Category Archives: VJP Legends

A look at some of the greatest athletes in sports and their classic trading cards.

Randy Johnson (1989 – Topps #647)

Randall David “Randy” Johnson (the Big Unit) was a tall left-handed pitcher, who pitched for 6 teams (mostly for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks) during his 22-year MLB career. With Seattle he was a 5 time All-Star, as well as an AL Cy Young winner (1995). At Arizona he won 4 consecutive NL Cy Young Awards, (1999 – ’02), was the MVP of the 2001 World Series Champion Diamondbacks, and a Triple Crown winner (most wins, strike outs, and lowest ERA) in 2002. He also was a 5 time NL All-Star. He pitched a no-hitter for Seattle (1990) and a perfect game (2004) for the Diamondbacks. He is second, only to Nolan Ryan, in Career Strikeouts with 4,875 to 5,714. Randy Johnson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2015.

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Charles Barkley (1988 -Fleer #129)

Charles Wade Barkley “The Round Mound of Rebound” was the most dominating Power Forward of his time (1984 – ’92, Philadelphia; 1992 – ’96, Phoenix; 1996 – ‘00, Houston). Before becoming the 1st Round pick in the 1984 NBA Draft by the 76ers, he was the SEC Player of the Year at Auburn University. Among his many awards, he was an 11-time NBA All-Star, and the game’s MVP in 1991. He was the NBA’s MVP in 1993 during the Michael Jordan era, and his uniform number (#34) was retired by both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns. Charles Barkley was also voted to the NBA’s 50th anniversary All-Time Team. He was a member of 2 Olympic Championship Teams (Barcelona and Atlanta) and he is a member of both the NBA Hall Of Fame and the College Hall Of Fame (Auburn).

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Kobe Bryant (1996 – Fleer Metal #3/15)

Kobe Bean Bryant (The Black Mamba) was the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft (right out of high school) by Charlotte, but spent his entire 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.  His records and accolades are too numerous to list here, but inluded 18 times an NBA All-Star (2008 MVP), a 5-time member of an NBA Championship Team (2-time Finals MVP, 2009 and 2010), a 2-time NBA scoring champion (2006 – ’07), and the Los Angeles Lakers all-time leading scorer.  He was also a member of the All-Star Team that won the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Olympic Games. He was as close to Michael Jordan (the NBA’s greatest player), as a player, as was humanly possible.  All the honors and accolades are not in yet, as he only retired in 2016.

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Nolan Ryan (1987 – Topps #757)

Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. (The Ryan Express) was a major league pitcher, brought up by the New York Mets (1966, ’68 – ’71) and eventually ended up pitching for the California Angels (1972 –’79), the Houston Astros  (1980 – ’88) and the Texas Rangers (1989 – ’93) during his record 27 year career. During those 27 years, he threw a major league record 7 no-hitters, and still leads the major league in Strikeouts with a total of 5,714 Ks.  He was a member of the 1969 World Series Champion “Miracle Mets”, although he played little.  In California, however, he came into his own and was a 5-time American League All-Star and led the League in strikeouts 7 times.  He also threw 4 no-hitters for the Angels and his uniform number (#30) was retired there.  In Houston, he was a 2 time All-Star and Strikeout King and also led the N.L. in ERA 2 times.  He Threw his 5th no-hitter in Houston (a record) and his uniform number (he wore #34 in Houston and Texas) has been retired by the Astros. With the Texas Rangers, he was an All-Star (1989), 2-time Strikeout King and pitched his 6th and 7th no-hitters. His uniform number (#34) was retired by the Rangers.  He retired in 1993 at the age of 46 and is, presently, (as of 2/23/2016) executive advisor to the owner of the Houston Astros.nolan ryan full big

Bob St. Clair (1955 – Bowman #101)

Robert Bruce “The Geek” St. Clair was a 6’9” Offensive Tackle who had the luxury of playing his whole career in his home city of San Francisco (1953 – ’63) for the 49ers.  He was a member of 9 AFL All- Pro teams as well as The ‘50s NFL All-Decade Team.  St. Clair’s uniform number (#79) was retired by the 49ers, and in 1990, Bob was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. He was born too soon for the NFL (the two leagues merged in 1970) and died, recently (2015), at the age of 84.

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Bill George (1956 – Topps #47)

William J. (Bill) George was one of the most feared Middle Linebackers in Chicago Bears history (1952 – ’65), followed (in time) by Dick Butkus.  He was drafted by the Bears in the 2nd round of the 1951 NFL draft. He also played, fot a short time, for the Los Angeles Rams (1966).  Bill George was voted to the Pro-Bowl for 8 consecutive years, starting in 1954, and was a member of 1 NFL Championship Team (1963). He was also a member of the 1950’s All-Decade Team, and his uniform number (#61) has been retired by the Chicago Bears.  Bill George was inducted into the Football Hall Of Fame in 1974.  He died in an automobile accident in 1984.  He was 52 years old.bill george full big

Joe Black (1955 – Topps # 156)

Joseph Black was a Pitcher who was called up to the Major Leagues by the Brooklyn Dodgers (1952 – ’55) when he was 28 years of age. He was traded to the Cincinatti Redlegs (1955 & ’56) and from there was traded to the Washington Senators (1957).  With the Dodgers, he was the Rookie of the Year in 1952 and he was the first black Pitcher to win a World Series game, also in ’52.  He was a member of  2 National League championships. He also is the recipient of an Award named for him (the Arizona Fall League MVP, known as the Joe Black Award).  Joe Black died of Prostate Cancer in 2002 at the age of 78.

