Monday, December 3, 2012

My '55-style card honors Tommy Lee Jones' college football career

It has been several months since I added a custom card to my 1955 Topps All-American-style set. The latest is Tommy Lee Jones.

It was only in recent years that I discovered that Jones had played college football at Harvard. And, while suitable photos are readily available, I just hadn't given the card a high priority. Perhaps the impetus to finally create the card came from Jones' appearance in the current Lincoln movie.

I've enjoyed Jones in many roles over the years, none more so than his portrayal of Texas Rangers Capt. Woodrow Call in the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove. Jones has shown the great range that I use as my benchmark for considering a person a great actor.

You can google-search TLJ all day, so I won't rehash his biography here. I'll just share a few of the highlights that I found especially interesting.

Jones was an offensive lineman on the Harvard varsity teams of 1967-68. In 1968 he played in what many consider to be the most famous game in Ivy League history, "The Tie." 

Both teams were 8-0 when Yale visited on Nov. 23. The Bulldogs held a 13-point lead in the last minute of the game when Harvard scored two touchdowns in the final 42 seconds for a tie. The student paper, the Harvard Crimson, headlined its story "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29".

At Harvard, Jones was a roommate of future vice president Al Gore. Their pal Erich Segal later claimed that elements of both Jones and Gore went into the character of Oliver in his novel, Love Story. One of Jones' first movie appearances was a small part in the 1970 movie adaptation of Segal's book.

While I imagine his active participation has slowed a bit now that he is in his late 60s, Jones was a serious polo player and has gifted Harvard's polo team with a number of ponies and annually hosts a "spring training" for the squad at one of his Texas ranches.

Now that I am in my winter quarters in Western Pennsylvania, I hope to be able to spend more time on custom card projects that have been back-logged.

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