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: Gino Marchetti


Gino Marchetti
Name: Gino Marchetti
Position: Defensive End
Pro Career: 1952 – 1964, 1966
Team Affiliation(s): Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts
College: San Francisco
Induction Class: 1972
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: If one man struck fear into the hearts of professional quarterbacks during the 1950s and early 1960s, that man would have to be Gino Marchetti. Still considered one of the greatest defensive ends of all time, Marchetti was a fierce competitor with a knack for squelching rushing plays and even greater ability to disrupt an opponent’s passing attack. Marchetti was named to a then-record 11 straight Pro Bowls, although he was forced to miss one with a broken leg, and was named to nine straight All-NFL teams. After his career ended, he still collected accolades as he was named the top defensive end of the NFL’s initial 50 seasons.

Career Stats: 161 games played; 13 fumble recoveries; 2 fumble recovery TDs; 1 receiving TD (his only professional reception); 1 safety; 1 INT

1952 Bowman #23

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #23. Even as an unproven rookie, Gino Marchetti had the attention of the masses and was included in the now legendary 1952 Bowman set. There are surprisingly few copies listed on eBay and the average price seems to be just north of $100. For a rookie card of one of the greatest defensive ends of all time, that seems like a sweet deal to me. When looking to purchase a 1952 Bowman football card, keep in mind that there is a Large and a small set. Also, as with all vintage sets, there are lots of graded copies available along with the usually lower-priced raw cards. Decide what you like best before you start buying so you can have some focus and continuity in your collection.

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: 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.

HOF Spotlight: Jack Christiansen


Jack Christiansen
Name: Jack Christiansen
Position: Defensive Back
Pro Career: 1951 – 1958
Team Affiliation(s): Detroit Lions
College: Colorado State
Induction Class: 1970
HOF Profile: Click Here

Brief Bio: A small but crafty specialist, Jack Christiansen almost didn’t even play college football due to his size. Fortunately, he was coaxed onto the squad and was an instant star for Colorado State. His size also caused many NFL teams to doubt his value, but the Lions were quickly rewarded for drafting him. Twice in his rookie season, he returned two punts for touchdowns in the same game. Opposing teams quickly switched to the spread punt formation when facing the Lions and developed a don’t punt to Jack mantra. For as good of a returner as Christiansen was, his forte was as a defensive back where he wrecked havoc on passing schemes. Twice he led or co-led the league in interceptions and was name to six consecutive All-NFL teams and played in five consecutive Pro Bowls. With Christiansen in the defensive backfield, the Lions dominated the 1950s, winning four divisional and three world championships.

Career Stats: 89 games played; 1,084 punt return yards; 8 punt return TDs; 1,329 kickoff return yards; 46 INTs; 3 INT TDs; 7 fumble recoveries; 2 rushing TDs

1952 Bowman #129

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #129. With such a strong rookie campaign, there is little doubt why Bowman opted to include Jack Christiansen in their 1952 football set. Fans still love this legendary set, which came in large and small variations. Current eBay auctions are fairly evenly spread from a low of $125 to a second highest $579, with a slight grading preference. There is the token excessively priced $5,000 listing – a small PSA 8.5. Christiansen also has several other vintage football cards as the hobby was finally starting to catch on in the 1950s. He has also been featured in more modern HOF-focused sets.

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

HOF Spotlight: Wayne Millner


Name: Wayne Millner
Position: End
Pro Career: 1936 – 1941, 1945
Team Affiliation(s): Boston/Washington Redskins
College: Notre Dame
Induction Class: 1968

Brief Bio: The epitome of 1930s primetime players, Wayne Millner always showed up for the biggest games of the year. Millner was the favorite deep threat for fellow HOF member Sammy Baugh. The apex of this tandem may have come during the 1937 championship game against the intimidating Chicago Bears. Millner and Baugh connected for touchdown tosses of 55 and 78 yards and Millner was used as a decoy for the game winning touchdown pass to Ed Justice. Millner’s illustrious career was cut short when he enlisted with the US Navy after the 1941 season. Millner did return for the 1945 season as a player/coach and ended his career as the greatest receiver in Redskins history at that time.

Career Stats: 76 games played; 124 receptions, 1,578 receiving yards; 12 receiving TDs

1952 Bowman #57

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #57. Playing his entire career between nationally distributed football releases, Wayne Millner’s rookie card was actually released 7 years after his playing days (while a coach for the Eagles). Current eBay prices are roughly in the $50 ballpark while that token much-higher-than-anything-else-because-it’s-graded listing comes in at $1,200 – a long shot from the trivial $90 Beckett value.

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

HOF Spotlight: Art Donovan


Name: Art Donovan
Position: Defensive Tackle
Pro Career: 1950 – 1961
Team Affiliation(s): Baltimore Colts, New York Yanks, Dallas Texans
College: Boston College
Induction Class: 1968

Brief Bio: Vastly overlooked in his high school and college playing days, Art Donovan became one of the greatest professional defensive linemen in history. Even as a 26-year-old rookie, due to his military service during WWII, Donovan was a pass rushing and double-team-splitting force to be reckoned with. He used that dominant on-field play and his contagious off-field morale to help transform the young and fledging Colts club into a championship-caliber franchise. During his illustrious 12-year playing career, Donovan was selected All-NFL in five consecutive seasons and played in five Pro Bowls. One of the league’s most popular players of his generation, he led the legendary Colts defensive line that won the league championship in 1958 and 1959.

Career Stats: 138 games played; 1 safety

1952 Bowman #46

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #46. Donovan was in his third season in the NFL, his only one with the Dallas Texans, when he was featured on his own rookie card. Even as a defensive lineman, his rookie card is relatively valuable, with eBay listings ranging from $75 to a staggering $1,219.99, with an obvious grading preference. There are many various cards featuring Donovan in his much more famous Colts uniform spanning everything from vintage base cards to junk wax era HOF-specific sets to modern throwbacks and cut autographs with corresponding prices that you would expect for each type.

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