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Pete Maravich (2013 – Prizm #202)

Peter Press (Pistol Pete) Maravich was a three time All-American at Louisiana State University (LSU) and averaged 44.2 points per game (before the 3-point line was instituted in College Basketball) for his career at LSU before playing for 11 years in the NBA.  He played for 3 teams: the Atlanta Hawks (1970 – ’74), the New Orleans/Utah Jazz (1974 – ’80) and the Boston Celtics for less than a year (1980).  Pistol Pete led the NBA in scoring in 1977 with the Jazz and was a 2-time 1st Team All-NBA (1976 and ’77).  He was also voted to the NBA’s All-Time Team and his uniform number (#7) was retired in Utah AND New Orleans, as well as his #23 at LSU.  With Atlanta, he was named to the All-Rookie first team in 1971.  Pete Maravich was the youngest player ever to be inducted into the Naismith National  Hall Of Fame. He averaged 24.2 points per game over his career in the NBA.  An injury (knee problems) kept him from playing beyond the 1980 season.  Pistol Pete Maravich died of a heart attack in 1988.  He was only 40 years old!  He was, truly, one of the “Greats” in NBA history!

Pete Maravich 2013 Prizm #202

Emlen Tunnell (1954 – Bowman #53)

Emlen Lewis Tunnell was the first black player ever elected to Football’s Hall Of Fame in 1967.  He played Defensive Back for both the New York Giants (1948 – ’58) and the Green Bay Packers (1959 – ’61). During his New York stay he was an 8 time All-Pro selection and a member of a NFL Championship Team (1956).  He also was voted to the 50’s All-Decade Team. With Green Bay he was a member of a NFL Championship Team (1961).  Em Tunnell was voted to the NFLs 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Emlen Tunnel 1953 Bowman #53

Ozzie Guillen (1987 – Topps #89)

Oswaldo Jose “Ozzie” Guillen Barrios was a Venezuelan Shortstop (mostly for the Chicago White Sox,  1985 – ‘97),  before Managing the White Sox (2004 – ’11) to their 2005 World Series title.  He also spent the latter years of his 16 season career with the Orioles, Braves and Devil Rays. With the White Sox, as a player, he was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1985 and a 3-time All-Star. ‘Ozzie’ was AL Manager of the Year in the 2005 championship year.  He often spoke so fast you couldn’t understand a word he said, but he was, obviously, a good Manager. (Currently 12 years managing) In 2012 he moved south to become Manager of the Miami Marlins.

Ozzie Guillen 1987 Topps #89

Jim Ringo (1955 – Bowman #70)

James Stephen ‘Jim’ Ringo was an NFL Center for 2 teams (most notably the Green Bay Packers, 1953-‘63) for 15 years.   Though he ended his career with the Philadelphia Eagles (1964-’67), he was a consumate part of 2 NFL Championship Teams in Green Bay and will always be thought of as a Packer.  While at Green Bay he was a 6 time 1st team All-Pro, and was voted to the 60s All-Decade team.  Jim was also a member of the 2, aformentioned, NFLChampionship Teams (1961 and 1962).  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1981.  When his playing days were over, he went on to coach at many different venues within the NFL  He died in 2007 at the age of 75.

Jim Ringo 1955 Bowman #70

Art Donovan (1957 – Topps #65)

Arthur James “Bulldog” Donovan was an NFL Defensive Tackle for 12 yars for 3 different teams (mostly the Baltimore Colts 1950, 1952 – ’61).  After the NFL moved the  AFL Dallas Texan franchise to Baltimore, he became a  “new” Baltimore Colt. With the Colts he was an All-Pro 4 years, and twice was a member of an NFL Championship Team (1958 & ‘59).  Art Donovan was voted to the 50’s All-Decade Team as well as the NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, and his uniform number (#70) has been retired by the Colts.  He became a member of the NFL Hall Of Fame with his induction in 1968.  As a U.S. Marine, he fought in WWII at Luzan and Iwo Jima. Art played in the ‘Greatest game ever played’, the ’58 Championship NFL game, which was the first overtime game in NFL history, and once played an entire game with a broken leg. He died in 2013 at the age of 89. He was, indeed, one of the greatest NFL players and very tough and entertaining!

Art Donovan 1957 Topps #65

Sandy Amoros (1955 – Topps #75)

Edmundo “Sandy” Amoros Isasi was a left-handed outfielder  who played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1952 – ’60) and, ended his 9 year career with the Detroit Tigers (1960).  He is best known for his play in  the 1955 World Series, when, as a defesive replacement in left field for the right handed throwing Jim Gilliam, he took a double away from Yogi Berra (which Gilliam couldn’t have gotten to, being a right hander) and doubled up Gil McDougal, who had been on First Base.  The Dodgers went to win the game and the Series with the Yankees. I first saw “Sandy” as a member of the Montreal Royals (and Jackie Robinson, plus many more eventual Major Leaguers) in Rochester (NY), an International League (at the time) city and home of the Rochester Red Wings. I remember being impressed with Sandy’s speed.  After baseball, he developed a feud with (then) President Fidel Castro by his refusing to manage the Cuban National Team.  Amoros died at the age of 62, of pneumonia, in 1992.

