Yearly: 2015

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1967 Chiefs Set: AFL Champs In 1966

Hank Stram, Dub Abell, Emmitt Thomas, Fred "the hammer" Williamson, Jerrel Wilson, Mike Garrett, Jon Giliam, Willie Mitchell, Sherrill, Headrick, Reg Carolan, Dennis Diodrowski, Tommy Brooker, Walt Corey, Tony Dimidio, Curt Merz, Bobby Ply, Al Reynolds, Hatch Rosdahl, Smokey Stover

The 1966 Kansas City Chiefs season saw their first AFL Championship as they dispensed with Jack Kemp and the Buffalo Bills, winners of the 1964 and 1965 Championships.  But the season didn’t end there because 1966 was to be the first ever NFL-AFL Championship between the winner of each league.  This game of course was Super Bowl I and a lot was riding on this game as the NFL did not want to be embarrassed by the junior league.  Vince Lombardi was nervous about this game but he needn’t have been as his Green Bay Packers dispensed with the Chiefs 35-10.

The Chiefs were just getting started and returned to the Super Bowl three years later, beating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.  This RetroCard set focuses on that 1966 team which was stacked with excellent players and headed by Hall Of Fame coach Hank Stram.  The small football card sets of the day regularly missed fine players as well as many up-and-coming players and this set corrects that but adding 18 more cards in the 1967 style. This set features: Hank Stram, Dub Abell, Emmitt Thomas, Fred “the hammer” Williamson, Jerrel Wilson, Mike Garrett, Jon Giliam, Willie Mitchell, Sherrill, Headrick, Reg Carolan, Dennis Diodrowski, Tommy Brooker, Walt Corey, Tony Dimidio, Curt Merz, Bobby Ply, Al Reynolds, Hatch Rosdahl, Smokey Stover, and a team card. Get your set here.

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Lee Elia And The Art Of Profanity

RetroCards custom cards that never were lee elia tirade

The name Lee Elia may conjure up images of the old Chicago Cubs of the 70s and early 80s, a hapless team that took losing to new levels.  Elia only managed in the big leagues for 4 season and bounced around as coach for another xx years or so.  But he is known for a profanity-laced tirade after a Wrigley field game that some would consider a work of art.

In 1983 the Cubs were off to a difficult start and the fans were letting the team have it.  It’s hard to believe that Wrigley Field went without lights until 1988 and up until then,  all games played there were day games.  This was the time before Wrigley Field was “the place to be” and didn’t attract the affluent (and some would say “less cool”) crowd  that it started to attract once lights were installed.   But a particular day in April, 1983 the normally docile daytime fans had had enough and booed and heckled the Cubs after a one run loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Elia lost his cool in front of four reporters: Robert Marcus (Chicago Tribune), Joel Behrig (Chicago Sun-Times) Don Friske (Daily Herald), and WLS-AM’s Les Grobstein who recorded it on tape.

RetroCards has commemorated Lee Elia’s artistic expression with a special 1983 Highlight Card.  Treat yourself to a listen here.

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1963 Rams: Green And Growing

Lamar Lundy, Bill Jobko, Art Perkins, Larry Hayes, Carver Shannon, Duane Allen, Charlie Cowan, Joe Scibelli, Jack Pardee, Charley Britt, Larry Stephens, Art Hunter, Bobby Smith, John Adams, Jim Boeke, Alvin Hall, Mike Henry, Terry Baker

The 1962 season was not kind to the Los Angeles Rams.  Eventual Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield, the team’s head coach in 1960 and 1961, came back in 1962 and coached the Rams to a 1–7 record before being fired. Harland Svare, Waterfield’s successor, could only manage a 0–5–1 record to finish a dismal season.  Despite the poor record, the Rams began adding pieces that would result in the powerful team the Rams came to be during the 1966-1969 seasons.

RetroCards added 18 supplemental Rams to the 1963 set:  Lamar Lundy, Bill Jobko, Art Perkins, Larry Hayes, Carver Shannon, Duane Allen, Charlie Cowan, Joe Scibelli, Jack Pardee, Charley Britt, Larry Stephens, Art Hunter, Bobby Smith, John Adams, Jim Boeke, Alvin Hall, Mike Henry, and Terry Baker.  Check the whole set out here.

