Name: Bronko Nagurski
Pro Career: 1930 – 1937, 1943
Team Affiliation(s): Chicago Bears
Induction Class: 1963 – Charter Member
Brief Bio: In an era before technical aerial passing and fancy fleet-footed running, Bronko Nagurski was the epitome of smash-mouth football. Never one for jukes or shifty moves, Nagurski dominated defenses by running straight at, through, and over the best efforts they could throw at him. To this day, many people still claim that no one hit the line as hard as he did. The consummate complete player, Nagurski was just as dominant on defense as a take-no-prisoners linebacker. He would also show his versatility by perfecting a devastating jump pass, in which he would fake plunge, step back, jump and lob the pigskin into the arms of an awaiting receiver. His two touchdown passes helped to clinch the 1933 title game. When Nagurski could not receive a raise to $6,500 in 1938, he retired to pursue a wrestling career. When WWII thinned the NFL ranks, Nagurski rejoined the Bears for the 1943 season, once again leading them to a championship before retiring for good.
Career Stats: 97 games played; 2,778 rushing yards; 25 rushing TDs; 7 passing TDs; 4 XPs
Featured Card: 1935 National Chicle #34. After a string of several HOF members without true rookie cards, we have one of the most iconic and valuable rookies cards in all of football. In 1935, National Chicle became the first nationally-distributed bubble gum card set to exclusively feature football players, and the Bronko Nagurski rookie card from that set is considered one of the “holy grails” amongst football collectors. Trivial Beckett value is $5,000, but for once, this price may not be too far off. An eBay search shows several PSA 1s with an asking price range of $3,888.88 – $4,444.44 (gotta love those cents!). A PSA 2 is listed for a shade under $5,000. Please use extreme caution when purchasing such a highly sought-after vintage card like this one. Forgeries are bound to be plentiful and there are many reprints of this iconic card. Many reprints will state it is a reprint on the front or back, but some may not. Be sure to do plenty of research and trust your “gut test” before pulling the buy trigger. For something this valuable, you definitely want to look for a respectable third-party authentication. Also, it may not be a bad idea to only purchase cards like this at sports cards and memorabilia auctions where you can see the card first hand prior to bidding. Plus, any respectable auction service should check into its items before the sale. Use your head out there; you can never be too cautious!
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