Monday, February 7, 2011

Uncommon commons: I'll trade you Les Richter for . . .

In 2006 I purchased a complete set of The Sporting News and The Sporting Life newspaper microfilms from 1886 through the early 1970s. I figured they would be a great source of entertainment when I eventually retired.

Over the years I had used the films to research feature articles and columns that appeared in SCD and Baseball Cards magazine. In that process I discovered that each issue of those venerable sports weeklies had many tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they helped bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figured that if I found those items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors, so from time to time I compiled my notes into columns that I called "Uncommon Commons."

I've decided to continue that tradition in this forum because a blog is tailor-made to host these short pieces and because it is easy to share images of some great old cards that may not be worth a lot of money, but that have an appeal to veteran collectors.

Last weekend, L.A. Rams star linebacker of the 1950s-1960s was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame; regrettably, it was posthumous.

I imagine many of the mentions Richter receives in the media will reference the fact that the Rams acquired Richter by trading the New York Yanks (who became the Baltimore Colts in 1953) 11 players for him.

Richter was the second pick in the 1952 NFL draft. The Rams had the first pick, and chose quarterback Billy Wade. The Yanks/Colts took Richter as the No. 2 pick.

As reported in TSN, the Rams traded two "regulars" and nine "recruits" for Richter. Actually, it appears that the Rams traded for "selection rights" for the Yanks,  instructing them to take Richter.

I doubt most of the current media coverage will detail the players the Rams gave up for Richter, but I have the information for you.

The two "regulars" the Rams dealt were running back Dick Hoerner and defensive back Tom Keane. They are the only two of the 11 to appear on contemporary Bowman football cards. Hoerner was in the 1950 set, and Keane in the 1954 and 1955 issues.

The nine "recruits" the future Colts received were: DB George Sims, C Joe Ried, HB Billy Bagget, T Jack Halliday, FB Dick McKissack, LB Vic Vasicek, E Dick Wilkins, C Aubrey Phillips and RB Dave Anderson.

Those 11 players collectively appeared in 87 games in the NFL after the trade. Richter went on to play 112 regular-season games over nine seasons for the Rams, plus the loss to the Browns in the 1955 NFL Championship game. Richter was also selected for the Pro Bowl for eight consecutive years, 1954-61.

Richter and the Rams had to wait a bit for his NFL career to get started. Two weeks after the Rams drafted him into the NFL, the U.S. Army drafted him, and he did not join the team until the 1954 season.

In terms of mainstream football card sets, Richter appeared in Bowman sets in 1952 (shown here), 1954 and 1955. He was in every Topps set between 1956-60, in Fleer in 1961, and back in Topps in 1962. Richter also appeared in a few L.A. area regional sets during his career.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments, criticism, additional information, questions, etc., are welcome . . . as long as they are germane to the original topic. All comments are moderated before they are allowed to appear and spam comments are deleted before they ever appear. No "Anonymous User" comments are allowed.