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.

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