Vintage Football Autographs

from leather helmets to the "golden years"--1920s thru 1960

Tony Adamle  (1924-2000)

Linebacker/Fullback—(Ohio State) Cleveland Browns 1947-51,1954 [All-Pro 1951]

Adamle retired after the 1951 season to attend medical school, but was called out of retirement in 1954. After his playing days concluded, he gravitated to sports medicine.

Alex Agase  (1922-2007)

Guard—(Purdue/Illinois) Los Angeles Dons 1947, Chicago Rockets 1947, Cleveland Browns 1948-51, Baltimore Colts 1953    [All-American 1943,1946, College Football Hall of Fame 1963]

All he would do was talk:  "Gonna double-team me this time?  Which two of you?"  That sort of thing.  Talk, talk, talk.
    Gordy Soltau

The Tom Paprocki cartoon appeared in newspapers in December 1946.  I also have an Agase-signed 1943 Sam Davis cartoon.

Charles C. "Ki" Aldrich  (1916-1983)

Center/Linebacker/Guard—(Texas Christian) Chicago Cardinals 1939-40, Washington Redskins 1941-42,1945-47 [All-American 1938, College Football Hall of Fame 1960, #1 Draft Pick 1939; I purchased this autograph in 1994]

Jules "Julie" Alfonse  (1911- 2000)

Quarterback—(Minnesota) Cleveland Rams 1937-38, Columbus Bullies (AFL) 1939-41; Hollywood Rangers (AFL) 1944

 

This Hardin "Jack" Burnley cartoon appeared in newspapers in November 1936. In addition to his sports cartoons, Burnley (1911-2006) did Superman and Batman cartoons for Action Comics and Starman for Adventure Comics.

John "Whitey" Ambrose  (1910-1995)

Center—(Catholic) Brooklyn Dodgers 1932-33

Theodore "Tufky" Andrulewicz  (1904-1996)

Back—(Villanova) Newark Tornadoes 1930

Elmer Angsman  (1925-2002)

Back—(Notre Dame) Chicago Cardinals 1946-52

He was . . . a straight ahead, north and south runner who would just as soon leave cleat marks on your balls as run around you.
    Don Paul

Jim Barber  (1912-1998)

Tackle—(San Francisco Univ.) Boston Redskins 1935-36, Washington Redskins 1937-41; Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1942 [All-Pro 1939]

He was a really good lineman.
    Sammy Baugh

Reaves H. "Ribs" Baysinger  (1902-1994)

Tackle—(Syracuse) Rochester Jeffersons 1924

Baysinger attended Syracuse University, where he played three years of varsity football before graduating in 1924. From 1928 to 1948, he was a member of the Syracuse University Athletic Department as a coach, educator, administrator and mentor. From 1950 to 1954, he worked at the University of New Mexico in similar capacities. From 1955 until his retirement, he was director of admissions at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Ed Beinor  (1917-1991)

Tackle—(Notre Dame) St. Louis Gunners (AFL) 1939, Chicago Cardinals 1940-41, Washington Redskins 1941-42   [All-American 1938]

Throughout a long, wearing schedule [1938], he has been an irreplaceable cog in a line that has absorbed terrific pounding and made his particular sector a barrier almost impassable to opposing ball carriers.

Christy Walsh

Jim "Big Jim" Benton  (1916-2001)

End—(Arkansas) Cleveland Rams 1938-40,1942,1944-45, Chicago Bears 1943, Los Angeles Rams 1946-47 [#1 Receiving NCAA 1937, All-Pro 1945-46, #1 Pass Receiving 1946; Pass Receiving: 16.7 avg, 45 TD]

He was all moves.  He had no speed.  He used to get caught from behind all the time . . . .I didn't call the plays.  He did.  He'd tell me what he was going to run and I'd say okay . . . .he'd tell me he was going to get open on a hook, a corner or an out.  And I believed him.  When I got ready to throw, sure enough, he was open.  He'd have to rank right there with Hirsch and Fears.
    Bob Waterfield

This Jack Sords cartoon appeared in newspapers in October 1944.

Nick Borrelli  (1905-1992)

Back—(Muhlenberg) Newark Tornadoes 1930

Ray "Muscles" Bray  (1917-1993)

Guard—(Western Michigan) Del Monte Pre-Flight Navyators 1943; Chicago Bears 1939-42,1946-51, Green Bay Packers 1952  [All-American (AP Service) 1943, All-Pro 1948-49]

In a preseason game with the Bears, Bray was wearing a face mask and I wasn't.  After he hit me, he came down on me with that mask and split my nose open.  I was on the ground and couldn't do much, so I kicked him in the balls.  Bert Bell fined me $250 and my wife gave him hell.  She told him that he had cost her a new coat.
    Bucko Kilroy

Angelo "Dark Angel" Brovelli  (1910-1995)

Quarterback—(St. Mary's) Pittsburgh Pirates 1933-34

Do you know why I got out of pro football?  I tried to stop Bronko Nagurski. Ever hear of him? He educated me. When I tackled him, it felt like my shoulder was sitting on my hip. We played in Forbes Field and we didn't draw flies.  It was more semipro than pro. We had a rough go.
    Angelo Brovelli

This cartoon appeared in newspapers in November 1932.  He is buried in Galt Cemetery, Galt, California.

