Vintage Football Autographs

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

Bill Daddio  (1916-1989)

End—(Pittsburgh) Chicago Cardinals 1941-42, Buffalo Bisons 1946 [All-American 1937-38, #1 Field Goals 1942]

I know of no end in college football today [1937] whom I would select over Daddio.

     Pop Warner

Ted Daffer  (1929-2006)

Guard/End—(Tennessee) Chicago Bears 1954; Ottawa Roughriders (CFL) 1955   [All-American 1950-51]

This Tom Paprocki cartoon appeared in newspapers in October 1951.

I find news articles a wonderful medium for autographs. They give historical context to a signature. Nine 1950 A.P. All-Americans signed this news announcement. Daffer wrote that it was "a pleasure to be in this group." I have dozens of signed All American and All Pro news articles, the oldest being a 1923 Walter Camp All American grid pick article signed by George R. Pfann.  He was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.

Averell "Ave" Daniell  (1914-1999)

Tackle—(Pittsburgh) Green Bay Packers 1937, Brooklyn Dodgers 1937   [All-American 1936, College Football Hall of Fame 1975]

He was Pitt’s best defense against passing plays because of his height and ranginess.
    Alan Gould

This Art Krenz cartoon appeared in newspapers in December 1936.  On the 3x5 card, Daniel wrote that the "Biggest bruiser" that he played against were Tony Matisi (his Pitt teammate) and Bronko Nagurski.

Ed Danowski  (1911-1997)

Quarterback—(Fordham) New York Giants 1934-39,1941, Jersey City Giants (AA) 1940; Assistant Coach--Pensacola Naval Air Station Goslings 1942   [All Pro 1935,1938, #1 Passing 1935,1938, All-League American Association 1940]

He was one of the finest passers the Giants ever had, and one of the most accurate in football history.
    Steve Owen

On the reverse side of this 3x5 Danowski rated Nello Falaschi as the "roughest" player and Nagurski as the hardest-hitting runner.

See video clip of Ed Danowski (#22) in the 1938 NFL championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants played on December 11, 1938, in the Polo Grounds.  The Giants won 23-17.  Watch him make two touchdown passes.

Lou Daukas (1921-2005)

Center—(Cornell) Ft. Warren Broncos 1944-45; Brooklyn Dodgers 1947

Bill de Correvont  (1918-1995)

Back—(Northwestern) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Commandos 1942, Bainbridge (Maryland) Naval Training Station 1943; Washington Redskins 1945, Detroit Lions 1946, Chicago Cardinals 1947-48, Chicago Bears 1948-49

Bill had matured faster than most kids, so he was much better than everyone else in high school.  I mean, when you carry the ball nine times in a game and score nine touchdowns, that's pretty good. The biggest problem when he went on to college was that he wasn't going to get much better, and other kids caught up. He was a great athlete. But he wasn't high on himself. He wasn't the stuck-up type. He was just a regular guy.
    Otto Graham

This Jack Sords cartoon appeared in newspapers in October 1940.  I also have another DeCorrevont-signed Jack Sords cartoon dating to 1939.  The largest paid crowd ever to watch a football game in the United States was drawn to Soldier Field by a blond teenage touchdown-maker from Austin High School on Chicago's West Side on Nov. 28, 1937. He was Bill DeCorrevont. The place was jammed with an estimated 120,000 fans, who watched Austin of the Public League beat Leo of the Catholic League 26-0 for the city championship. DeCorrevont often remarked he answered more questions about the game that took place one day after his 19th birthday than any event in his life. "Young people can't believe we played before a crowd that big when we were in high school," he said. This was an era before professional sports and television became fixtures in the sports scene. Of course, high school football was a huge draw in those pre-television days. For example, the day after DeCorrevont lured the great throng to Soldier Field, the Bears beat the Cleveland Rams at Wrigley Field before 4,188 fans. "I wasn't awed by the crowd," DeCorrevont recalled many years after he retired from football. "We played Fenwick in a 19-19 tie the previous year, and that game drew 90,000 to Soldier Field." DeCorrevont was the most highly publicized high school football star of his generation. He scored 35 touchdowms in 10 games in 1937.

Allen Dekdebrun  (1921-2005)

Quarterback—(Cornell) Chicago Rockets 1947-49, Toronto Argonauts (CFL) 1950-54, Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1953 [#1 Passing NCAA 1945, #13 All-Time AAFC Passing]

[I] led the nation in passing—1945 . . . .[and] led Toronto Argonauts to Grey Cup victory in 1950.
    Allen Dekdebrun

Bob Devaney  (1915-1997)

Coach—(Alma College) Wyoming 1957-61, Nebraska 1962-73 [College Football Coach of the Year 1971, College Football Hall of Fame 1981]

Any time a team thinks beyond its next game, the whole season can be ruined.
    Bob Devaney

At Glenn Presnell's request, I sent a letter to Bob Devaney in 1991 trying to persuade him that Presnell had the qualifications for selection into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Presnell contended that Devaney was one of the people keeping him from being selected.  I sent Devaney a copy of a news article proving that Presnell had been selected to at least one All-America team.  That was persuasive and Devaney replied that he would "do everything I can to promote his [Presnell's] recommendation."  Unfortunately Presnell has not been selected.

This Ev Thorpe cartoon appeared in the Deseret News on 24 October 1957.  Although Devaney and I shared some correspondence about getting Glenn Presnell into the College Hall of Fame, I think he was simply being kind in expressing hope that we might "get together in the near future" on this 3x5 card.

See video clip of Bob Devaney being interviewed on September 14, 1966.  He is buried in Lincoln Memorial Park, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Waldo E. Don Carlos  (1909-1997)

Center—(Drake) Green Bay Packers 1931

Johnnie Druze  (1914-2005)

End—(Fordham) Brooklyn Dodgers 1938

Druze was the captain of Fordham's 1937 team that went 7-0-1, the school's last undefeated season. He was inducted into the university's athletic hall of fame in 1974.   Druze teamed with Al Babartsky, Alex Wojciechowicz, Nat Pierce, Ed Franco, Leo Paquin and Vince Lombardi  in 1936 and 1937 to form a line known as the "Seven Blocks of Granite." The Fordham coach was Jim Crowley, who had been one of Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen" in the 1920s. The line coach on those teams was Frank Leahy, later the head coach at Notre Dame. See autographs of other members of the famed "Seven Blocks" in entries for Alex Wojciechowicz and Harry Jacunski (a left end on the 1936 and 1937 Fordham line).

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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