Saturday, January 21, 2017

1972 Series II: Super Bowl Winners

Topps 1972 RetroCards, custom cards that never were, Super Bowl VI

If you enjoyed the first RetroCard series on the 72 Cowboys, there is more where that came from.  In honor of the Cowboys 1971 Super Bowl victory,  RetroCards releases the 1972 Series II set.  Series II leaves few stones unturned with more key players, unsung heroes, and Hall of Famers.  The set includes: Gloster Richardson, Blaine Nye, Forrest Gregg, Rodney Wallace, Cliff Harris, Billy Truax, Charlie Waters, Billy Parks, Jack Concannon, D.D. Lewis, Tody Smith, Tony Liscio, Don Talbert, plus a Roger Staubach All-Pro card, a team champions card, and "In Action" cards of Lance Alworth and Chuck Howley.  Order here!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

1972 Dallas Cowboys Series I

Topps football, RetroCards, custom cards that never were

The Cowboys had finally won the big one in 1971 after five straight disappointing post season losses.  Tex Schramm put the crowbar in the old wallet and put together a team that couldn’t possibly lose.  Yet had it not been for Roger Staubach, they probably would have lost.  Coach Landry made the decision to start Staubach over Craig Morton and the Cowboys never looked back.

Every starter on offense consisted of and All-Pro, a Pro Bowler (at one time or another), and/or a future Hall of Famer.  Even late insurance pick up Forrest Gregg, was a shoe-in Hall of Fame player.  Backups Calvin Hill and Dan Reeves plus special teamers Ron Widby and Mike Clark even were Pro Bowlers in their respective careers. Defensively they were just as strong with two of the best linebackers in the game: Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan.  Hall of Famers Mel Renfro, Herb Adderley, Bob Lilly led other stars like Cornell Green and Jethro Pugh.  New and up-and-coming players like D.D. Lewis, Cliff Harris, and Charlie waters also were big contributors.

Consequently, the original football set of 1972, though large, couldn’t possibly include all the greats so RetroCards addresses this with an 18-card set full of Cowboy stars you’ll love: Mike Ditka, Ralph Neely, Ron Widby, Dan Reeves, Dave Manders, Craig Morton, Mel Renfro, Cornell Green, George Andrie, Larry Cole, Jethro Pugh, Dave Edwards, Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley, Ike Thomas, Tom Stincic, Tom Landry, plus an In Action card of Ike Thomas. Get series one here.

Watch for series II coming soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Reggie Harding: Baddest Of The Bad Boys

Fleer, Topps, NBA, American Basketball Association

The history of 1960s pro basketball shows a sport at the beginning of a big rise.  The pro game began to develop as more athletic and physical players arrived on the scene.  The new American Basketball Association challenged the old guard NBA and a flood of new players that never would have had a chance in pro ball, found spots on rosters.

History has shown that any 7-foot basketball player – no matter what their skill level is – is always in demand.  “Maybe we can hone his skills.  Maybe we can control him.  Maybe we can design a role for him that helps our team.”  That makes three “maybes.”  Maybe that’s what the Detroit Pistons were thinking when they drafted the first non-college-playing player in Reggie Harding in 1962. 

A Detroit native, Harding was selected in the 4th round of the 1962 draft from Eastern High School.  He was drafted a second time in 1963 (6th round) and made the Pistons roster, beginning a turbulent 6-year career that culminated with him being shot dead in the streets of Detroit at the age of 30 in 1972.

Not age-eligible out of high school, Harding played for a Nashville prep school for two seasons and then in the professional Midwest league in Toledo and Holland, MI. When he joined the Pistons, he was considered a project.  However he became a quick and solid contributor averaging 27 minutes in 191 games, and averaging 9.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his tenure with the Pistons.  He was fun-loving but loved street life and surrounded himself with the sketchiest of characters – none of whom helped keep him on the straight and narrow. Clubs, drugs, crime, guns, and alcohol became his focus as he became increasingly undependable as his career progressed. He was suspended for the entire 1965-1966 season for what is believe to be a weapons charge and promptly wore out his welcome the following season.

Nonetheless, a big man is always in demand and the struggling Chicago Bulls (whose fan support rivaled many ABA teams with one reported home attendance figure in 1967-68 as a measly 891 fans) took a gamble on him.  The Bulls traded for him prior to the 1967-68 season and he lasted a mere 14 games.  After a brief stop to play for the CBA’s  Trenton Colonials, he wound up in the ABA with the Indiana Pacers, who were desperate for a big man.  By this time Harding was at his most maniacal,  waking up roommate Jim Rayl at gunpoint and threatening to kill Pacer GM Mike Storen in a TV interview!  He lasted with the Pacers only 25 games and tt the end of the season he owed the Pacers $00 for being fined so much.

By 1968, his reputation and antics had caught up with him and he never played pro ball again.  Perhaps most disturbing were stories of him holding up the same gas station 3 times and raping a pre-Supremes Florence Ballard in 1960.  “A lot of people were very emotional about Reggie,” Piston forward Ray Scott says. “Some people viewed his story as a fault of society. Society did fail him, but we were never able to get him off the street. In my opinion, Reggie was where he wanted to be.”  For a more comprehensive account of Reggie Harding’s plight, check out this SlamOnline article written by Michael Bradley.

Watch for the RetroCards 1968 Indiana Pacers set coming soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Ice Bowl: Greatest Game Ever?

