Vintage Football Autographs

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

Bronko Nagurski  (1908-1990)

Fullback—(Minnesota) Chicago Bears 1930-37,1943 [All-American 1929, College Football Hall of Fame 1951, All-Pro 1932-34,1936, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1963]

I learned that if you hit him by yourself, you were in trouble.  If you hit him high, he'd take you about ten yards.  The best way to tackle Bronko was to have your teammates hit him about the same time—one or two low, one or two high.  He was the most powerful fullback that I ever played against in all my career.  Bronko had a knack of running fairly low.  He had a big body and he could get that body, that trunk, down and be able to throw his shoulder into you.  If you didn't get under his shoulder, he just knocked you butt over tea kettles.

    Mel Hein
 
 
The generosity of the great old football players seems boundless.  I have been continually surprised and overwhelmed at the unexpected gifts showered on me during my collecting years.  For instance, Ernie Caddel sent me (a virtual stranger) this small note which had been sent to him by Bronko Nagurski.  Amazing!

Harry Newman  (1909-2000)

Quarterback—(Michigan) New York Giants 1933-35, Brooklyn Tigers 1936, New York Yanks 1936, Rochester Tigers 1937   [All-American (Grantland Rice) 1932, Douglas Fairbanks Trophy 1932, College Football Hall of Fame 1975, All Pro 1933, #1 Passing 1933]

After I got out of college, I had several offers to go with the pros.  I wasn’t very big, and that was a drawback.  I was only about 175 pounds in college and I was only 5'8".  But George Halas of the Chicago Bears came up with an offer.  It wasn’t a very good one.  The New York Giants came up with a better one.  I talked with Tim Mara and I got the feeling they really wanted a passer and that I’d fit in with them right away.  The contract deal he came up with was that I was actually to receive a percentage of the gate.  That was a very good deal in those days.  As I remember it, the first year I was supposed to get 10 percent of the gate after $11,000 had been deducted for expenses.  The second year I was to get 20 percent. . . . In 1935, I had a contract dispute with the Maras.  I decided to hold out.  In that last game that I played in, in 1934, the one against the Bears, we filled the Polo Grounds.  Because I was on a percentage, they had to pay me a lot of dough.  As a result, they wouldn’t give me the same kind of contract for the next year. . . . I felt my days with the Giants were over.  They were never going to pay me the money I wanted.  I knew that.  So the next year I got out of the NFL altogether.  Along with a couple of others, I started the American Football League.

    Harry Newman
 
 
 
 
My son, David, drew this colored pencil sketch of Harry Newman that he autographed in about 1990.  David was about ten years old at the time. 
 
 
This Jack Sords cartoon appeared in newspapers in 1932.
 
See a video clip of Harry Newman featured among those All-Americans selected in 1932.  He is the 7th player featured, uniform #46. 

Ray Nolting  (1912-1995)

Back—(Cincinnati) Chicago Bears 1936-43

He could hit a line as fast as any man I've ever seen.
    Sid Luckman

 

John Norby  (1910-1998)

Back—(Idaho) New York Giants 1934, Philadelphia Eagles 1934, St. Louis Gunners 1934, Brooklyn Dodgers 1935

Ray Novotny  (1907-1995)

Back—(Ashland) Portsmouth Spartans (Ohio Valley League) 1930, Cleveland Indians 1931, Brooklyn Dodgers 1932, Cleveland Rams 1936

He is buried in Willamette Valley National Cemetery, Happy Valley, Oregon

Duncan Obee  (1918-1998)

Center/Linebacker—(Dayton) Detroit Lions 1941

Bill Osmanski  (1915-1996)

Fullback—(Holy Cross) Chicago Bears 1939-43,1946-47  [College Football Hall of Fame 1973, #1 Rushing 1939, All-Pro 1939]

They [Chicago Bears] had a fullback, Bill Osmanski, who liked to file his cleats real sharp, although he was a good, clean ballplayer.  Well, those games between the Bears and Packers were always bloodbaths, and in this one I was backing up the line when Osmanski came through on those sharpened cleats and tore open my leg so bad that the shinbone was all exposed.
    Clarke Hinkle

 

See a video clip of Bill Osmanski in a 1946 preseason game between the Bears and Redskins.

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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