He Ain’t Whitey, He’s His Brother

November 13th, 2010  |  Published in Brothers, Football Card Trivia

1951 Bowman Al Wistert football cardYesterday, while I was adding the Eagles Honor Roll to the Vintage Football Card Gallery, I did a web search for “Whitey Wistert.” Al Wistert is a member of the Eagles Honor Roll, and some of his cards say “Al ‘Whitey’ Wistert.”

My search results were interesting: they included a lot of references to Al’s football cards and a lot of references to Al’s older brother, Francis “Whitey” Wistert. Only a couple of non-football-card references, which appeared way down in my search results, referred to Al as “Whitey.” Most references to Al said his nickname was “Ox.”

According to an article on profootballresearchers.org, both Francis and Al were called “Whitey.” I’m guessing, though, that if people called Al “Whitey,” they did so out either out of confusion or as a tribute to Francis. Francis was a football and baseball star at Michigan, and he played major league baseball for Cincinnati.

Anyway, since Al’s brother Francis was well-known as “Whitey,” since Al was more often called “Ox,” and since mistakes are far from unusual on old football cards, I would say that calling Al “Whitey” was just another card company mistake. I suspect that some writers referred to Al as “Whitey” because that’s what it said on his cards.

Pictured here is one of Al’s error cards, a 1951 Bowman. His 1948 Leaf and 1949 Leaf cards also say “Whitey.”

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Mistaken Identities in 1962 Topps Inset Photos

August 17th, 2009  |  Published in error cards

A few months ago I created a page called Mistaken Identities: Vintage Football Cards Picturing the Wrong Player. The page shows numerous cards that show the wrong player in the main photo. I learned from my Beckett catalog, though, that there are also a bunch of 1962 Topps cards that picture the wrong player in the black-and-white inset photo. What’s more, it appears that Topps faked a couple of these photos intentionally, altering the impostor’s jersey number to match the player on the card.

Here is one of the altered jersey numbers: the inset photo on Zeke Bratkowski’s 1962 Topps card actually shows John Unitas, with his number changed from 19 to 12. Topps apparently couldn’t find a good game photo of Bratkowski, though he had been in the league for eight years. It’s too bad, because Bratkowski took great action shots. On his his 1962 Post Cereal card, he’s throwing while going down, and on his 1958 Topps card, he’s leaping over palm trees!
1962 Topps Zeke Bratkowski football card
The second altered jersey is on Fran Tarkenton’s rookie card. Beckett says that it’s Sonny Jurgensen in the inset photo, with his number changed from 9 to 10. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but did Topps leave the Eagle wings on Jurgensen’s helmet?
1962 Topps Fran Tarkenton rookie football card
The third impostor is on Roman Gabriel’s rookie card. On this card, the player in the inset photo is clearly Y.A. Tittle. It is understandable that Topps didn’t have an NFL game shot of Gabriel, since 1962 was his first year in the league. This time they didn’t try to fool us: they just picked out a nice quarterback photo and called it good.
1962 Topps Roman Gabriel rookie football card
Last, we have a couple of Redskins. That’s Don Bosseler pictured in the inset photo of Dick James’s card. Bosseler didn’t appear in the 1962 Topps set on a card of his own, so it’s nice that they gave him a cameo. (He did, however, appear on a 1962 Post Cereal card.)
1962 Topps Dick James football card

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Sites I Like: Bob Lemke’s Custom Cards

June 25th, 2009  |  Published in Football Card Trivia, Sites I Like

Bob Lemke, editor of the vintage card sections of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, makes a hobby of creating custom vintage sports cards. Pictured is one of his latest creations, a 1968 Topps Brian Piccolo card. Though Piccolo started with the Bears in 1965, the card companies did not print a card of him until 1969, when Topps issued his rookie card and included him on a 4-in-1 stamp card. (Unfortunately, on both cards Topps misspelled Piccolo’s name “Bryon.”)

I like the image Bob chose for this card; it’s the helmet-in-hands pose I described earlier this week. Bob has also created a 1966 Philadelphia Piccolo card using a different image.

For more of Bob’s creations, all in the style of 1955 Topps All-Americans, check out his PhotoBucket gallery. There’s even one of Bluto Blutarsky!

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