The Post War Cards Newsletter #31
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🏈 The Football HOFer Who Played In The NBA
In March of 2022, I wrote an article about Dave DeBusschere, an NBA Hall of Famer who also had a stint as a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Among the 13 athletes to play in both the NBA and MLB, DeBusschere was undoubtedly the most successful at basketball. But then I saw a tweet from Phungo2008 on Twitter about Bud Grant. It turns out he is one of just two athletes to have played in the NFL and NBA, the other being Otto Graham (on the Rochester Royals of the NBL).
Today, Grant is known for being the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings for 18 seasons, winning 11 division titles. But he was also an incredibly versatile athlete. He played baseball, basketball, and football at the University of Minnesota. He was then drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1950 NBA Draft (47th overall). The Philadelphia Eagles also drafted him in the 1950 NFL Draft (14th overall), but he chose to play basketball. Grant played two seasons as a reserve for the Lakers, winning the NBA championship in 1950. He then ended his basketball career, contacted the Eagles, and played for them as a Defensive End during the 1951 NFL season before switching to receiver the following year. When his contract expired, he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (of the CFL), where he played from 1953 through 1956.
What’s cool is that Grant has a trio of cards from his playing days. His lone basketball card is a 1950 Lakers Scott’s Potato Chips card, which is a really rare and pricey oddball. The back of the card discusses his time with the Eagles.
Grant’s first football card is the 1954 Blue Ribbon TEA CFL #7 card, which discusses his time with the Lakers on the back!
Grant also had a card in the 1956 Parkhurst CFL set, card #37, which is also tough to track down.
After playing, he was a coach for the Blue Bombers from 1957-1966 and for the Minnesota Vikings from 1967-1983; and 1985. He and Warren Moon are the only people in both the Canadian and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There are many professional multi-sport athletes, but very few excel at basketball and football since the games require pretty different physical traits. Recently Mark Vital came close, playing Summer League basketball and making NFL practice squads. A few NFL players played college basketball, and Dave Winfield was drafted across three sports (basketball, basketball, and football - also out of the University of Minnesota). Charlie Ward was also a standout basketball and football player, winning the college Heisman Trophy before committing to the NBA.
✍️ Great Hobby Writing
The Baseball Card Blog: Driven to A Life of Crime by Baseball Cards
The Topps Archives: Color Me Impressed
Collecting Canadian Football: 1962 Post Short Print Surprise - (Volume 1 Update)
Baseball Cards Come To Life: Vintage equipment: 1967 Topps
Night Owl Cards: May the '70s and '80s always reign
A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts: Books, out of the blue!
Nine Pockets: A Piece of Childhood Reclaimed: Entex Hand-Held Baseball Game
SABR's Baseball Cards Research Committee: 2023 SABR Jefferson Burdick Award Winners
Sports Card Info: How To Spot A Fake Emmitt Smith 1990 Score Supplemental Rookie Card
Sports Collectors Digest: Hobby Mantras All Collectors Should Follow
🧢 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese Photographs
One of the classic post-war cards from one of the most beautiful sets (with some great unopened products) of all time is the 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese. The image of him leaping stands out, particularly amongst the other posed portraits in the set. I wrote a few words about the card back in December 2020 and shared a few Getty Images taken of Reese during spring training in Vero Beach, Florida, but I couldn't find a shot close to that used on the card.
Well, cheers to 1953BowmanColor (Alex) on Twitter, who, on March 27th, shared an October 1950 issue of the National Police Gazette featuring Reeese in flight, and while not the exact image used on the card, it's definitely from the same photo shoot.
The next day, Alex (bowman53_alex on IG) shared the cover of the July 7th, 1948 This Week Magazine from the New York Herald Tribune featuring a full image, though it's not precisely the same image on the card either.
Finally, on April 15th, Alex shared the name of the photographer who took the image - David Peskin. Peskin took many photos for Sports Illustrated, Life, Look, and Collier's of live sports events in the 40s and 50s, including the stunning image of Reese leaping in Sprint Training, likely in 1948.
Alex summarized a lot of information about the iconic 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese in an incredible YouTube video!
I'd love to find copies of these magazines for my hobby library, but they're pretty rare; let me know if you've got a lead!
🗒️ Substack Notes
In case you didn’t know, Substack launched a thing called Notes. It’s a place to share short-form posts & ideas to foster engagement; a forum for dialogue without a lot of legacy social media drawbacks. And if you’re a subscriber to this newsletter and have a Substack login, you’re automatically following me. Here’s one example: