played his whole eight-year NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams. Williams’s son, Clarence, also played a season in the NFL. The elder Williams is shown here on his only card, a 1967 Philadelphia.
Clancy Williams 1967 Philadelphia football card
Darryl Rogers, coach, several schools. Rogers never played in a regular season game as a pro, but he did coach the Detroit Lions from 1985 to 1988. Apparently, he also tried out with the Denver Broncos in the early 1960s, because his picture ended up on Goose Gonsoulin’s 1961 Fleer card. For more cards that picture the wrong player, see the Mistaken Identities page of the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Goose Gonsoulin 1961 Fleer rookie football card
You can see all 82 of the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision candidates on the National Football Foundation web site.

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Happy Birthday, Craig Morton!

February 5th, 2013  |  Published in Milestone Birthdays

Craig Morton 1968 Topps rookie football cardCraig Morton, who played from 1965 to 1982 for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos, is 70 today. Morton was the starting quarterback for two Super Bowl teams, the 1970 Cowboys and 1977 Broncos, and he played on the 1971 Cowboys team that won Super Bowl VI. He was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1988.

Prior to his pro career, Morton starred at the University of California. In 1964, though Cal had just a 3-7 record, he finished seventh in voting for the Heisman Trophy. (See my Football Cards of Heisman Trophy Candidates page.) Morton was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

The card pictured here is Morton’s rookie card, a 1968 Topps. The back of the card is a piece of a puzzle picturing Bart Starr. Morton also appeared on many other cards and stamps during his long career. You can see all of his cards up to 1978 in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. (It’s odd to see someone other than John Elway wearing #7 for the Broncos, isn’t it?)

Happy birthday, Mr. Morton!

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Jim Whalen, Patriots, Broncos, and Eagles Tight End

December 20th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Jim Whalen, a tight end from 1965 to 1971 for the Boston Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Philadelphia Eagles, passed away on December 18. There is an article about Whalen on the Patriots web site. According to the article, Whalen led the Patriots in receptions and receiving yards during his five seasons with the team.

Whalen is shown here on his 1968 Topps and 1969 Topps football cards. His first three cards, from 1965 to 1967, picture him in his Boston College uniform, with his face obscured. You can see all of Whalen’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Jim Whalen 1968 Topps football cardJim Whalen 1969 Topps football card

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Chuck Gavin, BC Lions and Denver Broncos Defensive End

December 16th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Chuck Gavin passed away on December 1; he played defensive end for the British Columbia Lions in 1959, and for the Denver Broncos from 1960 to 1963. Gavin attended Tennessee State University, where he was a two-time All-American. There is a story about him on the school’s web site.

Gavin appeared on two football cards with the Broncos: the 1963 Fleer and 1964 Topps cards shown here. The 1964 Topps card is one of the short prints in the set. Though he appeared on a 1964 card, Gavin did not play in 1964. According to his obituary at tributes.com, a knee injury ended his football career.
Chuck Gavin 1963 Fleer rookie football cardChuck Gavin 1964 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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Finally Finished: 1972 Sunoco Stamps

May 12th, 2012  |  Published in New in the Gallery, Oddball, Uniforms

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I bought a set of 1972 Sunoco Stamps, and I started adding them to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. I said at the time that it would take me months to take pictures of all the stamps, and it did: 30 months, to be precise. I finally scanned and uploaded the last of them yesterday–all but one, that is. I discovered yesterday that I have two Verlon Biggs stamps, but no Ron McDole stamp. Anyone have a picture of a McDole they can send me?

As I was scanning the stamps yesterday, I noted one thing I like about them: the images on them aren’t airbrushed. In 1972, Topps was still airbrushing logos off helmets and airbrushing new uniforms onto players–badly–but the Sunoco stamps show the players in the uniforms of their current teams, logos intact. I especially like seeing old helmets, and for most teams there’s at least one stamp with a good picture of the team’s helmet. Below are a few examples.
Roger Shoals 1972 Sunoco Football StampJim Yarbrough 1972 Sunoco football stampCharley Taylor 1972 Sunoco football stampSteve Zabel 1972 Sunoco football stampRon East 1972 Sunoco football stampJoe Scibelli 1972 Sunoco football stamps

Now, on to the 82-stamp update set!

