Name: Jim Thorpe
Pro Career: 1915 – 1928
Team Affiliation(s): Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Oorang Indians, Rock Island Independents, New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals
Induction Class: 1963 – Charter Member, posthumously
Brief Bio: One of the absolute greatest athletes of all-time, Jim Thorpe is an essential member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In an era when football was dominantly a college sport, Thorpe became the first big name to play professional pigskin, signing a contract with the Canton Bulldogs for a measly $250 per game. With Thorpe on board, the Bulldogs won unofficial world titles in 1916, 1917, and 1919, but more important than that, he advanced professional football in a giant way in the public’s eye. When the NFL was organized as the American Professional Football Association in 1920, fellow league founders named Thorpe the league’s inaugural president. An exceptionally gifted athlete, Thorpe was one of the greatest speed rushers, power rushers, receivers, passers, punters, placekickers, drop kickers, blockers, and tacklers in his day, if not in all of the NFL’s history. Thorpe also had a knack for success in other sports, excelling in everything he tried. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment in his career came in 1912 when he won Olympic Gold in the decathlon and pentathlon events.
Career Stats: 52 games played; 4 passing TDs; 6 rushing TDs (formal statistics are incomplete prior to 1932)
Featured Card: 1933 Sport Kings #6. One of the greatest athletes of all-time in any sport, it is no wonder Jim Thorpe was included in the legendary Sport Kings set, which was released just five years after his retirement. Trivial Beckett value of this card is $1,000. Prices on eBay vary greatly with a good number falling in the $200-$450 range. The most expensive copy listed at the time of my research was a PSA 4 with a Buy It Now price of $950. As with any vintage card of a high profile athlete, please be aware of counterfeits and phony Internet auctions. Also, there are reprints of this card out there, so make sure you know exactly what you are bidding on. If you see a 1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe listed at $10, it’s pretty obvious that it is not an actual 1933 Sport Kings card. Use your head out there.
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