Leather Helmets and Art, Pt. I

I love shiny new football and baseball cards as much as the next kid, but nothing compares to a classic piece of cardboard that’s older than your parents…nothing.  The flimsiness of the cardboard with the faded images and slightly rounded corners accompanied by the occasional crease or ding cannot be matched by any fill in the blank-fractor of any kind.  That said, I still love me some shiny cards.  But this post isn’t about shiny new things.  It’s about well taken care of old things.

As i’ve been attempting to get my ducks in a row i’ve been craving some older, vintage Redskin cards.  Every time I hit up the local card shows and shops I gravitate towards the newer stuff because that’s what most people deal in.  Who doesn’t like the hits??!!?!  Typically when they have vintage cards, it’s baseball…which i adore, but at this point in my hobby life I do not collect.  Right now, for me, vintage football is where it’s at.  This led to me trolling the electronic bay for some great deals on 1950’s and 1960’s cards and I was lucky enough to stumble across a seller that was breaking old sets and selling the singles.  The items he had appeared to be in excellent condition.  At least what i could tell from his scans.  Another bonus was that he started everything at the ebay standard of 99cents.  This is the point where my attention was grabbed by the short hairs…and now i am going to share.

Initially I thought I should do one post showing everything but decided it would be more funner-er to do multiple posts and I could get more value out of the posts.  PLUS! It would allow me to do a little research on these guys that i’ve never heard of.

Let the good times roll.

First up, Harry Gilmer.  Card number 66 of the 1950 Bowman Football set.  Beautiful, eh?  Check out the cedar fence in the background and that old school burgundy and gold sweater.  AND THAT FREAKIN’ HELMET.  HOLY CRAP!  You are staring at the eyes of a man.  A man that is tougher than any sports card collector i’ve ever met.  These cards are unbelievably beautiful with the same look and feel as the baseball version…it’s almost a shame that they are not larger as they measure approximately 2″ x 2 1/2″.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

50 BO Harry Gilmer F

Needless to say, Harry is a very stoic man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and just may be a little too intense…or focused?  The back of his card tells me that he was the number one bonus choice.  Which is the equivalent of today’s modern draft, but different I guess, because he was a bonus selection.  I’m sure a lot of work went in to scouting and researching the players although I don’t think Bert Bell was mightily booed when he came to the podium to announce; “With the first pick in the NFL draft, the Washington Redskins select Harry Gilmer from the University of Alabama!”  Harry would then kiss his mom and baby mama before heading out of the green room with a meticulously tailored suit, crazy striped socks and a timeless, yet modern fedora.  OK, maybe not.

50 BO Harry Gilmer B

The last thing i want to mention and that i’m loving about these old ass cards is the write up on the backs.  I can’t help but read it in that old sports guy voice.  My favorite note is the part about the leg injury that “kept him in hospitals and on crutches the whole season.”  Hospitals, as in multiple.  Could Mr. George Preston Marshall not get Harry in a good DC area hospital?  Maybe they were dealing with war veterans at the moment.

Finally…Harry was 100% on passing attempts for the 1945 Sugar Bowl against the Duke-ies going 8 for 8.  Man, the game has really changed…Peyton does that on one 80 yard drive, and I hope he does it this Sunday multiple times.