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: 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: Dan Reeves


Name: Dan Reeves
Position: Owner-Administrator
Pro Career: 1941 – 1971
Team Affiliation(s): Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams
College: Georgetown
Induction Class: 1967

Brief Bio: A great innovator, Dan Reeves forever changed the landscape of the National Football League. In January 1946, just one month after winning the NFL title, Reeves shocked the league by announcing he was relocating his Cleveland franchise to Los Angeles, 2,000 miles from the nearest NFL city in an era before air travel was commonplace. He suffered massive financial losses in those first few seasons, but eventually his team’s success, winning four division titles and another NFL championship, proved to be a gateway that opened up the West Coast to professional sports. His L.A. Coliseum saw more than 80,000 in attendance 22 times in the Rams’ first two decades out west. Beyond bringing the NFL westward, Reeves was also the first team owner to sign a black athlete in over a decade (1946), the first to hire a full-time scouting staff, and was a pioneer in TV contracts that would lay the groundwork for the league’s unparalleled TV success of today.

1988 Swell Greats #102

Featured Card: 1988 Swell Greats #102. As an owner, there is little wonder why Dan Reeves was not featured in a football card set during his tenure with the Rams organization. Fortunately, he has been included in several Hall of Famed focused sets, including this 1988 Swell Greats card. Trivial Beckett value of this card is $0.10. Copies are not necessarily easy to come by online as most retailers don’t bother listing junk wax cards of owners, but you should find that the going rate is not far off Beckett’s price. The only real point of warning for a card of this magnitude would be to watch your shipping fees. If you can get the same cheap card from multiple vendors, why not go with the one to whom you will pay the lowest fees?

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

HOF Spotlight: Bob Waterfield


Name: Bob Waterfield
Position: Quarterback
Pro Career: 1945 – 1952
Team Affiliation(s): Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams
College: UCLA
Induction Class: 1965

Brief Bio: A long-ball passer with a knack for come-from-behind heroics, Bob Waterfield led a dangerous and feared Rams offense in the post-WWII era of the NFL. Waterfield threw two decisive touchdowns in the 1945 championship game en route to his first of five first- or second-team All-NFL bids and was the first rookie to ever win league MVP honors. He also led the Rams to three straight championship cames from 1949-1951, winning it all in 1951. A truly versatile threat, Waterfield was a standout defensive back his first four years in the league, a punishing punter, and a deadly placekicker.

Career Stats: 91 games played; 50.3% completion percentage; 11,849 passing yards; 97 passing TDs; 13 rushing TDs; 315 PATs; 60 FGs; 42.4 yard punting average; 20 interceptions

1948 Leaf #26

Featured Card: 1948 Leaf #26. Similar to fellow HOFer Steve van Buren, Waterfield is one of the notable rookie cards in the colorful (albeit airbrushed) 1948 Leaf set. Trivial Beckett value is $250. There are actually a lot of copies of this card on eBay at the moment, with prices ranging from $38 (the scan showing an obvious horizontal crease in the middle of the card) to $449 (a PSA 5). As always with vintage cards, beware of fakes and reprints. This may not be a T206 Wagner, but some people will stop at nothing to make an easy dollar. Also, be sure to know what you want in your collection. If you want the highest grades possible, expect to pay a significant markup for your additions. If you just want to be able to say you have certain cards, look around and try to find lesser known but reliable sellers who are willing to cut deals, especially if you are in the market for several cards at once.

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