Sandy Amoros 1955 Topps #75

Dennis Rodman (1988 – Fleer #43)

Dennis  (The Worm) Rodman was a small forward (who became a Power Forward) for 15 years in the NBA with 5 different teams (most notably the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls). In Detroit he was a 2-time Champion (with the Bad Boys) and a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year (1990-’91), along with being voted to the All-Defensive First Team for 5 consecutive years starting in 1989, and the All-Star Team (1990 & ’92). His uniform number (#10) has been retired by the Pistons. With the Bulls he was a 3 time NBA Champion (with Michael Jordan) and a 4-time NBA Rebounding Champion . He was married briefly to Carmen Electra, had a on month affair with Madonna and once wore a wedding dress and rode a “Harley” to a book promotion. He would, occasionally, dye his hair a different color (green or red) to fit his mood. Dennis Rodman was sure entertaining (at least to me) .

Dennis Rodman 1988 Fleer #43

Kirby Puckett (1987 – Topps #450)

Anthony Kirby Puckett was drafted 3rd overall and played for the Minnesota Twins during his entire 12 year M.L. career (1984 – ’95). He was a 10 time All- Star and MVP of the 1993 game. He was a member of 2 separate World Series Championship Teams (1987, 1991).  He also won a total of 6 Gold Glove Awards for his work in Center Field and 6 Silver Slugger Awards for his prowess at the plate.  Kirby was the A.L. batting leader in 1989 and he led the League in RBI in 1994. His uniform number (#34) was retired by the Twins and Kirby Puckett was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2001.  He died (the official cause was a stroke) in 2006 at the age of only 45.

Kirby Puckett 1987 Topps #450

Greg Maddux (1988 – Topps #361)

Gregory Alan “Mad Dog” Maddux, drafted in the 2nd Round of the 1984 ML Draft by the Chicago Cubs, pitched most of his 22 year career for the Cubs (1986 – ’92,  2004 – 06) and the Atlanta Braves (1993 – ’03), with the last 2 years on the West Coast.  With the Cubs, he won his first Cy Young Award in 1992, then he signed as a free agent with Atlanta.  He won 3 more consecutive Cy Young Awards in a row with the Braves.  Maddux won a record 4 straight Cy Young Awards (1992 – ’95, matched, later, by Randy Johnson ) and he won a record total of 18 Gold Glove Awards. Also with Atlanta, he was a 5-time All-Star and a member of the Braves’ 1995 World Series Championship Team. Greg’s uniform number (#31) has been retired in both Chicago and Atlanta.  Greg Maddux was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2014, with 97.2 % of the vote.  I remember Maddux’s last (Cy Young) season in Chicago and wondering why the Cubs let him go to Atlanta!

Greg Maddux 1988 Topps #361

Steve McMichael (1987 – Topps #54)

Stephen Douglas “Mongo” McMichael was a Defensive Tackle at the University of Texas, and an All-American, before being chosen in the 3rd round of the 1980 Draft by the New England Patriots.  He was then signed by the Chicago Bears as a free agent, (1981 – ’93) and spent his last year in Green Bay.  While with the Bears, he was a 2 time Pro Bowl selection and an important part of the Chicago team that won the Super Bowl in 1985.  Steve McMichael was inducted into the  College Football Hall Of Fame in 2010.  After his 15 year NFL career he became a Professional Wrestler with the WCW (World Championship Wrestling).  Mongo McMichael went on to challenge the infamous ‘Nitro’ for the U.S. Title.

Steve McMichael 1987 Topps #54

Lawrence Taylor (1987 – Topps #26)

Lawrence Julius “L.T.” Taylor Was a NFL Linebacker who played his entire 13 year career for the New York Giants (1981 – ’93).  He was an All-American at the University of North Carolina before becoming the Giants’ 2nd  overall pick in the 1981 Draft.  He is considered by many (not me) to be the greatest defensive player to ever play in the NFL (I think Dick Butkus was the most feared and greatest defensive player ever to play in the NFL).  L.T. was the Associated press’ NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1981 and the consensus NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1986. He was also the sacks leader and the AP MVP in that same year. Lawrence was voted an All-Pro and played in the Pro Bowl for 10 consecutive years between 1981 and 1990. He was a member of 2 Super Bowl Championship Teams (XXI and XXV). He was voted to the 80’s All-Decade Team as well as the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.  His uniform number (#56) has been retired by the Giants.  Lawrence Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1999, his first year of eligibility.  He was credited with a total of 142 sacks and 33 forced fumbles during his career.

