Wednesday 11 January 2017

COMC Black Friday: Part Three - Hall of Fame players

Every year, my sister gets me a Page-A-Day calendar for Christmas, usually sports related, but sometimes trivia instead. Today, I tore off the new page to see a picture of a Browns player tackling a Bronco. I was happy for a second, and then I realized what it must be. Sure enough, it was one of the "Who? What? When? Where?" pages (or something like that), and painfully it hit me that today is the 30th Anniversary of "The Drive". And people wonder why I hate John Elway...

Everyone knows that this last season was another lost season for the Browns, joining most of the seasons since they came back in 1999. (Their record since 1999 is 88-200.) Well, what you may not realize is that with the 1-15 record this year, the Browns all-time regular season record in the NFL slipped below the .500 mark. (Their all-time record is now 462-466-10.)

Finally slipping below the .500 mark after being 112 games under during the last 18 seasons is a credit to just how dominant the early Browns teams were to build that cushion for the franchise's record.

To go along with yesterdays card of Mike McCormack, here are recent cards of some of their Hall of Fame players that I picked up with my Black Friday shipment.

First we'll start with some cards that were shared by multiple Browns.

Top: 2005 Donruss Classics - Timeless Triples Bronze #TT-3 (#/1000)
Middle (l-r): 2008 Donruss Classics - Classic Combos #CC-6 (#/1000); Classic Combos Silver Holofoil #CC-6 (#/250)
Bottom (l-r): 2009 Donruss Classics - Classic Triples #7; Classic Triples Gold #7 (#/100)

By order of appearance on these cards, here are the years that these players were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Jim Brown - 1971
Paul Warfield - 1983
Leroy Kelly - 1994
Lou Groza - 1974
Marion Motley - 1968

You'll see a few different variations and parallels in this post.

For the bottom two 2009 cards, it took a while to figure out how these cards were "Gold" other than by the serial number on the back. If you look at the border around the photos of the players, it is white in the base card, and gold in the other one. Very easy to miss, and that is why I'm happy for serial numbers that differentiate the two of them.

Looking at cards showing just the one individual player, I only picked up two new cards of the great Jim Brown.

L-R: 1981 TCMA Greats NNO Variant; 1985-88 Football Immortals #18

I already owned the numbered version (#8) of the TCMA card, but found and bought this unnumbered variant on COMC many months ago. Here is the back to the unnumbered variant.

After Jim Browns suddenly retired due to Art Modell's pressure to return to training camp from filming "The Dirty Dozen", on which filming was delayed due to bad weather, the new Browns starting running back became Leroy Kelly.

Left: 2004 Donruss Classics #127 (#/2000)
Middle: 2005 Donruss Gridiron Gear - Performers Silver Holofoil #P-33 (#/250)
Right: 2005 Leaf Limited #130 (#/599)
Kelly led the league in rushing twice, in 1967 and 1968, and also led the league in rushing TDs in three straight seasons, from 1966-68.

2005 Leaf Rookies & Stars - Great American Heroes #GAH-18
Top: Red (#/1250); Middle: White (#/750); Bottom: Blue (#/250)
There are still Jersey and Autograph cards to look for to complete Leroy Kelly's Great American Heroes set.

Top: 2008 Donruss Classics - Classic Singles Silver Holofoil #CS-26 (#/250)
Middle: 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear - Performers #P-29 (#/500)
Bottom: 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear - Performers Platinum #P-29 (#/25)
I still find cards numbered to 25 or less to be special. I managed to pick up a few with this purchase.

Top (l-r): 2008 Leaf Limited - Silver Spotlight #158 (#/99); 2010 Panini Limited - Silver Spotlight #138 (#/50)
Bottom: 2010 Panini Crown Royale - Majestic #23
L-R: 2010 Playoff National Treasures #163 (#/99); Century Silver #163 (#/25)
L-R: 2011 Panini Prime Signatures - Prime Proof Red #111 (#/99); Prime Proof Green #111 (#/25)
2012 Panini National Treasures - Century Silver #165 (#/25)

Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly followed another Hall of Fame running back with the Browns, Marion Motley.

Marion Motley played on the US Navy team in 1944, coached by Paul Brown. After the war ended, he was invited to try out for Paul Brown's new team in the AAFC. He led the AAFC in rushing in 1948, and is the all-time leading rusher in AAFC history. When the Browns joined the NFL in 1950, Motley led the NFL in rushing that year.

