Name: Leo Nomellini
Position: Defensive Tackle
Pro Career: 1950 – 1963
Team Affiliation(s): San Francisco 49ers
Induction Class: 1969
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Brief Bio: If you look up “longevity” in the dictionary, you should see a picture of Leo Nomellini. With humble origins from Italy in 1924, Nomellini knew what it meant to work hard, and did he ever once he hit the gridiron. A four-year starter and two-time All-American at Minnesota, Nomellini was the very first draft choice in San Francisco 49er history. Not only did he play in the franchise’s first game in 1950, he played in every single franchise game for 14 years, often being on the field for the entire game. Nomellini was a two-time All-NFL selection for his brilliant work on the offensive line. He then became one of a very few players in history to be named All-NFL on offense and defense when he received defensive All-NFL honors in 1953…an honor he would win three more times. Nomellini played in 10 Pro Bowls which brought his career game total to a staggering 266. There is little wonder that Nomellini was named the NFL’s all-time defensive tackle.
Career Stats: 174 games played; 2 safeties; 1 punt return TD
Featured Card: 1948 Leaf #52. How good was Nomellini in his college days at Minnesota? His rookie card from the 1948 Leaf set was released two years before he was drafted into the NFL. Oddly enough, there was only one copy of this card listed on eBay at the time of my research (mid-April) with a BIN price of $199.99. As one of the greats of all time, let alone his own generation, Nomellini does have several other vintage cards that cover a fairly large price range. The most expensive example I found was a 1952 Bowman Small #125 graded SGC 96 asking $5,000. The cheapest was a $1.75 1962 Topps #159 listed in “poor” condition.
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