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Ryne Sandberg (1989 – Topps # 387)

Ryne Dee Sandberg (Ryno) was drafted by, and played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981, but played most of his 16 year career at 2nd Base for the Chicago Cubs.  With the Cubs, he was the N.L. MVP in 1984, and an All-Star 10 consecutive times (1984-1993).  He was also a 9-time Gold Glove Award winner for his defense and a 7-time Silver Slugger Award winner for his offense.  His uniform number (#23) was retired by the Chicago Cubs, and Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.  He is presently the Manager for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ryne Sandberg 1989 Topps # 387

Elroy Hirsch (1954 – Bowman #32)

Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsh played 4 sports in the same college year at the University of Michigan (Football, Basketball, Track, and Baseball) before being drafted 5th overall by the Chicago club, of the All American Football Conference (pre-NFL) in the 1945 Draft. He played for the Chicago Rockets (1946 – ’48) until the two leagues merged in 1949, when he became a Receiver for the Los Angeles Rams.  With the Rams he was an integral member of the 1951 NFL Championship Team and 3-time Pro Bowl selection.  He was also the NFL’s leader in Touchdowns in 1951. He was voted to the 50’s All-Decade Team as well as to the 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsh has been a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame (inducted in 1968) and the College Football Hall Of Fame since 1974. Crazylegs had 367 receptions, good for a total of 7,029 yards and 60 Touchdowns during his 9 year NFL career.

Elroy Hirsch 1954 Bowman #32

Karl Malone (1996 – Fleer #146)

Karl Anthony Malone, nick-named “the Mailman”, was drafted by and played Power Forward for the Utah Jazz (1985 – 2003) for the first 18 of his of his 19 year NBA career. He spent the last year playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a 2-time winner of the NBA’s MVP Award and a 14-time All Star (11 times voted to the All-NBA First Team). Malone is the all-time leading scorer of the Utah Jazz, and is a member of the 50th  Anniversary All-Time Team.  His uniform number (#32) has been retired by the Jazz.  He was an original member of the “Dream Team” that won the Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympics. His many accolades are too numerous to mention here.  A statue of  Karl Malone and of teammate John Stockton is located outside of ‘Energy Solutios Arena’, the home of the Utah Jazz.

Karl Malone 1996 Fleer #146

Reggie Miller (1992 – Topps #193)

Reginald Wayne “Reggie” Miller was a shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers for his entire 18 year NBA career.  He was 2nd in all-time scoring (behind only Kareem Abdul Jabbar) at UCLA, before being picked in the first round of the 1987 NBA Draft.  He was a five time All-Star with the Pacers and was their all-time leading scorer.  Reggie was the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 2002 and was a member of the Olympic Team that won a Gold Medal at the 1996 Alanta Games. I remember Reggie as the best shooter behind the 3-point line that I had ever seen. His uniform number (#31) has been retired by both the Pacers and UCLA.  Reggie Miller was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2012.

Reggie Miller 1992 Topps # 193

Keith Hernandez (1987 – Topps #350)

Keith Hernandez was a First Baseman who played almost all of his 17 year Major League career for the St. Louis Cardinals (1974 – ’83) and the New York  Mets (1983 – ’89), with a year in Cleveland (1990).  He won a record 11 consecutive Gold Glove Awards as a First Baseman (1978 – ’88).  With the Cardinals, he was a 2-time All-Star and a member of the 1982 World Series Championship Team.  He also was the N.L.’s MVP in 1979, (split between he and Willie Stargel, Pittsburgh) when he hit .344, winning the League’s batting title.  With the Mets,  he was a 3-time All-Star and a member of the Met’s 1986 World Series Championship Team.  After his Major League career, he appeared in 2 episodes of “Seinfeld” as himself.  He is, presently, 62 years old (as of 5/07/2015).

Keith Hernandez 1987 Topps #350

Patrick Ewing (1996 – Fleer #137)

Patrick Aloisius Ewing was a 3-time All-American at Georgetown University (1983 – ’85). He was drafted by the New York Knicks (first overall in the ’85 draft) for whom he played Center (1985 – 2000) for most of his 18 year career. He also played 1 year each for the Seattle Supersonics (2001) and the Orlando Magic (2002). With the Knicks, he was the 1986 Rookie of the Year and was an 11-time NBA All-Star.  While still in College, he was an original member of the Team that won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He also was a member of the 1992 “Dream Team” that won the Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games. Patrick was voted to the 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Patrick Ewing’s uniform number (#33) has been retired by the Knicks. He was a 2008 inductee into the Basketball Hall Of Fame and was an inductee into the College Hall in 2012. He retired as the Knicks All-Time Leading Scorer and All-Time Leader in games played.

Patrick Ewing 1996 Fleer #137

Roger Craig (1956 – Topps #63)

Roger Lee Craig was a right-handed pitcher who was originally  drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers,  played for them in Los Angeles, (1955 – ’61), but is best remembered by me as having lost 18 straight games for the ‘62-‘63 expansion New York Mets.  With the Dodgers he was a member of 2 World Series Championship Teams (1955 in Brooklyn & 1959 in Los Angeles).  He also was a member of the  1964 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  He ended his 12 year career with the Reds (1965) and Phillies (1966).  Roger, after his playing days were over, went on to Manage the San Diego Padres (1978  – ’79) and San Francisco Giants (1985 – 92). Roger Craig won his 4th World Series Title as a Pitching Coach for the Detroit Tigers in 1984.  He is, Presently, 85 years of age, as of 4/29/2015.

