HOF Spotlight: Ollie Matson


Ollie Matson
Name: Ollie Matson
Position: Halfback
Pro Career: 1952, 1954 – 1966
Team Affiliation(s): Chicago Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles
College: San Francisco
Induction Class: 1972
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: A lone shining star in an otherwise dark abyss, Ollie Matson was often the sole bright spot for awful teams. Yet despite playing for just two teams with winning records during his brilliant 14-year career, and often being the opposing defense’s only target, Matson built an exceptional résumé. A quick-footed All-American who represented the United States in the 1952 Olympics, Matson was the number 1 draft choice of the basement dwelling Chicago Cardinals and was their supposed savior. When he was traded to Los Angeles for an unheard-of 9 players in 1959, he was once again labeled the potential deliverer for a fledging franchise. While Lady Luck was never Matson’s teammate, he competed to his fullest year in and year out and was a six-time Pro Bowl and All-NFL honoree.

Career Stats: 171 games played; 5,173 rushing yards; 40 rushing TDs; 3,285 receiving yards; 23 receiving TDs; 3,746 kickoff return yards; 6 kickoff return TDs; 119 passing yards; 595 punt return yards; 3 punt return TDs; 1 fumble recovery TD, 3 INTs

1952 Bowman #127

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #127. Along with fellow University of San Francisco alumnus and 1972 Hall of Inductee Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson was featured on his rookie card before ever playing a down of professional football, something not nearly as common as today. There are not a lot of copies of this card listed on eBay, but prices range from about $50 to $499. Buying vintage can certainly be a lot of fun, especially for older collectors or football history buffs. Just always be aware of what you’re buying as lots of counterfeits and reprints do exist, especially for a legendary set like the 1952 Bowmans.

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


HOF Spotlight: Norm Van Brocklin


Norm Van Brocklin
Name: Norm Van Brocklin
Position: Quarterback
Pro Career: 1949 – 1960
Team Affiliation(s): Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles
College: Oregon
Induction Class: 1971
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: Quarterbacks do not like to share the spotlight, especially amongst their own teammates. But that is just what Norm Van Brocklin had to do when he joined the Rams in 1949 as they already had future fellow HOFer Bob Waterfield. Despite splitting time with another great tosser, Van Brocklin won the NFL’s passing crown in 1950 and 1952 (he won a third in 1954 after he was given full time QB status). In 1951, Van Brocklin once threw 554 yards in a single game and later connected with another fellow HOFer Tom Fears for a 73-yard touchdown to give the Rams their only title since the their move to L.A. When “the Dutchman” was traded to Philadelphia in 1958, he again built a winning tradition and won the NFL championship in 1960, becoming the only man to defeat a Vince Lombardi-led team in a championship game.

Career Stats: 140 games played; 1,553 for 2,895 passing (53.6%); 23,611 passing yards; 173 passing TDs; 178 INTs; 11 rushing TDs; 22,413 punting yards (42.9 avg).

1951 Bowman #4

Featured Card: 1951 Bowman #4. The Bowman Gum company picked just the right year to give Norm Van Brocklin his rookie card as the great passer dominated opponents and helped lead his Rams to the NFL championship. As with a lot of vintage rookie cards, there is a wide range of conditions, grades, and prices from which to choose if looking to add this card to your collection. Current market prices generally fall between $150 and $300. There is one listing for a PSA 9 with a heart-burn producing $55,000 price tag. You definitely want to decide what your focus will be before you get too deep into building a HOF collection. There are lots of other Van Brocklin cards available, many of which will not break the bank.

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

HOF Spotlight: Y.A. Tittle


Y.A. Tittle
Name: Y.A. Tittle
Position: Quarterback
Pro Career: 1948 – 1964
Team Affiliation(s): Baltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants
College: Louisiana State
Induction Class: 1971
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: A model of perseverance, Y.A. Tittle played 14 years of professional football before he finally tasted the sweetness of consistent victory. Tittle compiled impressive personal statistics during his stints in Baltimore and San Francisco, yet championship caliber competition eluded him. When he was traded to the New York Giants in 1961, that all changed. Despite not winning the overall NFL championship, Tittle led the Giants to divisional titles in each of his first three seasons in New York. In all, Tittle was named the NFL’s MVP in 1961 and 1963, All-NFL in 1957, 1961, 1962, and 1963, and played in seven Pro Bowls.

Career Stats: 178 games played; 2,118 for 3,817 passing (55.5%); 28,339 passing yards; 212 passing TDs; 221 INTs; 999 rushing yards; 33 rushing TDs.

