HOF Spotlight: Ollie Matson

08.06.2012

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

02.06.2012

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

01.30.2012

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

01.23.2012

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

01.09.2012

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

10.31.2011

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.


HOF Spotlight: Pete Pihos

08.15.2011

Tom Fears
Name: Pete Pihos
Position: End
Pro Career: 1947 – 1955
Team Affiliation(s): Philadelphia Eagles
College: Indiana
Induction Class: 1970
HOF Profile: Click Here
 
 

Brief Bio: Pete Pihos may have been the very definition of versatility. Drafted in 1945 but unable to play until 1947 due to military service, Pihos made an immediate impact on both sides of the ball once he hit the field. A second-minute man, Pihos was an excellent receiver and defensive end. As football become a platoon-style game, Pihos was positioned as a receiving specialist and thrived. The Eagles won three straight divisional championships and back-to-back NFL championships with Pihos catching the ball. In 1952, the Eagles were in desperate need for a defensive end and Pihos aptly filled the roll, winning All-NFL honors. Pihos then switched back to receiver and was the league leader for the final three seasons of his career. He was never a blazing speedster, but what he lacked there he more than made up for in moves, brains, and toughness. Pihos missed just 1 game his entire NFL career.

Career Stats: 107 games played; 373 receptions; 5,619 receiving yards; 61 receiving touchdowns; 1 punt return TD; 1 fumble recovery for TD; 2 INTs.

1948 Leaf #16

Featured Card: 1948 Leaf #16. Making an immediate impact on the field, there is little wonder why Leaf picked up Pete Pihos in its 1948 set. Despite not being one of the all-time “big names,” Pihos obviously still catches collectors’ attention. There are quite a few copies of his Leaf rookie card available on eBay, ranging in price from $15 to $225. Interestingly enough, there are currently no graded copies of the card listed, which seems a bit odd for a vintage rookie card, especially of a hall of famer. Pihos does have another official rookie card, 1948 Bowman #63, and several other vintage cards available.

 

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