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Pete Gent: Author, Cynic, and All-Around Good Receiver

Dallas Cowboys RetroCards

Pete Gent is rightly remembered for his hard-edge novel North Dallas Forty, a book about how pro football teams exploited their players, which is based on his experiences with the Cowboys.  His colorful demeanor clashed with head coach Tom Landry’s and GM Tex Schramm’s old-school ways but he managed to be a productive member on the team from 1964-1968 in spite of that.

Credit the Cowboys for asking Big Ten basketball coaches for players that might make it in the NFL.  At the bottom of the list was Gent who Cowboy’s scout Gil Brandt went to visit at Michigan State.  Brandt saw him as a defensive back and signed him.  The only trouble was Gent had no talent for playing defense.  He was able to catch passes however, and the Cowboys kept him as the sixth receiver, cutting quarterback Sonny Gibbs to make room for him.

Gent came to the Cowboys as a fairly mild-mannered non-drinker and non-smoker.   He hung with Dave Manders and Frank Clarke and their families and attended SMU Law School at night.  But by the second training camp in 1965, he roomed with Don Talbert, one of the four “Varmint Brothers,” and his life was never the same afterward (that story is for a different blog post).  In spite of his cynicism and non-conformity, Gent was a solid contributor for five years though injuries often slowed him down.  Through his friendship with Frank Gifford, he got a tryout with the New York Giants but Gent, who by this time was insufferable and uncoachable, wore his welcome out quickly in New York and found himself a civilian in 1969.

His first novel North Dallas Forty came out in 1973 and the film of the same name in 1979.  The two main characters were based largely on himself and Don Meredith.  Surprisingly, Gent never had a card! So RetroCards has righted that wrong with 9 new cards of old number 35.  He died from a pulmonary disease in 2011.

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A “Bad” Year For The Packers In 1964

Lionel Aldridge, Ken Bowman, Zeke Bratkowski, Lee Roy Caffey, Boyd Dowler, Bill Forester, Bob Jeter, Ron Kostelnik, Ron Kramer, Max McGee, Ray Nitschke, Elijah Pitts, Dave Robinson, Bob Skoronski, Fuzzy Thurston, Lloyd Voss, Vince Lombardi, Dan Currie

The 1963 Packer season was another outstanding display of football excellence but their two losses to the Champion Bears showed that the loss of Paul Hornung (suspended for gambling) was indeed crippling.  The Packers 11-2-1 record didn’t earn them a playoff berth but was a sign that there was plenty of talent for years to come.  Surprisingly, the 1964 season proved to be a step backwards before the Packers got it together to win three championships in a row from 1965-1967.  Their 8-5-1 record was only good for second place tie with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL’s Western Conference.

This new RetroCards sets add 18 more players in that familiar Philadelphia card design from 1964.  Players include:  Lionel Aldridge, Ken Bowman, Zeke Bratkowski, Lee Roy Caffey, Boyd Dowler, Bill Forester, Bob Jeter, Ron Kostelnik, Ron Kramer, Max McGee, Ray Nitschke, Elijah Pitts, Dave Robinson, Bob Skoronski, Fuzzy Thurston, and Lloyd Voss.  There is also a special linebacker card featuring Dan Currie, Dave Robinson, Ray Nitschke, and Lee Roy Caffey PLUS a Vince Lombardi card. Get your set here.

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A Cookie Factory Welcomed the Braves In Style

hank aaron, mel roach, bob thorpe, harry hanebrink, welcome braves arrive milwaukee

The Johnston Cookie Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin treated baseball fans to more than delicious cookies in 1953.  They debuted a 25-card baseball set in 1953, the Braves first year in Milwaukee after their move west from Boston.  It was to be the first of three sets of Braves cards (the other two sets came out in 1954 & 1955) and fans ate them up.  Spahn, Mathews, Burdette, Crandell, Logan, and Adcock were a few of the player cards that made up the original set.

RetroCards adds a few more players as well as some some of the events involving Milwaukee fans welcoming the Braves to town.  Featured are Sam Jethroe, Bob Thorpe, Mel Roach, Joey Jay, Harry Hanebrink, and an up-and-coming Henry Aaron.  Some of the special cards show a packed Milwaukee County Stadium in 1953, a spring training team card, a welcome parade for the team in downtown Milwaukee, and a card showing the Braves players arriving in a Milwaukee Road train car!  Order yours here.