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Lonnie Wright, Broncos Defensive Back

March 24th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Lonnie Wright, who played defensive back for the Denver Broncos in 1966 and 1967, passed away yesterday. Wright also played four seasons for the Denver Rockets and one for the Floridians of the American Basketball Association. The Denver Post web site has a summary of his athletic career.

Wright appeared on one football card, a 1968 Topps card that shows him with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals acquired him from Denver in the 1968 AFL Expansion Draft, but he retired from football before playing for the team. He also appeared on one basketball card, the 1971 Topps card pictured here. Like his football card, Wright’s basketball card pictures him in a Denver uniform, but with a different team.
Lonnie Wright 1968 Topps football cardLonnie Wright 1971 Topps basketball card

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Frank Tripucka’s Many Numbers

March 20th, 2012  |  Published in Football Card Trivia

Frank Tripucka 1962 Fleer football cardWith Peyton Manning going to Denver, Frank Tripucka has been in the news this week. Tripucka’s number, 18, is one of three numbers the Broncos have retired (the others are John Elway’s #7 and Floyd Little’s #44), and there is discussion about whether the team should un-retire #18 so Manning can have it. Tripucka, for one, is okay with reissuing the number.

Perhaps Tripucka isn’t too attached to #18 because it’s just one of several numbers he wore in his career. His page at pro-football-reference.com shows that he wore #8 with the Chicago Cardinals, #11 with the Dallas Texans, and #18 with the Broncos. His 1960 Fleer football card shows him in #36, which I’m guessing was his number with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Saskatchewan’s colors are green and white, and Tripucka played there from 1953 to 1959.

Frank Tripucka 1963 Fleer football cardOther cards of Tripucka show him in numbers that I don’t believe he wore in games. His 1950 Bowman card shows him in #28, but I suspect that whoever colored the original black-and-white image either added or changed the jersey number. Also, Tripucka’s 1961 Topps, 1961 Fleer, and 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture cards all show him wearing #10. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the pictures on those cards were taken in 1960 training camp, before the players’ official numbers were issued. My reasoning behind the guess? Well, the background on Tripucka’s 1961 Fleer Wallet Picture is the same as the one on Goose Gonsoulin’s. But the player shown on Gonsoulin’s Wallet Picture is actually Darryl Rogers, who was only with the Broncos before the 1960 season. See my Mistaken Identities page for details.

The cards pictured here are the only cards on which Tripucka is wearing #18: his 1962 Fleer card, and his 1963 Fleer card. You can see all of Frank Tripucka’s cards in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.

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Don Joyce, Cardinals, Colts, Vikings, and Broncos Defensive Lineman

February 27th, 2012  |  Published in Player Deaths

Don Joyce, a defensive lineman from 1951 to 1962 for the Chicago Cardinals, Baltimore Colts, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos, passed away on February 26, according to the twincities.com web site. Joyce made the Pro Bowl in 1958, and he was a member of the Colts’ NFL Championship teams of 1958 and 1959.

Joyce finally appeared on football cards in his 11th NFL season, after the Vikings acquired him in the 1961 NFL Expansion Draft. The cards shown here are his 1961 Fleer and 1961 Topps cards. He also appeared with the Vikings on a 1962 Post Cereal football card, but he played for the AFL’s Denver Broncos in 1962.
Don Joyce 1961 Fleer rookie football cardDon Joyce 1961 Topps rookie football card

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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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Recycled Images on 1969 Topps Mini-Card Albums

December 1st, 2011  |  Published in error cards, Football Card Trivia

As I wrote last week, one of my readers pointed out that the player on the cover of the San Francisco 49ers 1969 Topps Mini-Card Album is Joe Walton, and that the same image appeared in the inset photo of Walton’s 1962 Topps football card. This made me curious, so I checked to see if other inset photos from 1962 Topps cards had been reused on 1969 Mini-Card Albums. Sure enough, I found a few:

