Wednesday, February 27, 2019

1969 NFL / AFL Rookies of the Year

1969 was the last season in which the AFL and NFL were separate leagues. There was, however, yet another Rookie of the Year presenter. This time it was Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America (PFW). Like the AP, they presented the award to both offensive ROY and defensive ROY.

Fortunately, there was little difference among the ROY award recipients. Both the AP and PFW awards went to Calvin Hill on offense and "Mean" Joe Greene on defense. The NEA award went to Calvin Hill. Hill was the unanimous choice by TSN and UPI for the NFL. In the AFL they split with TSN awarding it to Carl Garrett. The UPI award went to Greg Cook.

Calvin Hill and Greg Cook would wait until 1970 to appear on a Topps card. Green and Garrett wouldn't show up in a Topps set until 1971.

Starting with the unanimous choice, Calvin Hill was the Cowboys' first round pick in the 1969 draft. The halfback from Yale was the first Ivy Leaguer ever picked in the first round. In his first 9 games, Hill led the league in rushing with 807 yards. In the ninth game he set a Cowboys record with 150 yards. He also broke his toe and totaled just 135 yards over the remaining games. 

He played for the Cowboys from 1969-1974. In 1975 he played for the Honolulu Hawaiians of the WFL. After that league went bust he returned to the NFL from 1976-1981 playing in Washington and Cleveland.

The defensive ROY was future Hall of Famer, "Mean" Joe Greene.  Greene was the 4th overall pick of the 1969 draft. He played college ball for the North Texas Mean Green. North Texas changed its nickname from the Eagles to Mean Green while Mean Joe Greene was playing there. But the cross-over nicknames are reportedly coincidental. See here. 

 Playing at the University of Cincinnati, he was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 5th overall pick. He led them to a 3-0 record as a starter before sustaining a shoulder injury. He missed 3 games and parts of 2 others. He continued to play through the pain, starting games 8-14. But he had done permanent damage. Three surgeries later he made an unsuccessful comeback attempt in 1973 as Ken Anderson's backup. 

Cook was a one-season-wonder in 1969. He was named AFL Rookie of the Year by UPI. He threw 3 passes in 1973 completing only one for 11 yards.  I was asked to make this card for another blog quite a few years ago. "Jim From Downingtown" requested this for his 1968 Football Cards blog.

The Sporting News awarded their AFL Rookie of the Year to Carl Garrett. Garrett was an all-purpose back. He rushed, caught passes, and returned punts and kicks. He put up an impressive 1909 all purpose yards in 1969. His numbers fell dramatically in 1970 particularly in the backfield. After the 1970 season he was traded to Dallas for Duane Thomas. After Thomas refused to take a physical exam for the Patriots, the trade was voided. Garrret played from 1969-1972 in New England. He played pro ball from  1973-1977 for the Bears, Jets and Raiders.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

1968 NFL / AFL Rookies of the Year

With 4 presenters of the Rookie of the Year award in 1968, it can get confusing. I'll try to break it down.

The Associated Press (AP) picked Earl McCullouch on offense and Claude Humphrey on defense.  The Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), who had just one award, also chose McCullouch. The Sporting News (TSN) chose McCullouch in the NFL and Paul Robinson in the AFL. United Press International echoed TSN's picks with McCullouch in the NFL and Robinson in the AFL.

On the trading card front, Topps was now the sole producer of football cards. They included both AFL and NFL cards in their set for the first time since 1961. Although there were 3 different Rookies of the Year in 1968, all of them would wait until 1970 before Topps included them in the set.

Earl McCullouch was a unanimous ROY winner. He received honors from AP, NEA, TSN and UPI. He was a two sport star and Olympic Hopeful at USC. Ultimately he chose the money of professional football over the glory of the Olympics in 1968. He played 7 seasons in Detroit from 1968-1973. He finished his career on the Saints in 1974.

Paul Robinson was chosen in the 3rd round of the combined 1968 AFL/NFL draft. In his rookie year he put up 1023 rushing yards and scored 9 TDs. In addition to winning the ROY in the AFL, he came in second to Joe Namath in MVP voting. He played for the Bengals from 1968 until the 4th game into the 1972 season when he was traded to the Oilers. He played sparingly in Houston in 1972 and 1973. In 1974 he played in the newly formed WFL for the Birmingham Americans. He ran for 599 yards and 2 TDs. The Americans won the championship in the WFL's only year in existence. 

 Claude Humphrey was chosen 3rd overall in the draft by the Atlanta Falcons. The defensive end from Tennessee played from 1968-1981 on the Falcons and Eagles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

1967 NFL / AFL Rookies of the Year

In case you were wondering why my last post was a recap of cards I already posted, it is because the last post was two and a half years ago. Even I forgot where I left off. Plus I had a bunch more NFL/AFL rookie Cards That Never Were all set to post. I just needed to do a little research.

Since I need to clean up a few abandoned projects, this seems like a good place to start.


Another year, another award. In 1967 the Associated Press (AP) started their own awards for offensive and defensive Rookies of the Year. So the Breakdown is this: AP offensive: Mel Farr, defensive: Lem Barney. NEA: Mel Farr. TSN AFL: Dickie Post. NFL: Mel Farr. UPI AFL: George Webster, NFL: Mel Farr.

1967 was the first year of  what was called "the common draft". Instead of 2 separate AFL and NFL drafts competing for players, the two leagues participated in a single draft. This was an early part of the eventual merger of the leagues. Webster and Farr were both first round picks. Barney went in the 2nd and Post in the 4th round.

