#JoysOfOversized – Four From 1970 Topps Super Football

I recently made a purchase of four cards which have what I consider “The Perfect Card Damage”.  The cards in question were from the 1970 Topps Super Football set, which is a set I’m not officially collecting (yet) but still cannot resist.

The front of the cards were in great shape… So why, for example, was this John Brodie card just a buck?

It’s was only a buck because some kid got bored and doodled on the back – but in a way which doesn’t affect the card itself – And this was the worst of the bunch.  The other three cards were “branded” with a ball-point-pen letter “B” in the margins of the back.  All of these fall into the “Pfft, like I care” category.

John Brodie, by the way, was a quarterback with the Forty Niners for 17 years (1957 – 1973). Brodie was the league MVP in 1970 while leading in completions (223), yards (2941) and touchdowns (24). It wasn’t the first time he lead the league in those categories.

It’s worth mentioning that the golf cartoon is appropriate, because after John Brodie was done in the NFL, he started a second career in the PGA Seniors tour.

Matt Snell was a running back who spent his entire 9-year career with the Jets (Both in the AFL and NFL). He was part of the Jets team which upset the Colts in Super Bowl III.

Like Brodie, Gabriel was a quarterback who won an MVP award; Gabriel’s came in 1969 when he was with the L.A. Rams. Gabriel threw 24 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions and lead the team as they won the first 11 games of the season.

Sorry about the misscan of this card. I think you get the idea of what this looks like.

Roman Gabriel did a bit of acting, and his first acting gig came as a “Native” on Gilligan’s Island.  It was in an episode called “Topsy-Turvy” where Gilligan hits his head and sees everything upside down;  when the Professor tries to help him, Gilligan sees double instead.

Other athletes who played “Natives” on Gilligan’s Island include Dodgers Jim Lefebvre and Al Ferrara. I’ve got to keep a closer eye on Gilligan’s Island reruns…

Here’s the “hit” of this batch; I spent a whopping $1.50 on this Carl Eller, who’s in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Eller played 15 years for the Vikings, was a key member of the “Purple People Eaters” defensive line, played in four Super Bowls and finished out his career with a season in Seattle.

Big Men On Big Cards: Five From 1970 Topps Super Football

Much like the Red Man Tobacco cards I shared last week, at the show I recently attended I ran across a small stack of five 1970 Topps Super Football cards. For those who aren’t familiar with the baseball and football “Super” cards of the early 1970’s, they’re 3.125″ x 5.25″ and very thick. I’m not a huge football collector, but I love oversized cards and I fell in love with this set a couple of years ago when I got a couple of these in a large box of loose cards I’d bought.

I saw one card from my wantlist – the one I’m leading off with in this post – and asked the dealer how much he wanted for these cards. He said “$1 each” so I handed him a $5 bill and took them all.

I’ve been a Steelers fan since the 1980’s, so the one card from this set that I flagged as a “want” was the lone Steeler in the set, wide receiver Roy Jefferson.  Jefferson had over 1,000 receiving yards in both 1968 and 1969 and was named to three Pro Bowls.

You might think it strange that the Steelers would be represented by only one card, but you should know that the Steelers were a bad team through much of the 1960’s, and in 1970 were coming off of a 1-13 season… so one card is honestly all they deserved. As it is, Roy Jefferson didn’t even play for the Black ‘N Gold in 1970, he was with the Baltimore Colts.

For those who aren’t familiar with these cards, here’s the back of Jefferson’s card.

It’s largely the same as the back of Jefferson’s regular 1970 card, but the aspect ratio is a bit different.

Christian Adolph “Sonny” Jurgensen was a HOF quarterback with the Eagles and Redskins. He lead the league in passing yards five times.

The back of the card says that in 1967 Sonny set NFL records in attempts, completions and yardage.  The season was 14 games back then, so it’s not surprising that these records no longer stand, but how high do you think those seasons rank overall?  Top 10?  Top 50?  Top 100?  How about none of Sonny’s three records being in the top 200 now.  This is why I have little patience for “This record will never be broken” or “We’ll never have a 30 game winner again”.  Things change.  Back in the 1980’s I enjoyed the Canadian Football League because it had more passing.  Now I yell at Ben Roethlisberger on my TV telling him to run the freakin’ ball and that he doesn’t have to win the game all by his damn self.


