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1969 Buffalo Bills: Quarterback Infirmary

 

A Championship team two years earlier, the 1968 Buffalo Bills had the worst quarterback luck a team could have in one season. First, starter Jack Kemp and backup Tom Flores went out with injuries, then rookie Dan Darragh took a beating until his knee gave out. Kay Stephenson was next, getting knocked out with a broken collarbone. Finally running back / receiver Ed Rutkowski, a former quarterback at Notre Dame, finished the last three games of the season. Needless to say, the Bills finished with a league’s worst 1–12–1 record but it enabled them to pick USC running back O.J. Simpson with the first pick of the draft in 1969. Along with rookie quarterback James Harris, the Bills began a slow rebuild.

This RetroCards set offers some great old AFL stars and some future stars: Max Anderson, Stew Barber, Marlin Briscoe, Paul Costa, Tom Day, Elbert Dubenion, Tom Flores, James Harris, Harry Jacobs, Jack Kemp, Paul Maguire, Haven Moses, Ed Rutkowski, Marty Schottenheimer, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Mike Stratton, and an O.J. Simpson Training Camp highlight. Coming Soon!
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Willie Davis: The Packers’ Dr. Feelgood

With the passing of another Lombardi-era Packer, one might take note of how many years we have behind us of wonderful sports memories, entertaining teams, and fascinating players. Willie Davis is one of those players who left a robust legacy that connected his Hall of Fame playing days with community.

Drafted in 1956 by the Cleveland Browns in the 15th round, Willie was committed to two years of military service, which may account for the Browns taking him so late in the draft. After two unspectacular years in Cleveland alternating at both defensive end and offensive tackle, Willie was traded to the Packers for the now forgotten A.D. Williams. Williams caught only one pass with the Browns before spending his final season with the expansion Vikings in 1961. Not a bad trade for the Packers.

Vince Lombardi quickly became a mentor to Davis telling him when the Packers traded for him, “I consider speed, agility and size to be the three most important attributes in a successful lineman. Give me a man who has any two of those dimensions, and he’ do ok. but give him all three, and he’ll be great. We think you have all three.”

Willie went on to have six All-Pro seasons including five Pro Bowl appearances to go along with five Championships. His nickname “Dr. Feelgood” was coined by roommate Jerry Kramer who noted that he never got injured.

Some quick but important achievements:
• He was one of four candidates considered for the NFL commissioner in 1989 to replace Pete Rozelle
• Was member of the Packers board of directors from 1994-2005
• Was an analyst on NBC for NFL games from 1970-1975
• Recorded 22 fumble recoveries, two safeties, and one touchdown
• Unofficially recorded over 100 sacks
• Played in 162 straight games (never missing even one in his 12-year career)
• He’s a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
• Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981

NFL films did an excellent video of him that can be found here.

Check out RetroCards.net for many of the cards shown above which can be found in many Packers RetroCards Sets.

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Three Forfeits Share One Thing In Common

The Decade of the 1970s never ceases to amaze and amuse sports fans.  It was a simpler time, full of quaint and heart warming stories that are still told on bar stools and in the stands of many a game.  However there were a few notorious moments that involved America’s Pastime that are getting the RetroCards treatment and those are the three forfeited games in that decade:  The Washington Senators final game (1971), Ten Cent Beer Night in Cleveland (1974), and Disco Demolition Night in Chicago (1979).  Each game has its own fascinating story but what links them together is that one athlete played in all three games:  Rusty Torres.

You can research the absurd and interesting situations surrounding each game and RetroCards is honoring these events with a special 4-card set; a Highlight (Lowlight?) card for each game plus a Rusty Torres Highlight card.

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Staying In? Look Through Some Old Cards!

RetroCards will continue to design, create and print old-style cards that we grew up with – we’ll keep you up to date on our production lines. In the meantime, stay in and go through your old cards, put them in those vinyl pages you’ve been meaning to do, and watch old games on YouTube. Stay safe.

I couldn’t find who created this so no credit can be given, but is it me or is this Gem Mint 10 a bit off center? Value goes way up if autographed by Mr. Whipple.

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The Best Player To Never Make The Pro Bowl – Jethro Pugh

The passing of Cowboy great Jethro Pugh on January 7, 2015 was a reminder of some of the great players of the past who have gave many years of service but didn’t quite get the recognition they probably deserved.  Jethro Pugh has often been called “the best player to never have made the Pro Bowl.”  Having played on both the Doomsday I and Doomsday II defenses, he was overshadowed by Bob Lilly and George Andrie and then by Harvey Martin, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and Randy White.  Though he played at a high level for 14 seasons, missing only 15 games out of 198, he was a quiet warrior, content with playing in the shadows of he teammates.  He was also a member of five Super Bowl teams and played in 21 playoff games.

Pugh, who former All-Pro cornerback Everson Walls once referred to as the “Old Gentleman of the Cowboys,” was admired for his quiet leadership and dedication to the game.  RetroCards has given this unheralded player lots of attention with over 20 “cards that never were.”

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The World Hockey Asscociation Had Gretzky – For A Moment!

Wayne Gretzky played a mere 8 games for the Indianapolis Racers during the 1978-79 season in the fabled World Hockey Association.  Though, like the American Basketball Association who were absorbed by the NBA, the WHA would be absorbed by the larger, more powerful National Hockey League.  Competing leagues always make life interesting for sports fans as owners and leagues compete for the best young talent.

This happened to a 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky at the perfect time – just when the WHA was nearing its end.  The 10-year personal services contract he signed was the longest at the time and he began a glorious career.

Defunct leagues and pre-rookie cards are targets for RetroCards “cards that never were” and Gretzky gets the first ever RetroCard for a hockey player.  The 1978-79 Hockey card set is used for this WHA card.