1950 Bowman #5

Featured Card: 1950 Bowman #5. Y.A. Tittle’s official rookie card coincides with his debut in the NFL as the Baltimore Colts were still in the AAFC for his first two professional seasons. This undersized (by today’s standard) set featured airbrushed colors on B&W photography. Current market prices are generally over $200 but only a few exceed $500. There is one PSA 9 listed for a staggering $40,000. One note of caution for this cards is that there have been reprints produced, so be sure you know exactly what you’re buying, especially if shopping online.

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

HOF Spotlight: Andy Robustelli


Andy Robustelli
Name: Andy Robustelli
Position: Defensive End
Pro Career: 1951 – 1964
Team Affiliation(s): Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants
College: Arnold College
Induction Class: 1971
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: Perhaps the epitome of draft sleepers, Andy Robustelli went from being a 19th-Round pick to a Hall of Famer. When the Rams didn’t have room for him as an offensive end, he went all out on the defensive side of the ball and became one of the greatest D-Ends to ever play the game. A superb pass rusher, Robustelli was named to seven Pro Bowls and seven All-NFL teams. In 1962 as a member of the Giants, he was awarded the NFL’s top player by the Maxwell Club, an honor typically bestowed upon offensive studs. Despite playing for the losing team in six championship games, Robustelli did taste success with his two league championship victories, including 1951 as a highly involved rookie. Robustelli recently passed away at the age of 85.

Career Stats: 175 games played; 22 fumble recoveries; 2 fumble recovery TDs; 1 receiving TD; 2 INTs; 2 INT TDs.

1952 Bowman #85

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #85. As a member of the 1951 Champion L.A. Rams, Andy Robustelli didn’t have to wait long to get his official rookie card. The 1952 Bowman set was released with two variations, a large and small set. Based on current market prices, the large set seems to be the more popular amongst collectors. The prices for this particular card tend to run in the $50 – 150 range. As always, there is a token much-higher-than-anything-else listing with a sticker price $1,750 for a PSA 8. This card comes from one of the more desirable and recognizable vintage football card sets and would be a great addition to a HOF focused collection.

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

HOF Spotlight: Bruiser Kinard


Frank Kinard
Name: Frank “Bruiser” Kinard
Position: Tackle
Pro Career: 1938 – 1944, 1946 – 1947
Team Affiliation(s): Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers, New York Yankees
College: Mississippi
Induction Class: 1971
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: If you were to look up “scrappy” in the dictionary, I have a feeling you’ll find a picture of Frank “Bruiser” Kinard. Undersized for a lineman, even in his pre-WWII era, Kinard played with an intensity and skill that far exceeded his slight frame. He was a 60-minute man from day one and only once took a day off due to injury, and that was only after doctor’s orders. Kinard built a solid reputation as a formidable blocker and a devastating tackler. His grit and will to win led him to All-NFL honors in 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1944. After a leave from professional football for military service, Kinard returned to the newly formed AAFC and was named all league again in 1946, becoming the first player to be such honored in both leagues.

Career Stats: 73 games played; 1 reception TD; 1/1 FG; 27/30 PATs; 1 fumble recovery TD; 1 INT

1955 Topps All-American #66

Featured Card: 1955 Topps All-American #66. While Frank “Bruiser” Kinard does not have an official rookie card featuring him in NFL garb, he was included in the 1955 Topps All-American set as a two-time All-American from Ole Miss. As part of a popular set, there are quite a few current listings on eBay for this card. Most seem to fall into a $25 – 100 range. There are two over-the-top asking prices that top $1,000 (including one that also socks you for $10 shipping), both of which are PSA 9s. If graded vintage is not your bag, there are also some junk wax era HOF-focused sets and modern cut signature sets from which to choose if you are building a HOF inductee collection.


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

HOF Spotlight: Jim Brown


Jim Brown
Name: Jim Brown
Position: Fullback
Pro Career: 1957 – 1965
Team Affiliation(s): Cleveland Browns
College: Syracuse
Induction Class: 1971
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: If ever there was a single man that defined the versatile back position, that man would be Jim Brown. Brown didn’t just rush, he caught, returned, and passed as well. He didn’t just break records, he destroyed them. Brown was the #1 draft choice for the Browns in 1957 and immediately became a star on his way to earning Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and All-NFL honors. In total, Brown was MVP four times, All-NFL eight times, league rushing leader eight time, and played in the Pro Bowl nine times…not bad for a guy that only played nine years. In 1966, Brown inexplicably retired at the peak of his career and 45 years later, fans still wonder just how much Brown could have achieved. There is a reason the greats like Payton, Sanders, and Smith are compared to Brown. He set the bar for rushing excellence.

Career Stats: 118 games played; 12,312 rushing yards; 5.2 career YPA; 106 rushing TDs; 2,499 receiving yards; 20 receiving TDs; 3 passing TDs; 648 kickoff return yards.