Getting back to Sonny Jurgensen’s card, I liked the cartoon so I include it here.

This next card saw Calvin Hill coming off of a rookie season where he rushed for 942 yards. He was named to four Pro Bowls and also played for the Redskins and Browns.

Calvin Hill went to Yale and was second in the NFL in rushing in 1969.  Before I throw out more numbers I should point out that 1969 the AFL was in its last season as a separate league… I forgot that myself until I started researching some of these players.

Danny Abramowicz had a career year in 1969, leading the league with 73 receptions and getting 1015 receiving yards. He’d never quite match those numbers again, but he had a very good 7 year career.

Remember what I said about “Big Men” in the subject line? That doesn’t really apply to Dick Post, who is 5″9″ and lead the AFL with 873 rushing yards in 1969.  The back of this card describes him as “the most spectacular little man who’s playing regularly in pro football today”.  Um… OK.  I’m 5’8″ and I’m not sure how I’d react to being called a “spectacular little man”.

It *is* interesting that the photographer captured him from a low angle, though.

Dick Post – no, he’s not related to Dick Pole or Lance Johnson – also had a cartoon that I liked.

Hope Everyone’s Having A (Topps) Super Weekend!

The oversized Topps Super cards from 1970 and 1971 were on my shopping list the last time I went to a show, and also during a couple of COMC shopping sprees. I love oversized cards, and these can be found cheap, especially if condition isn’t a major concern.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Topps Super cards, these cards were issued in 1970 (baseball and football) and 1971 (just baseball). They are 3.125″ x 5.25″ in size and as thick as several baseball cards.

One of my favorite recent Supers is a well-loved 1971 Tom Seaver I got. The card has a bit of damage on the front, but it ain’t no big thang. The backs, as you can see below, are very similar to the regular Topps cards of the same year.
1971 Topps Super Tom Seaver
1971 Topps Super Tom Seaver back

This Rusty Staub is from 1971; Rusty is one of the players who made it into both Super sets.
1971 Topps Super Rusty Staub
Rusty played in 2,951 games in his career. The only players to play more games and not be in the HOF are Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Omar Vizquel.

This Reggie Smith, also from 1971, was just over a buck; I couldn’t say “no” to that!
1971 Topps Super Reggie smith
Reggie is an often-overlooked player from that era;  he was a 7-time All-Star, won a gold glove and played in four World Series…  100 RBI in 1974… .489 career slugging percentage… I could go on, but you get the idea.

1970 Tommie Agee
1970 Topps Super Tommy Agee
Tommie was a 1969 Miracle Met, and that’s all the introduction he needs in my book. He was also the 1966 A.L. Rookie Of The Year, two-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove.

This last card was the first 1970 Topps Super Football card I’d bought intentionally. My other 5 cards were unexpected surprises in a box of cards I bought last year, a box I called “The Unholy Mess”. I wrote about those 5 cards here.
1970 Topps Super Football Tom Woodeshick
When I saw the jersey worn by Tom Woodeshick, I thought he played for the Jets, but it turned out he was a Philadelphia Eagle. I don’t remember the Eagles having those “UCLA stripes” on their jersey, but I was just a wee little Shlabotnik in 1969 when this photo was likely taken.

Woodeshick played 10 years in the NFL and is in the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame, but what really caught my attention was the fact that he had an uncredited appearance in the movie M*A*S*H as a football player for the 325th Evac.

According to IMDB.com, there are a lot of uncredited football players in that movie, including two other guys I have on 1970 Topps Supers:

Johnny Unitas…
1970 Topps Super Football Johnny Unitas

…and Fran Tarkenton…
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton

Someone with a better vintage football collection than I could make a really interesting post about the professional football players who were in M*A*S*H.


The full cast list, including uncredited football players, can be found on IMDB here.


Cards From “The Unholy Mess”, Part 3: Love At First Sight

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…
Unholy Mess_0003
…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”…

…And then…

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.
1970 Topps Super Football 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.
1970 Topps Super Football Fran Tarkenton back

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.
1970 Topps Super Football Dick Butkus

Lance Alworth, a wide receiver, was the first AFL player to get into the Hall.
1970 Topps Super Football Lance Alworth

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.
1970 Topps Super Football Tommy Nobis

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.
1970 Topps Super Football Johnny Unitas

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.