Saturday, June 7, 2014

Washington Redskins

Here are the 1968 Redskins. Somehow, I had none of these cards back in 1968 except for Chris Hanburger. (I had no series #2 cards back then, but I also missed 4 of the 5 'Skins in series #1.)

The Redskins finished 3rd (out of 4) in their division in 1967 with a record of 5-6-3. In 1968, they would finish 3rd again, while their record dropped to 5-9.


Sonny Jurgensen broke in with the Eagles in 1957. After riding the bench for the entire 1958-60 seasons (behind the newly-acquired Norm Van Brocklin), Jurgy took over the starting job in 1961, making the Pro Bowl and leading the league in TDs and completions that season. After 2 more years in Philly, he was traded to the Redskins for Norm Snead, and was Washington's starting QB from 1964-70, making the Pro Bowl 4 more times. He finished his career as a backup to Bill Kilmer from 1971-74.


Bobby Mitchell began his career with the Cleveland Browns, and was their starting halfback and kick returner from 1958 to 1961. He moved on to the Redskins in 1962 and became their starting flanker. Bobby led the NL with 72 catches and 1384 receiving yards in 1962. He also led the league with 1436 yards in 1963 and 10 TDs in 1964. After 6 seasons as the starting flanker, he finished his career as a backup in 1968.


Charley Taylor was the Redskins' #1 pick (3rd overall) in the 1964 draft. He had a 13-year career, all as a starter for the Redskins. After playing halfback for his first 2 seasons, he switched to split end (opposite Mitchell) and led the NFL with 72 receptions in 1966 and 70 in 1967. Taylor made the Pro Bowl in his first 4 seasons, and then in 4 consecutive years late in his career. After missing the 1976 season, he finished his career in 1977. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.


Jerry Smith was drafted in the 9th round by by the Redskins, and played his entire 13-year career with Washington. [Back in the day, I knew that Mike Ditka and John Mackey were the premier tight ends, but in recent years, I've learned that others like Jerry Smith, Jackie Smith, and Dave Parks were excellent ends as well.] Smith was a starter in all but his rookie season, and his final 2 seasons. In 1968 he played flanker, replacing the veteran Bobby Mitchell. Jerry was a 2-time Pro Bowler.


Pat Richter was the Redskins' 1st-round pick in 1963, and oddly enough was their punter in his first 5 seasons. He was also the starting split end in '63 and '65, but took a seat on the bench, once Taylor switched positions in 1966. Richter was the starting tight end in 1968 (the one season Jerry Smith played flanker). Pat wrapped up his 8-year career (all with the Redskins) in 1968.


Here's offensive tackle Jim Snowden, in a typical receiver's pose. He was drafted in 1964 (as a future?) and was a starting tackle for his entire career (1965-71).


Carl Kammerer was drafted by the 49ers in 1960. After 2 seasons as a linebacker there (1961-62), he joined the Redskins in 1963 as their starting midddle linebacker. He was their starting right defensive end in his final 5 seasons (1965-69).


Chris Hanburger played his entire 14-year career (1965-78) with the Redskins. He was their starting right linebacker every season except his rookie year and his next-to-last season. This 9-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.


Paul Krause was Washington's 2nd-round pick in 1964 and made an immediate impact, leading the NFL with 12 interceptions. After 4 seasons with the Redskins, Krause was traded to the Vikings, where he continued his stellar play, becoming known as "The Interceptor". He played in 4 Super Bowls, made 8 Pro Bowls, and finished his career with 81 interceptions. Krause was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.


Also check out the 1972 Redskins.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Detroit Lions

Here are the 1968 Detroit Lions. This is going to be a short post, because although in the Topps 1968 set, the NFL teams received 9 cards (and the AFL teams received 8 cards), the Lions only got 6 cards. Three other players (QB Milt Plum, RB Tommy Watkins, and WR Pat Studstill) appear in Lions' jerseys with cards labelled as Los Angeles Rams. Obviously, they were traded to the Rams just before the set was finalized. As a result, the Rams have 12 cards in this set.

I had 2 of these 6 cards in 1968 (Ron Kramer, Alex Karras), which I helpfully elaborated on their positions with a pen.


The Lions were coming off their 3rd straight losing season in 1967, and would make it a 4th in 1968. They made some progress at QB though, as one of the players received from the Rams in the above-mentioned trade was Bill Munson, who had shared the starting QB job in LA with Roman Gabriel, and would start for the Lions in '68, '69, '70, '73, and '74.


Karl Sweetan was an 18th-round pick in 1965, and started 8 games for the Lions in each of 1966 and 1967. In 1968 he played for the Saints (starting 3 games), and played for the Rams in 1969 and 1970.


Tom Nowatzke was the Lions' #1 pick in 1965, and played for the Lions from 1965-69. He was the team's starting fullback in 1966. Tom also played for the Colts from 1970-72, mostly as a fullback, although he played some linebacker in 1971.


Jim Gibbons played for 11 years (1958-68), all with the Lions. He was Detroit's starting tight end for his first 7 seasons. In 1965, he and the newly-acquired Ron Kramer each started 7 games. Gibbons became the backup TE for his last 3 seasons. He was a 3-time Pro Bowler.


Ron Kramer was the Packers' #1 pick in the 1957 draft. He played 3 seasons as a backup (missing the '58 season), then became the Pack's starting tight end from 1961 through 1964. He also made the Pro Bowl in 1962. Traded to the Lions after 1964, Ron split the starting TE job with Jim Gibbons in 1965, then was the regular TE in his final 2 seasons (1966-67).


Alex Karras was the Lions' #1 pick in 1958, and was the team's starting left defensive tackle for his entire career (1958-70), except for the 1963 season, when he and Packers' halfback Paul Hornung were suspended for gambling. Karras never missed a game, except for his 1963 suspension, and 1 game in his final season. He was a Pro Bowl selection from 1960-62 and in 1965.

After his playing career, he appeared in movies and TV, including "Blazing Saddles" and the sitcom "Webster". Karras passed away in October 2012 at age 77.


Wayne Walker was drafted by the Lions in 1958, and played his entire 15-year career (1958-72) with the Lions. He was the team's starting right linebacker in all but his first 2 seasons, and was also the kicker from 1962-68. Walker made the Pro Bowl from 1963-65.


Also check out the 1967 Lions.

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