Vintage Football Autographs

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

Hubbard "Red" Law  (1921-1995)

Guard—(Sam Houston State) Greensboro Army Air Base Tech-Hawks 1943; Pittsburgh Steelers 1942,1945; McKeesport Ironmen (semi-pro) 1946-47  [Little All-American 1941]

Pete Layden  (1919-1982)

Back—(Texas) New York Yankees 1948-49, New York Yanks 1950 [#16 All-Time AAFC Passing]

Milton "Red" Leathers  (1909-2000)

Guard—(Georgia) Philadelphia Eagles 1933

Darrell Lester  (1914-1993)

Center—(Texas Christian) Green Bay Packers 1937-38  [All-American 1934-35, College Football Hall of Fame 1988]

He does everything anybody asks of a center, and does it as well or better than the next man.
    Frank Thomas

Sid Luckman  (1916-1998)

Quarterback—(Columbia) Newark Bears (American Association) 1939; Chicago Bears 1939-50  [All-American 1938, College Football Hall of Fame 1960, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1965]

One reason we had a good team was we had an awful smart quarterback.  Sid Luckman was smart and he could move.  He was a great runner in college, you know.  And he had a lot of guts.  I've seen Sid take some fierce beatings out there and just keep dancing.  But a lot of people called him lucky, and it did look like he was lucky.  Like on third-and-ten or third-and-fifteen, he'd make a terribly bad pass but a guy would reach back and get it or scoop it off the ground.  So it did look lucky, but after seeing it happen week after week, year after year, I can't call it luck.  That was a talent there, because Sid kept doing it.  He couldn't throw too good—he kind of palmed the ball and threw them soft, slopping type of passes—but he'd complete 'em.
    Bulldog Turner

 

Secretary vs. Authentic Luckman Signatures?

How to Tell the Difference 

 

Photocopied Authentic Luckman Signature 

June 1989 request letter note 

 

I sent an autograph request letter to Luckman in June 1989.  On my request letter  I had photocopied a copy of my old 1955 Topps All-American card of Luckman.  In addition to making the autograph request, I asked him a few questions.  He returned my request letter on which this note ("See att'd sheet  My Pleasure  Regards  Sid Luckman "42") was written in what I believe to be his handwriting.  Later his secretary began signing Luckman's name to all mail requests for autographs, but I believe  this note is an authentic Luckman autograph.  It has the ring of authenticity.  The 3x5 card was sent to me along with a fact sheet, biographical sketch, and a slick 8x10 photograph of a Tom Fitzpatrick news article entitled "Luckman: A Tormenting Time."  The photocopied biographical sketch had his signature on the bottom.  I received another copy of this sheet, identical to the first at a later mailing from him.  The photocopied signature on the biographical sketch matches the autographs I received on the above note, two 3x5 cards, 8x10 photo (below), and colored pencil sketch by my son, David (below).  It also appears to match the signature on the Tom Paprocki cartoon entitled "Roar, Lion, Roar."  However I have four other cartoons and a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ad which have signatures that are in question.  In these signatures, the "S" first letter of his given name is formed differently than in these other autographs.  The finishing curl of the "S" is looped up and around rather than up halfway  then across in a finishing straight line.  See the 1938 Jack Sords cartoon (below) for an example of these autographs that I question.  I don't know what others have discovered about Luckman's autograph versus his secretary's signature, but that may be a possible way to determine authenticity.  What do others think?  

  

My son, David, sent this colored pencil drawing of Sid Luckman to him in about 1990.  David was about ten years old at the time.  This appears to be an authentic signature.

 

 Probable Authentic Signature on Sports Cartoon circa 1937

 

Luckman Signature in Question on 1938 Jack Sords Cartoon

Note the capital "S" on his given name (round loop) and the capital "B" on Bears which is different from "B" on above 3x5 card.

See a video clip of Sid Luckman in a 1946 preseason game between the Bears and Redskins.  See a 1984 television interview with Luckman; move the play cursor to 8.5 minutes into the program to go direct to the interview.