Topps, Pliladelphia Gum Cards, RetroCards, custom cards that never were

The much fabled Ice Bowl (official name: 1967 NFL Championship Game) has taken on such legendary status that has been called the NFL's greatest game. Two teams battling in the most extreme of elements is what football is supposed to be about – not replay, not "touching" the passer, and not end zone celebrations with or without props.  Not much need be said about the game, but this RetroCard set tells a chronological story in words and pictures.  Featured heavily in this set is the fan's contribution and their resilience in –40˚F wind chills. Few people left and when the gun sounded at the end of regulation, they tore down the goal posts!  That's hard core.

The design of this set is a knock off of the 1964-1967 Philadelphia Gum cards that produced NFL cards for a short time in the 60s.  RetroCards is calling this set "1968 Philly Action," and is part of a series of team sets that will also be released in this design.

Players featured included Bart Starr, Boyd Dowler, Chuck Mercein, Travis Williams, Vince Lombardi, Jerry Kramer, Don Meredith, Danny Villanueva, Lance Rentzel, Dan Reeves, Bob Lilly, Lee Roy Jordan, George Andrie, Tom Landry, and of course, the fans.  Order your set here.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rhome If You Want To: Jerry Rhome

Topps 1965 1966 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 football cards

Jerry Rhome tore up college football at Tulsa with an offense that had did something no other team – college or pro – had dared to do.  That was pass the ball ALL THE TIME.  If you talk to Jerry Rhome, he has no problem discussing how Tulsa revolutionized the passing game.  He ought to know.  As a senior he passed for 2,870 yards and threw for 32 touchdowns (versus only 4 interceptions), narrowly losing the Heisman Trophy to Notre Dame’s John Huarte.  With numbers like that, he seemed destined for the passing-crazy AFL, but he wound up a Dallas Cowboy.

He was drafted in 1964 as a future pick by both the Cowboys and the AFL’s New York Jets.  Signing with the established league, he backed up Don Meredith with another young quarterback, Craig Morton.  Though he only started one game for the Cowboys during his time there (1965-1968), he felt that coach Tom Landry gave him a legitimate chance at becoming a starter.  Once Roger Staubach arrived permanently in 1969, Rhome asked to be traded. He was dealt to the Cleveland Browns where he backed up Bill Nelsen in 1969.  His time in Cleveland may be most notable for the information he provided the Brown on the Cowboys offensive tendencies, resulting in a whomping 38–14 win in the 1969 Conference Championship game. 

By 1970, the Houston Oilers traded for him but he only played there one year before the Oilers went with a youth movement in rookies Dan Pastorini and Lynn Dickey. He played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 and then in the Canadian Football League in 1972 for the Montreal Alouettes before calling it a career.  After retirement, he went back to Tulsa and became an assistant coach before reappearing in the NFL as a coach with the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins during their Super Bowl XXII win.  He was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1988.  RetroCards has designed several cards for this college great.  Coming soon!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

1961 Cowboys: Building Talent, Building Character

Topps Dallas Cowboys football cards 1961

After going winless in their inaugural season, the Cowboys could only go in one direction.  1961 saw them get off to a quick start by going 3-1(beating the new Vikings and the lousy Steelers) before the league caught up with them.  Their 4–9–1 finish was an improvement and some stars began to develop, namely Don Perkins and Frank Clarke on offense and Bob Lilly and Don Bishop on defense.  Tom Landry was installing the flex defense but it would take some time before the players bought into it – let alone understand it!

RetroCards designed 18 new Cowboy cards that supplement the beautiful 1961 Fleer set which featured both NFL and AFL players.  Players include: Tom Landry, Tom Braatz, Jim Doran, Don Healy, Nate Borden, Bill Herchman, Frank Clarke, Ken Frost, Don Bishop, Glynn Gregory, Bob Lilly, Amos Marsh, Dick Bielski, Jack Patera, John Houser, Dick Moegle, Don Perkins, and Gene Babb.  Get yours here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

1978 Cowboys: Super Bowl XII Winners

Topps 1978 Dallas Cowboys fantasy cards

By trading for Seattle's first round pick, the Cowboys added the final piece to their Super Bowl puzzle.  Tony Dorsett easily took the 1977 Rookie of the Year honors as the Cowboys cruised to their second Championship on a finesse offense and the leagues best defense.  Roger Staubach lead an offense that boasted a wealth of riches in Dorsett, All-Pros Drew Pearson and Billy Joe Dupree, plus important role players such as Preston Pearson, Pat Donovan, Golden Richards, and Robert Newhouse.  On defense, they were even better with the most devastating pass rushers in Harvey Martin (Defensive Player Of the Year), Randy White, Thomas Henderson, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Charlie Waters, and Cliff Harris.

RetroCards 1978 Cowboys set focuses on the more important role players that gave the Cowboys the Championship over the Denver Broncos.  Players added to the 1978 base set are: Tony Hill, Benny Barnes, Bob Breunig, Aaron Kyle, Randy Hughes, Larry Cole, Rayfield Wright, Jethro Pugh, D.D. Lewis, Bruce Huther, Glenn Carano, and Mike Hegman.  Highlight cards feature a Tony Dorsett Rookie of the Year Highlight, Doomsday Defense, 3 Super Bowl Highlights, plus NFL sack leaders card.  Order yours here!