In 1946, Marion Motley, along with teammate Bill Willis in the AAFC, and Los Angeles Rams players Kenny Washington and Woody Strode in the NFL, broke the color barrier in professional football.

Top: 2007 Playoff National Treasures #96 (#/100)
Bottom: 2007 Playoff National Treasures - Silver #96 (#/25)
Top: 2009 Donruss Classics #132 (#/999)
Bottom: 2008 Donruss Classics - Classic Triples Silver Holofoil #CT-7 (#/250)
Yeah, I know, the bottom card is multi-player, but the others are not Browns so I included it with Motley's individual cards.

To give credit to the other Hall of Famers on the card, Chuck Bednarik was a Philadelphia Eagle from 1949-1962. He was the last "60-Minute-Man" that played both Offense and Defense on a regular basis. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967, his first year of eligibility.

Dick "Night Train" Lane starred for the Los Angeles Rams (1952-53), Chicago Cardinals (1954-59), and the Detroit Lions (1960-65). He still holds the single-season record with 14 interceptions which he achieved in his rookie season in 1952. A ferocious tackler, he was named to the Hall of Fame in 1974.

Moving on to the next Hall of Fame cards from this order, we come to Dante "Gluefingers" Lavelli, who signed the autographed mini-helmet that I picked up at Christmas in Phoenix.

Top: 2007 Leaf Limited #117 (#/249)
Middle: 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear - Performers #P-6 (#/500)
Bottom: 2010 Panini Crown Royale - Majestic #8

Lavelli had a 11-year career with the Browns from 1946-56, in both the AAFC and NFL and was named to the Hall of Fame in 1975. He had a fascinating life that I will have to try and detail in a future post.

L-R: 2010 Panini Threads - Gridiron Kings Framed Blue #24 (#/50); Framed Green #24 (#/25)
I really like these framed cards, but I'm curious as to whether there are any other Lavelli pictures out there that could be used.

The next Hall of Fame player had two stints with the Browns, beginning as a rookie on the Browns last Championship team in 1964, and playing with them until being traded to the Dolphins before the 1970 season. He then returned to Cleveland for his final two NFL seasons in 1976 and 1977.

Top: 2000 Quantum Leaf - All-Millenium Team #AMT-PW (#/1000)
Bottom: 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game - Green/Red #54 (#/500)
Top (l-r): 2004 Leaf Limited #136 (#/799); 2004 Playoff Prime Signatures #25 (#/999)
Bottom (l-r): 2005 Leaf Limited #137 (#/599); 2005 Upper Deck Legends #177 (#/1025)
Unlike Lavelli's cards, it is nice to see that they have a variety of Warfield photos to use.

2006 Donruss Elite
Top: Passing the Torch Blue #PT-4 (#/250)
Middle: Passing the Torch Green #PT-4 (#/500)
Bottom: Passing the Torch Green #PT-22 (#/500)
The Passing the Torch insert set comes in blue, green, red and autographed cards. There are two players for each team in the set, a veteran and a young player that he is passing the torch on to. They each have one individual card in the set, and then they have one card where each player is on one side. This is what the bottom card is, with Paul Warfield on the back, and Braylon Edwards on the front. A future Black Friday post will show one of the Braylon Edwards cards from this insert set.

Left: 2007 Playoff Contenders - Legendary Contenders #LC-14 (#/1000)
Middle: 2008 Leaf Limited - Team Trademarks Holofoil #T-33 (#/100)
Bottom: 2010 Panini Crown Royale - Living Legends #21
Top: 2011 Panini Gold Standard #122 (#/299)
Bottom: 2011 Panini Gold Standard - Golden Age #7 (#/299)
Left: 2014 Panini National Treasures #126 (#/99)
Middle: 2014 Panini Prizm - Red, White and Blue Prizm #103
Right: 2015 Panini Prizm - Prizm #42 

Although they aren't vintage, I am very happy to add all of these cards of past Browns legends into my collection.

1 comment:

  1. Cool stuff. I've never seen any of these sets before. I think what impressed me most is that guys from the 40s are getting cards. In my sports the historical sets usually stop in the 1980s with a couple of players from the 70s or 60s.