First, the image of Bart Starr on the Green Bay Packers Mini-Card Album appeared in the inset of Starr’s 1962 Topps card.
Green Bay Packers 1969 Topps Mini-Card AlbumBart Starr 1962 Topps football card
Next, the image of John Unitas on the Baltimore Colts Mini-Card Album was also used in the inset photo of Zeke Bratkowski’s 1962 Topps card. Topps changed Unitas’s number 19 to Bratkowski’s number 12 on the 1962 Topps card, as I noted in an earlier article.
Baltimore Colts 1969 Topps Mini-Card AlbumZeke Bratkowski 1962 Topps football card
The image on the Minnesota Vikings Mini-Card Album also appeared in the inset photo of Don Perkins’s 1962 Topps card, but the player’s number is different. I’m guessing that the image was altered for the 1962 card, so the player probably isn’t Perkins.
Minnesota Vikings 1969 Topps Mini-Card AlbumDon Perkins 1962 Topps rookie football card
The image on the Denver Broncos Mini-Card Album is the same one used in the inset photo on Ollie Matson’s 1962 Topps card, but again, the player’s number is different. Matson was number 33 with the Rams, so it appears that the image on his 1962 card was altered. Does anyone recognize the player?
Denver Broncos 1969 Topps Mini-Card AlbumOllie Matson 1962 Topps football card
Finally, the image on the Washington Redskins Mini-Card Album is the same as the inset on John Aveni’s 1962 Topps card. Again, the player’s number appears to have been changed on the 1962 Topps card. I believe that the player is Dick James, who wore number 47 for the Redskins in 1961.
Washington Redskins 1969 Topps Mini-Card AlbumJohn Aveni 1962 Topps football card
Given that there are so many altered jersey numbers on the 1962 Topps cards, I wonder how many of the inset photos actually picture the right player. Not many, I’ll bet.

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New in the Gallery: Partial Virtual Uncut Sheets

July 24th, 2011  |  Published in New in the Gallery

Miscut 1967 Steve Tensi football cardA few weeks ago, in a previous blog article, I asked readers to send me any images they had of miscut vintage football cards. In response, Steve Liskey of TheCowboysGuide.com sent me this image of a 1967 Topps Steve Tensi card. You can see that it has a sliver of a Buffalo Bills card showing; the card happens to be Jack Kemp. Steve’s contribution prompted me to create a page of virtual sheets in progress. It’s short for now, but hopefully you can help me make it grow.

Thanks, Steve!

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Pete Duranko, Denver Broncos Defensive Lineman

July 9th, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Pete Duranko, a defensive lineman for the Denver Broncos from 1967 to 1974, passed away on July 8. Today’s Denver Post has a report. Duranko played college football at Notre Dame, and he was a member of the Irish’s 1966 National Championship team.

The cards pictured here are Duranko’s rookie card, a 1969 Topps, and his last card, a 1975 Topps. His last card was issued the year after his last season–a common occurrence in the 1970s.

You can see all of Pete Duranko’s football cards and stamps in the Vintage Football Card Gallery.
Pete Duranko 1969 Topps rookie football cardPete Duranko 1975 Topps football card

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Ken Carpenter, Browns, Roughriders, and Broncos Halfback

February 3rd, 2011  |  Published in Player Deaths

Ken Carpenter 1950 Bowman rookie football cardKen Carpenter, who played halfback from 1950 to 1960 for the Cleveland Browns, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Denver Broncos, passed away on January 28. Carpenter was with the Browns for four seasons, from 1950 through 1953, and the Browns played in the NFL championship game in each of those four seasons. They won one of those championship games, in 1950, against the Los Angeles Rams.

According to his obituary at oregonlive.com, Carpenter was a player-coach while he was with Saskatchewan and Denver, and he continued coaching after his playing days.

The card pictured here is Carpenter’s rookie card, a 1950 Bowman. He also appeared on a 1951 Bowman card and a 1953 Bowman card while with the Browns. He appeared on a few CFL football cards while at Saskatchewan, but I don’t have those yet in the Vintage Football Card Gallery. You can usually find a few on eBay.

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