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Mike Singletary (1987 – Topps #58)

Michael “Samurai Mike” Singletary, after a productive career at Baylor University,  was the Chicago Bears 2nd round pick in the 1981 NFL Draft. He played Middle Linebacker, a position that had formerly been inhabited by the great Dick Butkus, Bronko Nagurski and “Bulldog” Turner. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler and 9 consecutive times he was voted to the All-NFL Team.  He was a 2-time AP Defensive Player of the Year (1985 & ’88)  and was a member of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl Championship Team.  “Samurai Mike” Singletary was inducted into the NFL Hall Of Fame in 1998 and the College Football Hall Of Fame.  After his 12 year career playing in the NFL, he went on to become a coach in Baltimore, San Francisco and Minnesota.Mike Singletary 1987 Topps #58

Moses Malone (1991 – Hoops #318)

Moses Eugene Malone, “The Chaiman of the Boards” was a Center/Power Forward in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).  Most of his time in the NBA was spent with the Houston Rockets (1976 – ’82) and the Philadelphia 76ers (1982 – ’86 and 1993, ’94), with a number of stops in between.  Out of High School, (he was one of the first to go to the Pros straight from High School) he was drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA  (1974 – ’75).  When the ABA-NBA merger took place in 1976, he was drafted by Portland and traded to the Buffalo Braves in time for the 1976 season.   After the fist week of the 1976 season, he was traded, again, from Buffalo to the Houston Rockets.  With the Rockets, he was a 5-time All-Star and the NBAs MVP in 1979.  He also was voted to the All-NBA First Team in ’79 and the Second Team All-Defense the same year.  With Philadelphia, he was a 5-time All-Star and 2-time MVP (1982 and  “83).  Moses was a member of the 1983 NBA Title Team (he was the Finals MVP) and was voted to the All-NBA First Team for both Offense and Defense that same year.  Moses Malone was chosen for the NBA’s 50th  Anniversary All-Time Team and his uniform number (#24) has been retired by the Houston Rockets. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame as a player.

Moses Malone 1991 Hoops # 318

Roosevelt Brown (1956 – Topps #41)

Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown was an Offensive Lineman in the NFL, playing his entire  career for the New York Giants (1953 – ’65).  He was drafted in the 27th round in 1953.   During his 13 year career he was voted to the Pro Bowl 9 times and was 6 times voted to the All-Pro First Team.  Rosey was a member of 50’s  NFL All-Decade Team, the 75th Anniversary Team, and the Giants’  1956 NFL Championship Team (before the advent of the Super Bowl). Roosevelt Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1975 and into the Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame (he went to Morgan State University before starting his Giants career) in 1979.   His career with the Giants was ended in 1965 with Rosey suffering from chronic Phlebitis.  He died in 2004 at the age of 71.

Roosevelt Brown 1956 Topps #41

Pat Summerall (1959 – Topps #41)

George Allen “Pat” Summerall was a Placekicker in the NFL for 10 years for 3 different teams.  The Detroit Lions drafted him in the 4th round of the 1952 draft.  The Lions traded him to the Chicago Cardinals (1953 – ’57), who traded him to the New York Giants (1958 – ’61).  He was best known, however, as a Sportscaster/Color Commentator for CBS, Fox, and ESPN, announcing Super Bowls – 16 in all, together with Golf (The Masters Tournament) and Tennis (The U. S. Open), among others.  Pat has been inducted into The American Sportscasters Association Hall Of Fame in 1999, and since 2006, an Award has been given, yearly, in his name to those who represent qualities most revered by Summerall at the “Legends of Charity” luncheon, Super Bowl weekend.  Honorees have included Jimmy Brown and Chris Berman.  Pat Summerall died in 2013 at the age of 82.

Pat Summerall 1959 Topps #41

Hal Newhouser (1955 – Topps #24)

Harold “Hal” Newhouser was signed by, and pitched for the Detroit Tigers (1939 – ’53).  He ended his 16 year Major League career with  the Cleveland Indians (1954 and ’55)  With Detroit, he was a 2-time A.L. MVP and a 7-time All-Star, consecutively between 1942 and ’48. He won the A.L. Triple Crown (most Srikeouts, wins, lowest E.R.A.) in 1945, and he was a member of a World Series Championship Team the same year (he won 2 games).  He lead the League in wins 4 times and twice in E.R.A. and Strikeouts.  His uniform number (#16) has been retired by the Tigers.  Hal Newhouser was inducted into Baseball’s Hall Of Fame in 1992 by the Veteran’s Committee.

Hal Newhouser 1955 Topps #24

Roy Sievers (1959 – Topps #465)

Roy Edward Sievers was a Major League First Baseman/Outfielder for 16 years.  Originally signed by the St. Louis Browns (1949 – ‘53).  He was traded to the Washington Senators (1954 – ’59) then to the Chicago White Sox (1960 – ’61), and then to the Philadelphia Phillies (1962 – ’64).  He finished his career with the expansion Senators in 1965.  He was the A. L. Rookie of the Year in 1949 and 5 times he made All-Star appearances (1 time with Chicago, 4 times with Washington).  Roy lead the League in Home Runs and RBI in 1957 with the Senators. During his career he hit a total of 318 Home Runs, and had 1,147 RBI.

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Richard Dent (1987 – Topps #56)

Richard Lamar Dent was a Defensive End in the NFL for 15 years with 4 Teams, primarily the Chicago Bears (1983 – ’93 and ’95).  With the Bears he had 124.5 Sacks (137.5 in all) and was the MVP of Super Bowl XX,  (1985) thought by many (incuding me) to be the most dominant all-around game ever played by an NFL Team.  He was a 4 time selection to the All Pro Team and played in 4 Pro Bowls Richard was also a member (although hurt most of season) of the 1994 Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers. He retired in 1997, after a year with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He also spent a year as a member of the Indianapolis Colts (1996).  Richard Dent was inducted into the Professional Football Hall Of Fame in 2011.

