Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kapp custom was on my to-do list a long time

Many of you probably know Joe Kapp, if you know him at all, from the YouTube video of November, 2011, showing the 73-year-old Kapp getting into an on-stage fist fight with 74-year-old Angelo Mosco at the CFL Alumni Legends luncheon in Vancouver.

The fight resulted from bad blood between the two dating back to the 1963 Grey Cup championship game when Mosco laid what many saw as a dirty hit on Kapp's teammate Willie Fleming, knocking him out of the game, and possibly costing British Columbia the game.

I was a fan of Joe Kapp during his short NFL career. Like Joe Namath, he wore his hair long and had the reputation as a rebel. That appealed to me back in those days.

You can read all about Kapp's career at several places on the internet, so I won't take up space here.

I'll just share a couple of highlights . . . 

Kapp is the only quarterback to play in the Rose Bowl, the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl. 
He lost the Rose Bowl to Iowa in 1959, won the Grey Cup in 1964 (losing in 1963 and 1965) and lost Super Bowl IV to the Chiefs following the 1969 season. 

On Sept. 28, 1969, he tied an NFL record by throwing seven touchdown passes in a 52-14 win over the Colts.

He was the first Minnesota Viking to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. On the July 20, 1970, the magazine labeled him "The Toughest Chicano."

He appeared in dozens of TV shows and several popular movies in the 1970s-1980s. Tall, dark and handsome he frequently played to type as a football player (The Longest Yard, Semi-Tough) or an Indian/Mexican badmash (Breakheart Pass, The Frisco Kid).

For as long as he played pro football and as successful as he was at it, Kapp has a sub-par career-contemporary football card legacy.
From 1960-69 Topps
used the same photo
on six Kapp cards.

He appeared in Topps' Canadian Football League sets from 1960-64 and on Topps' NFL cards 1968-71. He was also in the 1963 Canadian Post cereal box issue.

The trouble with Kapp's cards, however, is that Topps used the same college-vintage photo on every card except one from 1960 through 1969. That run included 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1964 Topps CFL and 1968 and 1969 NFL, plus the 1969 4-in-1. A different photo was used on Kapp's 1962 CFL card, when Topps used a black-and-white format.

Finally for 1970 Topps took a new photo and used it on the regular card, the glossy and the super. Unfortunately, though he is pictured in a Vikings uniform and  his team is given as such, Kapp played for the Boston Patriots in 1970. 

He has a 1971 Topps card which pictures him in an airbrushed helmet in game-action against the Jets . . . but Kapp retired prior to the season.

I'm glad to be able to add another Joe Kapp card to the hobby supply.

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