Thursday, September 29, 2016

1959 Topps Nick Pietrosante

Again in 1959 UPI and The Sporting News had differing opinions on the Rookie of the Year. Earlier I made  a Card That Never Was of UPI Rookie of the Year, Boyd Dowler. Dowler was drafted out of Colorado and his rookie year was also the first year Vince Lombardi coached the Packers. His 549 receiving yards and 4 TDs helped the Pack improve from 1-10-1 in 1958 to 7-5 in 1959.
The Sporting News ROY was a fullback out of Notre Dame that was the Lions first round draft pick. Nick Pietrosante led the league in rushing yards per carry with 5.9 his rookie season. He was also a receiving target out of the backfield and finished his first year with 587 all-purpose yards. 

Pietrosante was a two-time Pro Bowler and when he left the team after the 1965 season he was the Lions all-time leading rusher with 3933 yards. In 1966 he was signed by the Cleveland Browns to help fill the gaping hole left by the loss of Jim Brown. Pietrosante, however, saw limited action as Ernie Green moved from halfback to fullback and return specialist Leroy Kelly took over at halfback. Pietrosante retired after the 1967 season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1958 Topps Bobby Mitchell

Just like in 1956, in1958 there were two different Rookies of the Year. United Press International declared Pittsburgh's Jimmy Orr the Rookie of the Year. But The Sporting News named Cleveland Halfback Bobby Mitchell the winner. I had previously created a Card That Never Was for Jimmy Orr, here. 
The Sporting News awarded the ROY to future Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell. Although he is better known as an All Pro receiver for the Redskins he began his career sharing the Browns' backfield with Jim Brown. In 1958 he rushed for 500 yards, while Brown gobbled up 1527 yards on the ground.

Mitchell was a 4 sports star in high school running track, playing baseball, football and basketball. He was drafted by the Cardinals to play baseball but elected to play football at the University of Illinois. He was drafted by the Browns in 1958 and played primarily halfback and punt/kick returner. 

In 1962 the Washington Redskins were under pressure from the federal government to racially integrate their team. The Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate an in 1962 they were in danger of losing their stadium lease. They traded for Mitchell, Steelers guard John Nisby and drafted Michigan State running back Ron Hatcher. The three broke the color barrier in Washington. Hatcher played in just 3 games in 1962.  Nisby who played for the Steelers from 1957-1961, switched from right guard to left and played with Washington until 1964. 

Mitchell went onto lead the league in receiving yards in 1962 and 1963. He led in receiving TDs in 1964. He continued playing until 1968 then became a scout for the team eventually becoming Assistant GM. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Friday, September 23, 2016

1956 Topps J.C. Caroline

It's week 3 of the NFL season and I am just getting around to some more Cards That Never Were for the Rookies of the Year. One of the reasons is that there were several Rookie of the Year Awards. The one that I had been using for reference was the UPI award. The UPI was a press award given out from 1955-1996. 

Although there was much overlap, The Sporting News also handed out annual awards vote upon by NFL players, coaches and executives. The Sporting News began awards in 1955 as well and are still doing it now. 

But it only gets muddier from there. The Newspaper Enterprise Association got into the act in 1964. They continued issuing awards through 1996 and from 1971-1976 they issued two awards. one oa AFC one for NFC, except for the 1974 season. OK got that? Because we're not done yet.

In 1967 the Associated Press got into the game. They issued separate awards for the offensive and defensive Rookies of the Year. They are still issuing that award. In 1969 Pro Football Weekly played the same game, awarding offensive and defensive ROY trophies. The latest ROY is awarded by Pepsi. This began in 2002 and is voted online only by fans at 

I started making these cards quite a while back, in April of 2014, I made a 1957 Rookie Card That Never Was for the great Jim Brown
 I noted that the 1955 and 1956 Rookie of the Year winners were given cards by Bowman in 1955 and Topps in 1956, their rookie seasons. However that is not strictly the case. In 1955 Alan Ameche of the Baltimore Colts was the winner of both the UPI and TSN award and he had a card in the 1955 Bowman set.
In 1956 the UPI award was given to another Colts player, Lenny Moore.  Moore had a card in Topps 1956 set.  But The Sporting News awarded the Rookie of the Year did not have a card in 1956. The Bears defensive back / offensive halfback, J.C. Caroline was primarily a defensive back but was used by the Bears as a halfback and kick returner as well through the 1958 season. After that he was used exclusively on defense. 

J.C. Caroline played 2 years at the University of Illinois breaking Red Grange's rushing record before being ruled academically ineligible. He the played in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts but was placed on waivers the picked up by the Montreal Alouettes. J.C. and the Alouettes beat his former team in the semi finals to advance to the Grey Cup. Montreal lost to the Edmonton Eskimos. The following year J.C. got a degree in Phys Ed from Florida A&M and was drafted by the Bears. In his rookie year with the Bears he picked off 6 passes and ran 2 back for touchdowns. He was the Sporting News Rookie of the Year which meant that the honor was bestowed by his fellow players and coaches.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

TBT - Texas Rangers Edition

Last month the Astros hosted the Rangers in an All-Texas turn-back-the-clock game. Both teams wore 1986 era uniforms. The Rangers actually had the same away greys from 1985-1993. Here ia my attempt to mimic the 1991 Donruss Nolan Ryan card.  Lucas Harrell cooperated by striking a similar pose.
Both Harrell and Ryan pitched for the Astros and the Rangers. Nolan led the league with 18 losses in 1973. Lucas led the league with losses in 2013 with 17.  He also led in bases on balls that year. Ryan led the league in walks nine times.  The similarities seem to end there. On the bright side, Ryan pitched until he was nearly 47.  Harrell is a relatively young 31 year old.  Things can change in 15 years.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

TBT - St. Louis Cardinals Edition

Last Saturday the Cardinals celebrated the 90th anniversary of their 1926 World Series championship by wearing their 1927 "World Champion" uniforms. Cards from this era are scarce so I decided to copy the 1971 Laughlin World Series cards. 
These featured cartoon drawings of  players, highlights or factoids about the games. There were several different variations of these cards issued by Fleer in 1970, 1971 and again in 1980.  I chose third-baseman Jhonny Peralta to take the place of Hall of Fame player-manager Rogers Hornsby
Can't really compare the uniform to a cartoon so I included a photo of Hall of Fame pitcher, (Grover Cleveland) Pete Alexander. I found this colorized version posted on several pages on the interwebs and I am not sure who to credit with the colorization. As usual the main differences are the modern cut of the uniform including the shorter sleeves and of course the socks. Oddly the socks look closer to the cartoon than the photo.