In 1967 the NFL football cards were still being produced by Philadelphia. Topps was still producing the AFL cards. Neither set included any of the four Rookie of the Year award winners. In fact, none of these award winners would be put onto cardboard until the 1970 set. That's right nothing for the first 3 seasons for any of them. Wow.

Mel Farr was the clear winner. He won all 4 AP, NEA, TSN and UPI Rookie of the year awards. The halfback out of UCLA primarily played fullback his rookie season in Detroit. He had 1177 combined rushing and receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl his rookie year as well. He had knee injuries requiring surgeries in both 1968 and 1969. He played for the Lions until after the 1973 season. Detroit traded him to the Oilers and he announced his retirement 12 days later

The AP chose Farr's teammate and future Hall of Famer, Lem Barney, as the defensive Rookie of the Year. The 7-time Pro Bowler from Jackson State played for the Lions his entire career as well. He retired after the 1977 season.

The Sporting News chose Chargers halfback, Dickie Post AFL ROY. His best season was 1969 when he led the AFL with 873 yards rushing. The University of Houston alumni spent most of his career in San Diego. He played briefly for the Broncos before returning to Houston for the final 7 games in 1971.

UPI's choice for AFL ROY was Oilers linebacker George Webster. The Michigan State product was an AFL All-Star in each of his first three seasons. He played 10 seasons in the pros for the Oilers, Steelers and Patriots.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

AFL / NFL Rookies of the Year

Catching up on old Ideas

Just a heads up this can get a bit confusing. You see there were (and still are) several outlets that award the Rookies of the Year in pro football. But they all started in 1955 with The Sporting News (TSN) and United Press International (UPI). 


In 1955 TSN and UPI both agree on Alan Ameche of the Colts. As it turns out, Bowman made a card of Ameche, so nothing for me to do but post it:


In '56 UPI gave the award to another Colt Lenny Moore and Topps had a card of him in the 1956 set. TSN gave it to J.C. Caroline of the Bears. Below is my custom:


TSN and UPI agreed again in 1957 on Jim Brown but Toppps left him out of their set. Another custom from me:


TSN and UPI split again in 1958. TSN gave the ROY to another Browns back, Bobby Mitchell. UPI gave it to Steelers receiver Jimmy Orr. Neither had cards in the 1958 Topps set so here are my customs:


Again TSN went with a back, Nick Pietrosante of the Lions while UPI went with an end, Boyd Dowler of the Packers. And again no Topps cards so here are my customs:


With the creation of the AFL in 1960 things get a bit more complex. Both gave the New AFL award to the Dallas Texanns' Abner Haynes. They also agreed on Gail Cogdill of the Lions for the NFL ROY. Fleer made a card of Haynes but Cogdill was left out of the Topps set. So I made a custom for him:


They were in sync again in 1961 with Charger DE Earl Faison in the AFL and "Da Coach" Mike Ditka in the NFL. This time neither Fleer nor Topps had them included in their sets. Two more customs:


Ditto for 1962. Both TSN and UPI had Curtis McClinton of the Texans and Bears running back Ronnie Bull in their respective leagues. Fleer missed out on McClinton so here's the custom. Topps did have Bull in their 1962 set which is still one of their best looking football sets.


Again in agreement but now neither Topps nor Fleer included the rookies. Here are my customs of Broncos fullback Billy Joe and Vikings receiver Paul Flatley:


In 1964 there was a new award added. The Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) began handing out ROY awards to strictly NFL players. NEA, TSN and UPI all agreed on Charley Taylor. TSN and UPI agreed on Matt Snell.

The trading card game also changed. In 1964 Philadelphia licensed NFL cards and Topps got the license for AFL cards. Topps made a card for Snell of the Jets. They had him listed as FB-LB-DE but he was primarily a fullback as a pro. Philadelphia left Washington receiver Taylor out so here's my custom:


Again in 1965 NEA, TSN and UPI were in agreement and again Topps was on it in the AFL but Philadelphia missed out. Both future Hall of Famers, here is Topps' "Broadway Joe" and a custom Philadelphia card of "The Kansas Comet":


In 1966 things changed. UPI and TSN agreed on Bills running back Bobby Burnett in the AFL. But they split in the NFL with TSN and NEA giving the ROY to Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis and UPI going with Cardinals halfback Johnny Roland. This time Topps and Philadelphia came up empty.

Ok. You are all caught up. These have all been posted on this sight between 2014 and 2016. I still have a lot to cover. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Some 1965 Requests

Since I'm doing a bit of "tying up loose ends", I had a request for some non-multiplayer rookie cards from 1965.  It took a little digging to find the time appropriate uniforms, but it was worth it.

The request were for Jose Cardenal, Glenn Beckert, Ken Berry and Paul Schaal.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Cards That Never Were - 39th & 40th Series Checklists

Since it took me into February to finish up the last Alt-Topps set, I'm going to use the rest of the month to catch up on other things. Then start fresh in March with a new(?) Alt-set.

Let's start with checklists. I have officially surpassed 1000 cards made for this blog. Unofficially, I have created a few for other blogs. Since I've been making all components of a real set for these prototypes, I may as well use their basic design for checklists. 

Here are the 1976 and 1968 Alt-Topps style checklists. If you click here you can see all the cards on the checklists on one place without any boring words to slow you down. As usual, you can also click any checklist in the right margin. That will link you to the relative cards.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

One More for the Judge

Frank Robinson

Here is one more 1968 Alt-Topps in honor of an incredible career in baseball. His contributions are immeasurable. Below are all the cards featuring Frank Robinson over the years.