Richard Dent 1987 Topps #56

Milt Pappas (1958 – Topps #457)

Miltiades Stergios (“Milt” Pappas) Papastergios was signed by, and pitched for the Baltimore Orioles (1957 – ’65), before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds (1966 – ’68) in the deal that brought Frank Robinson to Baltimore.  He was then traded, midseason, to the Atlanta Braves (1968 – ’70) and finally to the Chicago Cubs (1970 – ’73) where he ended his 17 year career.  With the Orioles, he appeared in both 1962 All-Star games and was the starter in the 1965 All-Star game.  With Chicago, he pitched a no-hitter in 1972 (1 strike from a “Pertect Game” when he walked pinch hitter Larry Stahl on a conroversal call).  More recently with the Cubs, he sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch in yesterday’s game, to which my Son, Eli, (who suggests who I should post next) commented “I hope he pitched better than he sings.”  He did, sometimes. I was living in California at the time and never saw Milt pitch in person, but I certainly knew of him and pulled for the Cubs.   Pappas won a total of 209 games, while losing just 164 over his 17 year career, and had the distinction of never having a 20 win season.

Milt Pappas 1958 Topps #457

Preacher Roe (1954 – Topps #14)

Edwin Charles “Preacher” Roe was a left-handed pitcher who pitched in the Major Leagues for 3 different teams.  Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1938, he played 1 game for St. Louis before spending 5 years in the Cardinals’ minor league system.  He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates (1944 – ’47) and then to the Brooklyn Dodgers (1948 – ’54).  With the Dodgers, he was a 4-time All-Star and pitched the team to a 1-0 victory (the only game they won) over the New York Yankees in game 2 of the 1949 World Series.  Preacher retired in 1954 with a Major League record of 127 wins and 84 losses. He died in 2000 at the age of 92.

Preacher Roe 1954 Topps #14

Pete Pihos (1955 – Bowman #10)

Peter Louis Pihos was an All-American Defensive End at Indiana University before being chosen in the 5th round of the 1945 Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. I liked him because I liked saying his name!  Try it; Pete Pihos.  Pete was a 5-time All-Pro two-way End, and 6 consecutive times he went to the Pro Bowl (1950 – ’55).   He also was a member of 2 Championship Teams (1948 & ’49).  Pete Pihos was voted to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1970 (and the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1966). He rose to 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army (1944 – ’46), served under General George Patton, and was at the Normandy Invasion during WWII.  I never knew, Pete Pihos was ‘quite a guy’. I just liked the sound of his name. He died, at the age of 87,  from Alzheimer’s Disease, in 2011.

Pete Pihos 1955 Bowman #10

Walter Payton (1987 – Topps #46)

Walter Jerry Payton, “Sweetness”, was a running for the NFL Chicago Bears for his entire 13 year career. He was an All American at Jackson State University, in Mississippi, before starting his career as the Bears’ 1st pick in the 1975 NFL draft. During his time with the Bears, he was the NFLs MVP 3 times (1976, ’77 and ’85) and 2 of those years (1977 & ’85) was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.  His many records set would take up too much room here, but, to name a few; He was voted to the Pro Bowl 9 times and was an integral member of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, considered, by some, to be the greatest overall Team ever to play in the NFL. His uniform number (#34) has been retired by the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall Of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1996.  His motto was “Never Die Easy”, and he was known to never run out of bounds on purpose without first delivering a punishing blow to the man making the tackle. Walter Payton died of Bile Duct Cancer in 1999 at the age of only 45.

Walter Payton 1987 Topps #46

 

Michael Jordan(1994-Upper Deck #19)

Most people think of Michael Jordan as the best basketball player ever to play the game, buth e also was a baseball player! He played for the Chicago White Sox organization for a little over a year (he signed a minor league contract in February of 1994 with the Sox), went to Spring Training, and was assigned to the Birmingham Barons of the AA Southern League. In Birmingham, he hit .202, with 3 home runs and 51 RBI. I, obviously, never saw Jordan during his brief baseball career, but I and my Wife and Sons had the pleasure of watching him on the Basketball Court. He was sheer magic. Michael Jordan made his return to the Basketball world, from the world of baseball, in time for the 1995 playoffs with just 2 words; “I’m back.”

mj full big

Scottie Pippen (1988 – Fleer #20)

Scottie Pippen was my Son Joe’s favorite player of all time. I remember watching Scottie many times (mostly on TV, and once in a while in person). He always played “second banana” to Michael Jordan, but always gave his best effort while doing so. That is why he was so special to Joe and also to Me and Eli (my other Son).  Scottie Maurice Pippen, “Pip” was a Small Forward in the NBA for 17 years, most noticeably with the Chicago Bulls (1987 – ’98 and again 2003 – ’04). He also played for the Houston Rockets (1998 – ’99) who traded him, midseason, to the Portland Trailbazers (1999 – 2003). With the Bulls, he was an integral part of 6 NBA Championship Teams (2 three-peats). He was part of the “Dream Team” which won the Gold Medal at Barcelona in 1992 and won the Gold again in Atlanta with the 1996 Olympic Basketball Team, which lacked Michael Jordan (who was off playing baseball). He was voted to the All-NBA first team 3 times, and 7 times to the All-Star Team (he was the MVP in ’94). He also was an 8-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team and the NBA Steals Leader in 1995. His uniform number (#33) was retired by the Bulls and hung from the rafters at the United Center (the Bull’s home court) along with Jordan’s, Sloan’s, and Bob Love’s. Scottie Pippen was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2010. He scored 18,940 points during his career.

