Monday 6 April 2020

RIP: Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell

I was saddened to see the news that Bobby Mitchell passed away at the age of 84. I was not alive to see him play but books, football cards and the internet taught me about him.

Throughout this post I'll show various Bobby Mitchell football cards in my collection. All images have been taken from the Trading Card Database, although I had originally contributed some of the scans.

1992 Sunoco Browns Hall of Fame #9

Bobby Mitchell was drafted by the Browns in the 7th Round of the 1958 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Browns, sharing the backfield with Jim Brown, and returning punts and kickoffs.

1959 Topps #140 - RC

Mitchell scored a touchdown in his first NFL game, a 4 yard pass reception from Milt Plum in the second quarter of a game in Los Angeles, against the Rams, on September 28, 1958. The Browns won 30-27, and Bobby Mitchell ran for 50 yards on 10 carries, while also catching 5 passes for 26 yards with the one touchdown.

Bobby Mitchell finished his rookie season with 500 yards rushing, with a 6.3 average per carry, and one touchdown. He also caught 16 passes for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns.

To go with those offensive stats, he also contributed as a returner on special teams. He averaged 11.8 yards on 14 punt returns, and 25.2 yards on 18 kickoff returns for the season.  A highlight came in Cleveland on November 23, 1958 against the Eagles, when he had touchdowns on a 98 yard kickoff return, and a 68 yard punt return.

1960 Topps #25

Hmm, that photo looks familiar.

In his four seasons with the Browns, Bobby Mitchell played in 50 games. He scored 38 touchdowns in those games, 16 rushing, 16 receiving, 3 punt returns, and 3 kickoff returns. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and 11.4 yards per reception, and made the Pro Bowl in 1960.

1961 Fleer #12
1961 Topps #70

After the 1961 season, Bobby Mitchell was traded to the Washington Redskins for their Heisman winning, number one pick of the 1962 NFL Draft, Ernie Davis.

1963 Topps #159

As you might notice with the position listed on this card, upon joining the Redskins, Bobby Mitchell was moved out of the backfield into a receiver position. He led the NFL in receiving yards his first two seasons with the Redskins.

1988 Swell Greats #84

In 1983, Bobby Mitchell was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was named as an inaugural member of the Browns Legends program that began in 2001.

When he retired, his 14,078 combined net yards was second in NFL history, behind his old teammate Jim Brown's 15,459 combined net yards.

To finish this post, I will show the Bobby Mitchell memorabilia card, and autograph card that I own.

2012 Panini Playbook - Fabled Fabrics #5 (SN/49)
1998 Ron Mix HOF Autographs - Platinum (SN/2500)

Rest in Peace, Bobby Mitchell.


  1. Mitchell was before my time as well... but I knew he was a hall of famer for the Redskins, because of a 1999 Sports Illustrated GOTG card I own. Rest in peace Mr. Mitchell.

  2. Where have you been, Angus? I thought maybe you got out of the hobby.