Name: William Roy (Link) Lyman
Pro Career: 1922 – 1934
Team Affiliation(s): Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellowjackets, Chicago Bears
Induction Class: 1964
Brief Bio: In a modern era when defensive line shifts and shuffles are commonplace, it is easy for fans to take such a strategic maneuver for granted. However, this key move had to start somewhere. That start, was Link Lyman. Recruited to Canton in the early days of professional football, Lyman is believed to be the first defensive lineman to shift positions just before the snap in order to confuse blockers. It worked. Lyman was a big contributor for four championship teams: 1922 Canton, 1923 Canton, 1924 Cleveland, and 1933 Chicago. After the 1925 season, Lyman joined the Bears to participate in the legendary barnstorming tour the team embarked on across the nation. As skill or luck would have it, Lyman only played for one losing team in his 16 years of high school, college, and professional football. A contributor right until the end, HOF coach George Halas said that Lyman was stronger and tougher at the end of his career than when he joined the team eight years earlier.
Career Stats: 133 games played; 2 receiving TDs; 3 Fumble Recovery TDs (Key Defensive statistics were not kept in early NFL history)
Featured Card: 2002 SP Legendary Cuts #LCLL. Similar to today’s market where defensive players are rarely featured on cards, coupled with the fact that he ended his career just before football cards were ever distributed nationally, Lyman does not have a true rookie card. For that reason, we look to this more modern cut signature card, a concept that has really become popular in the last few years. This card has no trivial Beckett value due to scarcity. There are a variety of items available on eBay right now. A few HOF specific cards can be your for about $1-5 each while an autographed index card certified by PSA will run you into the $250-300 ballpark. Lyman isn’t a huge star in the spotlight of other HOF members, but I’m sure there are still people out there willing to forge his autograph to earn an easy dollar. Buying an autograph that has been certified isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s never a bad idea. These grading and authentication services are never fool-proof, but they can add a level of assurance to your autograph purchase.
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