1958 Topps #62

Featured Card: 1958 Topps #62. As one of the greatest and most popular rushers of all time, there is little wonder Jim Brown’s 1958 Topps rookie card still demands collecting attention. There are a slew of copies available on eBay with an equal wide range of prices. There is obviously a grading preference as all of the top price tags are for graded copies. One point to watch with high profile rookie cards such as Jim Brown is reprints and forgeries. Most reprints will state “reprint” or will have a different card back, but some may just have a different copyright date, so be sure you know what you are buying. And always trust your gut. If something feels too good to be true, like a Jim Brown rookie for $25, it probably is.

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

Product Review: 2011 Topps Prime


Either sets are being released much sooner this year, or I’m doing a significantly better job of keeping up with things. Last year, I didn’t get a chance to review Topps Prime until February 18. I just can’t remember if it was released so much later or if I was WAY behind the ball in getting my review posted. In any case, here is the 1&G Review of 2011 Topps Prime…on October 22.

2011 Topps Prime box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 10 6-card packs for a total of 60 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $90, which translates into a moderate $1.50/card ratio. That definitely pushes the mid-shelf range, so I would expect design and value some where between Score and Topps Inception.

2011 Topps Prime packs
My scanner was pleased to find that the pillow box packs did not make a return in 2011

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 29 (0 duplicates)
   Rookies (#/930): 3
   Green (all Veterans): 7
   Gold Rookies (#/699): 2
   Blue Rookies (#/599): 2
   Red Rookies (#/499): 1
   Purple Rookies (#/399): 1
   Silver Rainbow Rookies (#/25): 1
   Prime Rookies: 3
   Prime Veterans: 2
   Double Combos: 2
   Triple Combos: 2
   Quad Combos: 1
   Triple Combo Relics (#/388): 1
   Auto Relic Level IV (#/199): 1
   Autographed Rookies Silver (#/50): 1
   Prime Rookie Jumbo Relic Silver (#/25): 1

2011 Topps Prime2011 Topps Prime
Click image for full-sized scan

1st Down, Design: In a word: stable. That’s because this base card design is nearly identical to last year’s design. But don’t read that as a complaint, because I love this base design. Like last year, the photography is generally crisp and vibrant (rookie cards notwithstanding) and there are almost no design elements clogging up the card. The rather smooth finish and thicker stock once again reminds me of the defunct but still awesome Stadium Club lines, which was one of Topps’ first attempts at higher end stuff (remember those simpler times?). The rework of the card back wasn’t a complete success in my opinion. It’s got a simplicity that I like, but 2010’s set had a more “simple elegant” feel. Either one is pretty solid, though.

2nd Down, Inserts: In a word: improved. This year’s set features a whole lot more parallels with various color foil stamping. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s not quite as awesome as the absurdly colorful 1999 Absolute SSD, but is still better than some of the parallel concepts I’ve seen in the past. The biggest improvement is with the Prime inserts. Topps still insisted on the Prime Combo, Triple Combo, and Quad Combo cards, but at least the design is better. There is still a pretty obvious backwards design problem to some of them, though. And I’ll never understand some of the player pairings. Ok, they’re all wide receivers from the ACC and SEC…why do they need to be together on a single card? I will say I liked this year’s single prime rookie and veteran cards much better with their much simpler design. The autograph card was also a big improvement from last year, although that sticker label diminishes what could have been an all-star auto design. So Topps is definitely moving the right direction here, but didn’t quite nail it just yet.

3rd Down, Collation: In a word: redundant. On my end, not Topps’. I’m just going to copy and past my response from last year: I feel like a broken record in this category. Once again, with only 60 cards, it’s awfully hard to accurately gauge the collation of the print run. I guess in reality, this 3rd down has become just a beacon of whether or not there is a glaring problem with the particular box I busted. In this one, I got was I was supposed to. I didn’t get what I wasn’t supposed to get (duplicates). So yay Topps Prime. You pass the test of blatant problems with collation.

4th Down, Overall Value: In a word: decent. The price for a box isn’t off the chart, although the somewhat low card count does hurt it a bit. The cards themselves are beautiful and would augment just about any collection, especially for a player or team collection. I say almost any because they don’t really have a place in a vintage collection. But you knew that. As is the case with most products, trying to flip a box for a profit is a complete gamble and not recommended. But if you want a solid product at a fairly reasonable price, this is a pretty good pickup.

RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL Overall I would say this product was better than last year. So why not give it a better red zone result? The improvement wasn’t out of this world. The base cards are still really nice and probably underrated. The inserts are better but could still use some work, especially those multi-player cards. Lastly, the addition of more parallels doesn’t really increase the appeal of a product to me. If anything, they can take away from a product. I wouldn’t say the various colored foil parallels in 2011 Topps Prime were a detriment to the entire product, but I also wouldn’t say they made it rainbow-licously better.

NEXT UP: 2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia