Today I’m continuing the trip through “The Unholy Mess”: A cheap box of semi-vintage football and baseball commons in complete and utter disarray.
It took me many, many hours to sort through all of the cards of Jerry Dybzinkski, John Zook and others…
…but I was having a good enough time going through the commons. At one point, I’d spent numerous hours going through this box, mindlessly sorting and essentially re-creating the childhood ritual of “Got him, need him, got him”…
I pulled a handful of cards out of the box and revealed a larger-than-expected face staring back at me.
A face belonging to Fran Tarkenton.
For the first time since starting on this box, I excitedly went “Oooooh!”
Fran came from the 1970 Topps “Super Football” set – not to be confused with 1970 Topps Super Glossy Football. These cards are the thickness of several cards and 3.125″ x 5.25″ in size. I’m not much of a football collector, but I am a sucker for oversized cards, and this one was a beauty.
1970 was during Tarkenton’s five-year run with the Giants; he started out with the 1961 expansion Vikings, got traded to New York and then back to Minnesota 5 years later.
The back was (as I would later find out) the same as the 1970 Topps set, only larger and with a different card number. The player’s name on the front of the card, which I initially took to be a lame attempt at a “signature”, is in the same font as the back of the card.
Shortly afterwards I found out that Fran had brought some friends with him, all but one a Football Hall-Of-Famer…
Dick Butkus, a middle linebacker, was the Bears’ first round pick in 1965 and played in 8 straight Pro Bowls before a knee injury ended his career.
Lance Alworth, a wide receiver, was the first AFL player to get into the Hall.
Tommy Nobis is the sole player I got who wasn’t a HOFer, but that gets balanced out by the fact that this card is a short print. Nobis was a linebacker who was the #1 overall draft pick and the first-ever Atlanta Falcon. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and his #60 was retired by the Falcons.
Johnny Unitas… is, well, Johnny Unitas. The part that always gets me about his bio is that he was drafted by the Steelers in the 9th round but cut before throwing a pass in a game.
I was instantly smitten with these oversized and completely unexpected cards, and didn’t hesitate for a second in deciding that these cards were going to be part of my collection… although I honestly don’t see myself working too hard to complete the set. I’d rather work on the Super Baseball sets… And I did get two Super Baseball cards during the COMC Black Friday sale. I’ll have more about those before too long.
Just to fill in the details before we go, the 1970 Topps Super Football set consists of 35 cards, 7 of which are SP’s. All 26 NFL teams of the day are represented… obviously some have two cards.