Scottie Pippen 1998 Fleer #20

Bob Lemon (1956 – Topps #225)

Robert Granville “Bob” Lemon was a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians for 18 years (1941 – ’58, with a 4 year interuption during WWII) and was a vital cog in a rotation that included Bob Feller, Mike Garcia and Early Wynn. As a player, he was a 7-time A.L. All-Star (consecutively, 1948 – ’54) and a Strikeout Champion (1950). He also led the League in Wins 3 times (1950, ’54 and ’55) and pitched a no-hitter in 1956. Bob was a member of a World Series Championship Team in 1948. He won another in 1978 as Manager of the New York Yankees. During his years with the Indians, he won a total of 207 games (losing just 128) and had 1,277 Strikeouts. Lemon’s uniform number (#21) was retired by the Indians. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1976.

Bob Lemon 1956 Topps #225

Walter Alston (1956 – Topps #8)

Walter Emmons Alston is best known as the Manager of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for 23 years (1954 – ’76). He never signed a contract for more than 1 year at a time. With the Dodgers he was a 4-time World Series Champion, one in Brooklyn (1955) and 3 in Los Angeles (1959, ’63 and ’65) and a 7-time N.L. Pennant winner. He was Manager of the Year on 6 occasions, and 7 times he lead the N. L. All-Stars to wins. Walter Alston’s uniform number (#24) has been retired by the Dodgers. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1983 by the Veterans Committee, and into the International League Hall of Fame in 2010.

Walter Alston 1956 Topps #8

Jerry West (2013 – Prizm #15)

Jerry Alan “Mr. Clutch” West was a 2-time All-Amertan at West Virginia U, before playing his entire 15 year NBA career (1960 – “74) for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the 2nd  overall pick in the 1960 Draft by the Minneapolis Lakers (soon to be relocated to Los Angeles). Jerry was a 14-time All-Star and 10 times he was voted to the All-NBA First Team. He was a League Scoring Champion, (1970) and 4 consecutive times was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team (1970 – ’73). He also was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team. Jerry West was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame as a player.  He went on to become coach of the Lakers (1976 – ’79) and then a general manager.

Jerry West 2013 Prizm #15

Ivan Lafyerasov (1988 – CCCP #100)

Ivan “The Sob” Lafyerasov was a Russian Basketball player who invented the 8’ basket so he, like the Pro’s, could dunk. It wasn’t very successful, however, since the basket height has been steadily at the current height of 10’. Lafyerasov is also credited with inventing the Free Throw Line at 8’ (instead of the currently held distance of 10’). He is also credited with inventing the “Short Pants Look” seen in Russia. His number (#100) was retired by the Russian Federation. Ivan “The Sob” Lafyerasov was inducted into the Siberian Hall of Fame in the year 2000.

Ivan Lafyerasov 1988 Fleer #100

Eddie Stanky (1953 – Bowman #49)

Edward Raymond Stanky, “The Brat”, was a 2nd Baseman for 5 different teams for 11 years (Chicago Cubs ’43 & ’44, Brooklyn Dodgers 1944 – ’47, Boston Braves ’48 & ’49, New York Giants ’50 & ’51, and finally St. Louis Cardinals ’52 & ’53, where became Player/Manager). With Brooklyn, Boston, and New York he was an N.L. All-Star and won N.L. Titles with each team. In Brooklyn, he was instrumental in the Jackie Robinson saga, being traded to allow Robinson to pursue his natural position (2B) and bat first, as both were previously held by Stanky. After his career as a player was over, he went on to become the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals (1952 – ’55, the first 2 years as Player/Manager), the Chicago White Sox (1966 – ’68) and the Texas Rangers (1977, one game only before retuning to his last job as Manager of U of South Alabama.) Eddie Stanky has been memorialized by having the ballpark at the U. of South Alabama named “Eddie Stanky Field”. He died in 1999 at the age of 82.

Eddie Stanky 1953 Bowman #49

Frank Gifford (1959 – Topps #20)

Francis Newton “Frank” Gifford was a Running Back/Wide Receiver in the NFL for the New York Giants (1952 – ’64), before becoming a well known Sportscaster on Radio and TV. With the Giants he was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection (was MVP in the 1958 Pro Bowl) and NFL MVP in 1956. He was a member of a League Championship Team (1956) and was the “Comeback Player of the Year”, as a Wide Receiver, in the NFL (1962). He ran for over 3,600 yards and made 367 Receptions in his 13 year Giants career. Frank Gifford was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, as well as the College Football Hall Of Fame (his Alma Mater was the Unversity of Southern California, where he was an All American) and his uniform number (#16) was retired by the Giants. After his Football career ended, Frank started a new one and was soon (1971) paired with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith on the “Monday Night Football” telecasts. From there he went on to broadcast many other events, including the Olympics, Golf and Wide World of Sports.

