HOF Spotlight: Hugh McElhenny

Tom Fears
Name: Hugh McElhenny
Position: Halfback
Pro Career: 1952 – 1964
Team Affiliation(s): San Francisco 49ers; Minnesota Vikings; New York Giants; Detroit Lions
College: Washington; Compton Junior College
Induction Class: 1970
HOF Profile: Click Here
 

Brief Bio: If ever there was a professional football player who “hit the ground running,” that player would be Hugh McElhenny. After rewriting the Pacific Coast Conference’s record book while at Washington, McElhenny was the first round draft choice of the 49ers. In his very first play from scrimmage, “The King” bounded down the field for a 40-yard touchdown. By the end of his rookie season, he had accrued the season’s longest run from scrimmage (89 yards), the longest punt return (94 yards), the top rushing average (7.0 yards per carry), an All-NFL recognition, and a unanimous Rookie of the Year honor. McElhenny continued his electrifying combination of speed and elusive moves in San Francisco for nine seasons and still had plenty in the tank for the expansion Minnesota Vikings in 1961. Two years later, McElhenny realized a life-long dream, playing for a championship team, when he joined the New York Giants. McElhenny retired after the 1964 season as one of only three players to amass 11,000+ all-purpose yards – well over six miles.

Career Stats: 143 games played; 5,281 rushing yards; 38 rushing TDs; 3,247 receiving yards; 20 receiving TDs; 920 punt return yards; 2 punt return TDs; 1,921 kickoff return yards; 1 passing TD; 1 INT; 11,375 all-purpose yards

1952 Bowman #29

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #29. As an All-American and record setting college player, Bowman opted to include McElhenny right away in its 1952 set. The card comes in both a large and small variant, with the small being more scarce but seemingly less popular amongst collectors. Prices on the secondary market are a bit scattered with a fairly evenly distribution from $85 up to $425 with a pretty clear graded preference There are, of course, the absurdly expensive listings: a $2,750 SGC 96 (+$13 shipping!) and a $2,000 PSA 8. If you aren’t focused on rookie cards, McElhenny is also featured in numerous other vintage card sets as well as a smattering of junk wax era and very recent high-end sets, so there is something for anyone looking to build a football HOF collection.

NOTE: You can find all of my Hall Of Fame Spotlight Features by clicking the HOF Spotlight banner above.

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