Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lusteg used brother's ID to make Buffalo Bills in 1966

As I mentioned in my Dec. 14 posting, I'm in the midst of making a handful of custom football cards for players whose careers had some interesting twists, but who who never appeared on contemporary Topps or Philadelphia bubblegum cards.

Today I present my 1968 Topps-style custom card of Booth Lusteg.

Lusteg never played college football, though he told the Buffalo Bills that he did when he appeared at an open tryout prior to the 1966 season. Buffalo was looking for  a replacement for Pete Gogolak, who had jumped the AFL for the New  York Giants.

Gerald Booth Lusteg had played college baseball at Connecticut. In 1965 he had kicked and played some defensive back for the champion New Bedford Sweepers of the Atlantic Coast Football League.

However, he was 27 years old when the Bills were looking for a kicker for 1966. Feeling he'd have a better chance as a 24-year-old prospective rookie, Booth told the Bills that he was his younger brother, Wallace, who had played a little for Boston college.

Booth won the job, but by the time season opened, Buffalo had uncovered his deception.

Nonetheless, Lusteg had a good season for the AFL Eastern Champion Bills. He led the league with 38 field goals attempts, though he was successful only 19 times. His 41 extra points and 42 extra-point attempts were also league-best and his total 98 points were tied for second in the AFL.

After the Bills lost to the Chiefs in the AFL title game, Lusteg was released. He finished his NFL career as a peripatetic boot for hire. He was with the Dolphins for 1967, the Steelers in 1968 and the Packers in 1969. 

Unable to catch on after the 1969 season, Lusteg retired to a career as a writer and motivational speaker. His specialty was creationism. His best-known work is his book Kick Rejection . . . and Win.

Lusteg came out of retirement in 1974 to play for the Portland Storm in the new World Football League. He kicked five field goals as the Storm Finished third in the WFL West.

Lusteg died in 2012.

You can order this card. Unless otherwise noted, all of my custom cards are available to collectors for $9.95 each, postpaid. Complete checklists of all my custom baseball, football and non-sports custom cards were published on this blog on Dec. 10 (football), July 6 (non-sports) and Sept. 19 (baseball). To order, email me at for directions on paying via check/money order, or to my PayPal account.

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