He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois

Francis "Pug" Lund  (1913-1994)

Fullback—(Minnesota) [All-American 1933-34, College Football Hall of Fame 1958]

Lund is a star all-around back—one of the best competitors I ever saw.  You might break him in two but you couldn't stop him.  He can kick, pass, run, block, and tackle, and he hits . . . hard . . . .As a ballcarrier, passer, kicker, blocker and tackler, he carried out every heavy assignment we gave him.  He was battered and broken up.  Teeth knocked out, finger amputated, thumb broken . . . but he carried on.
    Bernie Bierman

This Art Krenz cartoon appeared in newspapers in 1933.

See video clip of Pug Lund among several being named an All-American in 1934.

He is buried in Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lawrence H. "Larry" Lutz  (1913-1998)

Tackle—(California) Salinas Packers 1936-37, St. Mary's Pre-Flight Air Devils 1942 [All-American 1935]

I was drafted by the Boston Red Skins . . . .The pay at that time was $135 to $145 per game . . . .Since I needed a few more units to graduate, I decided to go back to school.  I was hired as a Line Coach for the U. C. freshman team while going to school.  During this period the Salinas Ice Berg Packers was being organized and I agreed to play with them for $100 a game, which along with my freshman football salary was better than the pro offer . . . .The Salinas team was financed by the Lettuce and Vegetable Growers of the area . . . .I played for two years with the Salinas Packers before they folded. . . .  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS LETTER THAT LARRY LUTZ WROTE TO ME

Edgar "Eggs" Manske  (1912-2002)

End—(Northwestern) Philadelphia Eagles 1935-36, Chicago Bears 1937-40, Pittsburgh Pirates 1938, St. Mary's Pre-Flight Air Devils 1942  [All-American 1933, College Football Hall of Fame 1989]

After about five or six games [in 1938], Pitsburgh started unloading some of its bigger salaries.  I was making $210 a game and the rumor was I was going to Brooklyn.  I went in to see Art Rooney and told him I would much prefer to go back to Chicago since I was still going to school there.  The next thing I knew, I was on the train back to Chicago.

    Eggs Manske

George "Mink" Melinkovich  (1911-1994)

Fullback—(Notre Dame) Tooele High School 1927-29; Coach—Utah State 1949-50  [All-American 1932, Utah Old Time Athletes Hall of Fame 1990]

[Knute Rockne would] sort of yodel my name . . . drawing out every syllable.  And did he ever enjoy needling me about the Mormons in Utah . . . .I was fifth-string running back as a freshman.  I was switched to fullback in 1932 and by the third game of my sophomore year, I started against Drake and had three touchdowns.  We were all playing for Rockne [who was killed in an airplane crash on March 31, 1931].  I know I was.

    George Melinkovich

This Jack Sords cartoon appeared in newspapers in November 1934.  I have three other different Melinkovich-signed cartoons from 1931, 1932, and 1934.  The  signature is from a two-page  letter he sent me.

Ray "Butch" Morse  (1912-1995)

End—(Oregon) Detroit Lions 1935-38,1940, Los Angeles Bulldogs (AFL) 1939; Randolph Field Ramblers 1943

Marion Motley  (1920-1999)

Fullback—(South Carolina State/Nevada) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1945, Cleveland Browns 1946-53, Pittsburgh Steelers 1955 [Pro Football Hall of Fame 1968]

The greatest back I ever had was Marion Motley.  You know why?  The only statistic he ever knew was whether we won or lost.  The man was completely unselfish.

    Paul Brown

George "Moose" Musso  (1910-2000)

Guard/Tackle—(Millikin) Chicago Bears 1933-44 [Pro Football Hall of Fame 1982]

George was about 260 pounds and as strong as they come.  I was about 50 pounds lighter than him.  I was centering to the tailback on the single wing, who was about four yards behind me.  Centering that way, I had to keep my head down, looking back at the tailback.  Well, the first time George lined up opposite me and I snapped the ball, he popped me one right in the face.  We didn't have faceguards, of course, and I said to him after the play that he'd better never do that to me again.  Coming from me, about 200 or 210 pounds, it didn't make that much of an impression on big George.  On the next play, he let me have it again.  So, on the following play, I was ready.  I snapped the ball with one hand this time and at the exact same time delivered one heck of an uppercut with the other hand and got George square in the face.  He really felt it, I could tell.  He shook it off in a dazed kind of way and then smiled and said something like that was a helluva good shot.  He never tried it on me again, and we became good friends.  George was not a dirty player, and I never heard of him doing that kind of thing to anybody later.  He was just massive and strong.
    Mel Hein

 

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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