Vintage Football Autographs

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

Joe Pilconis  (1912-1993)

End—(Washington & Jefferson/Temple) Paterson Panthers (American Association) 1937-39; Philadelphia Eagles 1934,1936-37

Glenn Presnell  (1905-2004)

Quarterback—(Nebraska) Ironton Tanks (Ohio Valley League) 1928-30, Portsmouth Spartans 1931-33, Detroit Lions 1934-36; Coach—Ironton Tanks 1928-29, Eastern Kentucky 1953-63   [All-American 1927, All Pro 1933, #1 Scoring 1933, #1 Field Goals 1933]

The Tanks had a triple-threat tailback by the name of Glenn Presnell who was my idol in those days.  What he could do on a football field!  Presnell went on to play in the NFL for the Portsmouth Spartans and then the Detroit Lions and was a player who should be in the Hall of Fame today.
    George McAfee

Pro football Hall of Famer George McAfee believed that Presnell ought to be in the Hall of Fame (see quote above). In1991, I tried to help Glenn get recognition by the College Football Hall of Fame. They had argued that he wasn't under consideration because he had never been an All-American.  I wrote Glenn that I had found him on a 1927 Lawrence Perry All-American team (see news article below).  Glenn asked me (see letter below) to send a copy of the news article that I had found to Bob Devaney.  Glenn wrote, "He insists I never made All-American and would not recommend me for Hall of Fame."  See the entry for Devaney for his reaction to this new information.  In a follow-up letter, Glenn thanked me for trying to set the record straight: "I appreciate your efforts in my behalf in promoting me for admission to College Hall of Fame." Despite evidence supporting his All-American career, he unfortunately still has not received nomination to the College Hall of Fame.

Glenn wrote me that this was just one of "many" All-American teams he made in 1927.  He is buried in Madison County Memorial Gardens, Terrill, Kentucky.

Pat Preston  (1921-2002)

Guard—(Wake Forest/Duke) Chicago Bears 1946-50   [All-American 1943]

 

Joe Repko  (1920-1997)

Tackle—(Boston College) Pittsburgh Steelers 1946-47, Los Angeles Rams 1948-49

The reason I had to quit playing was . . . I tore the muscle in my thigh.
    Joe Repko

 

This article reported the results of the opening regular season game between the Steelers and Lions on 21 September 1947.  The article reports that Repko, a 235 pound tackle, "scooped up a fumble and raced 60 yards for a touchdown." That proved to be the margin of victory in the 17-10 win for the Steelers.  The game was played in Pittsburgh before more than 36,000 fans. "The reason the game was so crowded," wrote Repko, "was that [Bullet Bill] Dudley refused to play for [Steeler's coach] Jock Sutherland and quit the Steelers the year before and this was the first game of the season and Jock wanted this game bad because he hated Dudley's guts for some statement he made in the papers. Jock died the next year."  Joe Repko is #42 in the photo.

Aldo "Honey" Richins  (1910-1995)

Halfback—(Utah) 1932-34; Detroit Lions 1935, Salt Lake Seagulls (PCFL) 1946-47

He played with the Lions for four games.  Although he was a halfback in college, the Lions used him as a guard.  He was released in favor of more experienced and heavier linemen.
    Information obtained from Frank Christensen,
    in a communication with the Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 2, 1935

I interviewed Aldo at his home in Sandy, Utah, on August 11, 1990. See excerpts from his interview in a forthcoming page on this website.

He is buried in Larkin Sunset Gardens, Sandy, Utah

Kyle Rote  (1928-2002)

Wide Receiver—(Southern Methodist) New York Giants 1951-61 [All-American 1950, No. 1 Draft Choice 1951, College Football Hall of Fame 1964]

[He was an] intelligent guy on that team was Kyle Rote, the captain of the offense.  Smart and loved by everyone . . . .Oh, he'd drink a little and smoke a little and played some poker like the rest of us, but he was such a gentleman.  It seemed like any time a kid was born to a player, if it was a boy, they'd name him Kyle.  Jim Patton had a son named Kyle.  Frank Gifford named a son Kyle.  I used to joke that everybody named their sons Kyle and their dogs Sam.
    Sam Huff

 

This Alan Maver cartoon appeared in newspapers in August 1951.  I have two other different Rote-signed cartoons dating from 1950 and 1952.  See entry for Crazy Legs Hirsch for explanation about this signed portrait sketch.

See a video clip of Kyle Rote in a November 27, 1955, 35-35 tie game between the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns in the Polo Grounds.

He is buried in National Memorial Park, Falls Church, Virginia. 

George "Rowdy" Roudebush  (1894-1992)

Back—(Denison, 1911-15) Canton Bulldogs 1915, Dayton Triangles 1919-21

When [Nelson] Talbott took over the Triangles in 1919, he wanted me to come down and play . . . .For those two seasons I commuted from Cleveland to play on the weekend.  My legal work was building and prospering and it got too much for me to continue playing.

    George M. Roudebush

Lou “The Battler” Rymkus  (1919-1998)

Tackle—(Notre Dame) Washington Redskins 1943, Cleveland Browns 1946-51; Coach—Houston Oilers 1960

Lou Rymkus, an offensive tackle for Cleveland, is another I always considered outstanding—I used to go toe-to-toe with him.
    Arnie Weinmeister

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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