Vintage Football Autographs

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

Marchmont "Marchy" Schwartz  (1909-1991)

Halfback—(Notre Dame) Coach—Creighton 1935-39, Stanford 1942,1946-50  [All-American 1930-31, College Football Hall of Fame 1974]

Schwartz was fast and elusive.  He was a fine passer and, as it developed in 1930, perhaps the most consistently effective ground-gainer of all . . . .Schwartz was an excellent kicker.
    Frank Carideo

CLICK HERE TO READ A NOTE SENT TO ME BY MARCHIE SCHWARTZ REGARDING A LAUGHABLE OFFER HE GOT TO PLAY PRO BALL WITH THE CHICAGO BEARS FROM GEORGE HALAS. 

 

Frank "Fireball Frankie" Sinkwich  (1920-1990)

Halfback—(Georgia) Detroit Lions 1943-44, New York Yankees 1946-47, Baltimore Colts 1947; Coach—University of Tampa 1950-51  [#1 Rushing NCAA 1941, #1 Total Offense NCAA 1942, Walter Camp Award 1942, All-American 1941-42, Heisman Trophy 1942, No. 1 Draft Choice 1943, College Football Hall of Fame 1954, #1 Punting 1943, All Pro 1943-44, MVP 1944]

He was a fine back . . . .In fact, of all the players I went up against the toughest to tackle were Sinkwich, Steve Van Buren, and Tony Canadeo.  It was almost impossible to get a clean shot at any one of them and it was really difficult to bring them down one on one.  But Nagurski could freeze Sinkwich.  I don't know what it was about Bronko but he had this thing over Sink.  I mean Sinkwich would run with the ball and when Nagurski would zero in on him old Sink would just freeze up and Nagurski would nail him every time.  Nobody else in the game could do that to Sinkwich.
    Jim Benton

 

I feel very fortunate to have half a dozen autographs signed by Sinkwich.  I recall the shock of reading about his death in the sports pages, literally only months after receiving some autographs from him.  I think that is the first moment that I came to a realization that many of those in the generation of football players I was most interested in touching base with were themselves taxiing to the finish line.

He was cremated and the location of his ashes is unknown. 

Bob Snyder  (1913-2001)

Quarterback—(Ohio) Pittsburgh Americans (AFL) 1936, Cleveland Rams 1937-38, Chicago Bears 1939-41,1943  [#1 Scoring AFL 1936]

The locker room boy would give everyone a jockstrap, a pair of sweat socks and a T-shirt.  That was all you got. After practice, you'd go in the shower with everything on and wash it all out. Then, you'd go out and hang it on the bushes and hoped it got dry.

    Bob Snyder, on the Bears’ training camp at Delafield, Wisconsin

 

After our sixth T.D. in the 73-0 game the referee asked us to run for the extra point. They were out of game balls, because they sold standing room tickets and people were along the side lines and end zones and any ball that went out of bounds—punt, K.O. or for any other reason, the people kept them.  Really the score should have [been] 77-0.  We had 10 men score 11 T.D's.  Harry Clark a 'Rookie' from U of West Virginia scored twice. . . .  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS LETTER THAT BOB SNYDER WROTE TO ME ABOUT THE 1940 NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WHICH WAS THE MOST LOPSIDED GAME IN NFL HISTORY

 

Mac Speedie  (1920-1993)

End—(Utah) Fort Warren Broncos 1945, Cleveland Browns 1946-52, Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL) 1953-54; Coach—Denver Broncos 1964-66 [#1 Pass Receiving AAFC 1947-49,#1 All-Time AAFC Pass Receiving, #11 All-Time AAFC Scoring, All Pro 1950,1952]

Mac was faster and smoother. He was almost impossible to cover one on one.  Mac wasn't a Bobby Layne, but he also wasn't an Otto Graham.  He was a happy-go-lucky type of guy and he had a lot of fun. . . . Quite honestly, I think Paul Brown is the reason [Speedie isn’t in the Hall of Fame].  Paul wasn't the type of guy you crossed. He would never forget it.
    Otto Graham

This Tom Paprocki cartoon appeared in newspapers in November 1951. I also have a Speedie-signed 1948 Alan Maver cartoon.  I have an affinity for Speedie for several reasons.  First, we are both Utah alums.  I admire him for the grit he showed as young boy when he was hampered for months wearing a brace.  Speedie talked of this time in his life:  "I don't suppose I ever would have been ambitious enough to excel at athletics if I hadn't been a cripple as a kid.  I spent so much time eating my heart out because I couldn't play normally that when they took the brace [to stretch the leg] off and I found I had legs that matched [his left leg had been two inches shorter than his right leg at age eight], it was like turning a frisky colt out to pasture after a year in a box."  I have shared that inspirational story with Boy Scouts when I was a scout leader.  Like many others, I think he deservedly belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Ernie Steele  (1917-2006)

Back—(Washington) Philadelphia Eagles 1942,1944-48, Phil-Pitt Steagles 1943

 

On this 3x5 card written to me in 1989, Ernie wrote:  "It was great to play pro ball.  I played for 8 years World Champions '48' & '49' Eagles   I still hold the records for punt returns 26.4.  The hardest hitter was "Bull Dog Turner" Chicago Bears (Best [player] Steve Van Buren Eagles)." 

Isn't this a great photo! The Eagles PR guy when I started collecting was Jim Gallagher. He was the best. I could buy old 8x10 photos like this from him for $1. The only one I wasn't able to have sign this was Jack Banta (far left).  Banta died a decade before I began collecting. Ernie Steele is second from the left (#37).  The others to the right of Steele are Jack Hinkle (#43), Steve Van Buren (#15), and Mel Bleeker (#49).  Love those helmets.

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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