HOF Spotlight: Charley Trippi

Name: Charley Trippi
Position: Halfback, Quarterback
Pro Career: 1947 – 1955
Team Affiliation(s): Chicago Cardinals
College: Georgia
Induction Class: 1968

Brief Bio: In what may have been one of the first contract battles in professional football history, Georgia All-American Charley Trippi eventually signed a $100,000 contract with the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals. HOF owner Charles W. Bidwill, Sr. essentially stole Trippi away from the AAFC’s New York Yankees just as they were getting ready to announce his signing. In 1946, $100,000 was an absurd amount of money, especially for a football player. Trippi, as it turned out, was well worth the coin. The final piece to Bidwill’s “Dream Backfield,” Trippi was an exceptional rusher and dominated the 1947 championship game over the Philadelphia Eagles (in which he wore basketball shoes for better traction in the icy field conditions). A multi-faceted athlete, Trippi was a star halfback for four season, switched to quarterback for two, back to halfback for one, and ended his career almost exclusively on defense for two seasons. During that span, he was also the team’s main punter and was a star on the kickoff and punt return units.

Career Stats: 99 games played; 2,547 passing yards; 16 passing TDs; 3,506 rushing yards; 23 rushing TDs; 1,321 receiving yards; 11 receiving TDs; 40.3 yards-per-punt average; 2 punt return TDs; 4 INTs; 1 INT TD

1948 Leaf #29

Featured Card: 1948 Leaf #29. It is no wonder that Charley Trippi was featured in both national football sets in 1948 after dominating the 1947 championship game. This 1948 Leaf card carries a trivial Beckett value of $110 while current eBay prices range from $22 to $2,250, with an obvious grading premium. Trippi also has a 1948 Bowman rookie card, although it appears to be less popular than the colorful Leaf card. Current eBay listings for the ’48 Bowman range from $19 to just $59.50 and there are significantly fewer listings than for the ’48 Leaf.

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