Frank Gifford 1959 Topps #20

Ken Boyer (1956 – Topps #125)

Kenton Lloyd Boyer was a 3rd Baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals (1955 – ’65). Towards the end of his 15 year career he also played for the New York Mets (1966 – ’67), the Chicago White Sox (1967 – ’68) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1968 – ’69). With St. Louis he was the N. L. MVP in 1964 and was a member of a World Series Championship Team that same year. He was voted to the N. L. All-Star Team 7 times and earned 5 Gold Glove Awards at his position. He also lead the League with 119 RBI in 1964. Ken Boyer’s uniform number (#14) was retired by the Cardinals and he was elected to the St. Louis Cardinal Hall Of Fame Museum in the inaugural year (2014). After his 15 year playing career, he managed the Cardinals from 1978 through part of the 1980 season. He died of cancer not long after, in 1982, at the age of just 51.

Ken Boyer 1956 Topps #125

Don Zimmer (1959 – Topps #287)

Donald William “Zim” or “Popeye” Zimmer was a Major League infielder, manager and coach for the better part of 65 years. As an infielder (mostly 3B), he played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1954 – ’59 and ’63), with intermittent stops in Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, and Washington. After his Major League career was over, he played for 1 year (1966) in Japan for the Toei Flyers of the Nipon Professional Baseball League. He came back to the States to become a coach for the Montreal Expos (1971), among others, too numerous to name. He managed the San Diego Padres (1972 – ’73), the Boston Red Sox (1976 – ’80), the Texas Rangers (1981 – ’82) and the Chicago Cubs (1988 – ’91) in between his many coaching jobs. Don Zimmer’s last job was as a “Senior Advisor” for the Tampa Bay Rays (2004 – ’14). During his long career, he was a player on 2 World Series Championship teams (Brooklyn 1955 and Los Angeles 1959), and then won 4 more Championships with the Yankees (1996, 1998 – 2000) as a coach. Zim wore a different uniform number every year to commemorate his “years in baseball”. Popeye’s last uniform number was 66. He died in 2014 at the age of 83.

Don Zimmer 1959 Topps #287

Frank Robinson (1957 -Topps #35)

Frank Robinson was an outfielder and manager for numerous teams during his career, but most of his playing days were spent with the Cincinnati Reds (1956 – ’65) and the Baltimore Orioles (1966 – ’71). He is the only man to win the MVP Award in the National League (1961) as well as the American League (1966). He was the N. L. Rookie of the Year in 1956 and a Gold Glove Award winner in 1958. Also in Cincinnati, he played in 9 All-Star games (there were 2 games in ’59 – ’62). In Baltimore, he won the Triple Crown (batting average, HRs and RBI) in 1966 and was a member of 2 World Series Championship Teams (1966, when he was MVP, and 1970). In Baltimore, he played in 5 All-Star games and was the MVP of the 1971 game. He spent his latter years (1972 – ’76) in Los Angeles, Aneheim and Cleveland. Frank became the first African American to manage in the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1975, when he was named Player/Manager. Robinson went on to manage the San Francisco Giants (1981 – ’84), the Baltimore Orioles (1988 – ’91) and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals (2002 – ’06). His uniform number (#20) has been by both the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1982 as a player.

Frank Robinson 1957 Topps #35

Cletis Boyer (1957 – Topps #121)

Cletis Leroy “Clete” Boyer was a Major League infielder (mostly at 3rd base) for 17 years with the Kansas City A’s (1955 – ’56), the New York Yankees (1957 – ’66) and the Atlanta Braves (1967 – ’71). After his playing day’s in the States were finished, he played for 4 years with the Taiyo Whales in Japan. With the Yankees, he was a member of 2 World Series Championship teams (1961 & ’62), and with the Braves, he won a Gold Glove Award (1969). He was part of the only Brother Duo ever to win a Golden Glove (his brother, Ken won it 5 times in St. Louis with the Cardinals). Clete Boyer was one of three brothers to play in the Major Leagues. Cloyd Boyer was a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, and his aforementioned brother Ken, were the other two.  Clete died, at the age of 70, in 2007.

Cletis Boyer 1957 Topps #121

Bob Buhl (1954 – Topps #210)

Robert Ray “Bob” Buhl was signed by and pitched mostly for the Milwaukee Braves (1953 – ’62) during his 15 year Major League career. He also spent time with the Chicago Cubs (1962 – ’66) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1966 – ’67). With Milwaukee, he was part of a pitching rotation that included Warren Spahn and Lou Burdette, considered to be one of the best in the Majors. He was an All-Star in 1960 (he played in 2 All-Star games that same year) and was a member of a World Series Championship Team (1957). Bob Buhl amassed a total of 166 Wins over his 15 year career in the Major Leagues. He died in 2001 at the age of 72.

Bob Buhl 1954 Topps #210

Lou Burdette (1958 – Topps #10)

Selva Lewis Burdette, Jr. was signed by the New York Yankees, but played most of his 18-year career with the Boston/Milwaukee Braves (1951 – ’63). With the Braves, he was part of a pitching rotation that included Warren Spahn and Bob Buhl, which was considered one of the best in the Major Leagues. Burdette was a two-time N. L. All-Star and also a World Series MVP in 1957. He pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Phillies and the California Angels the last 5 years of his career. Lou amassed 203 Wins in his career and lost 144 times.

Lou Burdette 1958 Topps #10