Frank X. "Bullet" Briante  (1905-1996)

Fullback—(New York) Staten Island Stapletons 1929, Newark Tornadoes 1930   [All-American 1927]

[I was] elected captain of the NYU football team in my junior year, which was an honor in itself . . . . [I] was a well known All American in my time.
    Frank Briante

In this 2-page typewritten letter dated 15 February 1995, Briante was just shy of his 90th birthday. His daughter typed the information that he dictated.  Pro football wasn't as lucrative as today and Briante wrote that he "had to give up playing professional football in order to pursue a business career."  That was very common.

Hardy “Thumper” Brown (1924-1991)

Defensive Back—(Southern Methodist /Tulsa) Brooklyn Dodgers 1948, Chicago Hornets 1949, Washington Redskins 1950, Baltimore Colts 1950, San Francisco 49ers 1951-55, Chicago Cardinals 1956, Denver Broncos 1960

Hardy Brown busted my cheekbone with that goddamned shoulder of his.  It severed the nerves, so I wasn’t really in any pain.  I remember getting on my hands and knees trying to find the football while everybody tried to get me off the field. . . . When they first started the franchise here [Denver], they had a couple of ex-Eagles playing for them that first year.  I went over to the locker room one day to see Frank Tripuka. . . . When I walked into the dressing room, I heard this cackling over in the corner and it was Hardy Brown.  He played linebacker one year for the Broncos.  “How’s the cheekbone, Toy Boy?”  He was like Bucko [Kilroy], he beamed when he hurt someone, and I think Hardy remembered every hit he ever had in his entire career.  I went over and shook hands with him, and he said, “No hard feelings.”  I said, “You asshole.”
    Toy Ledbetter

 

Some people might think I'm nuts, but I traded three signed 3x5 cards (Don Hutson, Otto Graham, and Walter Payton) to get this Hardy Brown autograph. It comes from the collection of Richard Laade, my mentor when I began collecting. Hardy was one of the hard hitters of the fifties. I mean, how many people have a Hardy Brown autograph?

Paul Brown  (1908-1991)

Coach—(Miami, Ohio) Cleveland Browns 1946-62, Cincinnati Bengals 1968-75   [AAFC Coach of the Year 1947-49, NFL Coach of the Year 1951,1953-54,1957, AFL Coach of the Year 1969, AFC Coach of the Year 1970, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1967]

The reason we had such a good team [Cleveland Browns] was because we had a great coach in Paul Brown.  He was the type of guy who would have been an admiral or general if he went into the service or the president of a company in the business world . . . Every year he would get up in front of us at training camp and dictate to us the rules.  Nothing was left to chance, he was so organized.  How to do calisthenics, how to run, how to put one foot in front of the other—it was amazing.  He also had what he called the "Tuesday Rule."  He felt sex was bad for a guy before a game, so he would lecture the married guys that they should abstain after Tuesday.  It used to irritate me and we kid him about it today that he would only talk to the married guys, not the ones who were single.  I think only .0000001 percent of the players—if that—ever observed the rule . . . .I personally think he is probably the finest football coach that ever coached the game . . . .Paul Brown was a silent type.  He would just kind of look at you with those cold eyes of his and they would go right through you.
    Otto Graham

These two Jack Sords cartoons appeared in newspapers in September 1944 (top) and October 1941 (bottom).  I have four other different Brown-signed cartoons including two other Sords cartoons (1945 and 1947 dates) and two Alan Maver cartoons (1942 and 1950).  He is buried in Rose Hill Memorial Park Cemetery, Massillon, Ohio.

Dale Burnett  (1909-1997)

Back—(Emporia State) New York Giants 1930-39; Paterson Panthers (AFL) Player/Coach 1940-42

He was my most effective pass receiver.
    Steve Owen

Art Buss  (1911-1998)

Tackle—(Michigan State) Chicago Bears 1934-35, Philadelphia Eagles 1936-37

Watch a Video Clip of:

  • Ed Danowski
  • Bob Devaney
  • Hugh Gallarneau
  • Otto Graham
  • Red Grange
  • Lou Groza
  • Tom Harmon
  • Ken Kavanaugh
  • Sid Luckman
  • Pug Lund
  • Harry Newman
  • Bill Osmanski
  • Kyle Rote

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