Monthly: September 2016


Cowboys Of ’81: Danny Takes Over

Topps Bruce Thornton, Tim Newsome, Larry Bethea, John Fitzgerald, Robert Shaw, Doug Cosbie, Steve Wilson, Dennis Thurman, Gary Hogeboom, Tom Rafferty, Aaron Mitchell, Glenn Carano, Wade Manning, Ed “too Tall” Jones, Harvey Martin, Tom Landry, Danny White


The Danny White era had officially begun in 1980 after the somewhat unexpected retirement of Roger Staubach after the 1979 season.  With a balanced roster of talent, seasoned veterans, and young and rising stars, the Cowboys had every reason to feel they were a Super Bowl contender.  White led a potent offense, directing the Cowboys to a 12–4 record, good for second place in the Eastern Division.  Although they were number one in the NFL on offense and number 13 on defense, the Cowboys could not overcome the superior defense of the Philadelphia Eagles, losing 20–7 on the road in the NFC Championship Game.
This 18-card RetroCards set features players that did not appear on a regular card in 1981. The set includes: Bruce Thornton, Tim Newsome, Larry Bethea, John Fitzgerald, Robert Shaw, Doug Cosbie, Steve Wilson, Dennis Thurman, Gary Hogeboom, Tom Rafferty, Aaron Mitchell, Glenn Carano, Wade Manning, a team card featuring Tom Landry, an In-Action card of Danny White, and a “teammates” card featuring Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Also included are playoff cards of the NFC Wild Card vs. Rams and the NFC Divisional Game vs. Falcons.  Get it here!

More Fun With Broadway Joe

Topps, Philadelphia Gum Cards, Brady Bunch, Bobby meets Broadway Joe

In an earlier post, RetroCards featured the “lost Joe Namath cards.”  From 1974-1978 there were no Joe Namath cards, presumably due to a lack of an agreement with the NFL Players Association (a similar predicament both Lynn Swann and Earl Campbell had).  So RetroCards filled in those missing years by doing what we do best: making custom sports cards.  But why stop there? 
Namath was such a popular player that RetroCards created another cache of cards that feature Namath cards in all four Philadelphia Gum card designs.  Although Joe’s first season was in 1965, the NFL and AFL drafts were held in November 1964 so RetroCards took the creative license and designed two 1964 cards: one in the Topps design, and a Philadelphia Gum Card design as a St. Louis Cardinal, the NFL team that drafted him.
The other oddball card is a 1968 Philadelphia Action card, which is a RetroCards original design, creating what may have been the fifth Philadelphia Gum card design had there been one in 1968. This original design is unique in that it focuses on “action” or “sideline” shots in a time when only posed player shots were used.  RetroCards will be elaborating on this design with some sets in the coming months.
RetroCards followers know that few subjects are off limits so Joe Namath gets a special card with Bobby Brady of the Brady Bunch TV show (I don’t think I have to explain the episode where Broadway Joe appears).  Look for more 70s TV cards as well as your favorite sports heroes here on this blog. 


Ron Vander Kelen: Wisconsin Great

Topps, Philadelphia gum cards, NFL

Badger legend Ron Vander Kelen passed away at age 76, on August 14, 2016. He was the Co-MVP (with Trojan QB Pete Beathard) in the 1963 Rose Bowl where the University of Wisconsin was defeated by USC 42–37.  Down 42–14 in the fourth quarter, Vander Kelen orchestrate a comeback with 23 unanswered points but fell short in what is considered one of the greatest Bowl games of all-time.

He had one more MVP performance as starter in the College All-Star Game where the College All-Stars defeated the Packers 20–17 which included Vander Kelen completing a pass to Badger teammate Pat Richter.  This 1963 game was the last time the College team beat an NFL team.
Growing up in Preble, Wisconsin (soon to be annexed by Green Bay) he went undrafted by the NFL, probably because the Rose Bowl was played after the NFL draft. Vander Kelen signed as a free agent to play for the Minnesota Vikings and played backup to starting quarterback Fran Tarkenton. During his five years with the Vikings, he never attempted more than 58 passes in any one season. Vander Kelen ended up appearing in 29 games and had five starts, three coming in 1967, his final NFL season.  He was traded to the Falcons in 1968 but couldn’t unseat Randy Johnson as the starter and was released.  He played briefly in the Canadian Football league before retiring.