Sunday, January 17, 2010

San Diego Chargers

Here are the 10 cards for the 1971 San Diego Chargers. (Actually, 3 of these players were already off the team by the time the cards came out.) Unlike the 3 teams already posted, there are no all-stars in this bunch. After all, it is 1971 and it is the Chargers!

#255 John Hadl - Hadl has been with the Chargers since 1962, and was the starting QB for all those seasons except 1963, when Tobin Rote led the team. After 1972, Hadl moved on to the Rams, Packers, and Oilers, retiring after the 1974 season. He was the last QB to wear a number higher than #19, wearing #21 for his entire career except while at Green Bay.

#66 Marty Domres - A rookie in 1969, Domres was being groomed as Hadl's eventual replacement, but was traded to the Baltimore Colts before the 1972 season for Johnny Unitas.

#119 Mike Garrett - Garrett was a star with the Chiefs for his first 4 seasons, before being traded to the Chargers during the 1970 season. He played for the Chargers until retiring after the 1973 season.

#229 Dickie Post - Post was a Chargers' rookie in 1967, and led the AFL in rushing in 1969 with 873 yards. His production dropped in 1970, when Mike Garrett joined the team and took carries away from Post. Although appearing on the card as a Charger, he played for the Oilers and Broncos (not the Chargers) in 1971.

#10 Lance Alworth - After a promising rookie season in 1962, Alworth became one of the top receivers in the AFL from 1963 onward. He led the league in receiving TDs from 1964-66, and in receiving yards in '65, '66, and '68. Before this 1971 season, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys (replacing the departed Lance Rentzel) where he helped get them to Super Bowl VI.

#172 Gary Garrison - Gary played for the Chargers from 1966 to 1976, before finishing up his career with the Oilers in 1977. He made the Pro Bowl 4 times.

#201 Mike Mercer - Mercer didn't play during the 1971 season, but had kicked for 6 teams in a 10-year career spanning 1961 to 1970 (Vikings, Raiders, Chiefs, Bills, Packers, and Chargers). He also punted for the Vikings and Chiefs, and was the Chargers backup punter in 1970.

#92 Steve DeLong - The Chargers' 1st-round pick in 1965, he played on their defensive line through the 1971 season, and finished up with the Bears in 1972.

#42 Rick Redman - Rick played his entire career (1965-73) with the Chargers. Early on, he was their middle linebacker before moving outside beginning in 1971. He was also the Chargers' punter from 1965 to 1967.

#148 Speedy Duncan - As you may guess from his name, Speedy was a kick and punt returner for his entire career (1964-74). He was also the Charger's right cornerback from 1964 to 1969. From 1970 until the end of his career, he was primarily a return specialist. He played for the Washington Redskins for his last 4 seasons, including in Super Bowl VII.

Also see the 1968 and 1972 Chargers.

Next time: Los Angeles Rams

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers must have been a pretty good team back in the early 1970s, since Topps had designated 3 of their players as All-Stars (including the QB).

A quick check of shows that they were just coming off a 1970 season where they finished 1st in the NFC West, with a 10-3-1 record (the 2nd best record in the NFC after Minnesota). They lost the NFC Championship game to the Cowboys.

In 1971, they slipped to 9-5, but still finished 1st in the division. In both seasons, they were 1 win ahead of the Rams.

#100 John Brodie - Brodie's rookie season in San Francisco was 1957. In 1970, he was the league's MVP and leading passer. His last season as a fulltime starter was 1971, as he shared the QB job with Steve Spurrier in 1972 & 1973.

#129 Ken Willard - This card tells us that Willard led the 49ers in rushing for each of his 1st 6 seasons (1965-70). After 9 seasons as a 49ers regular, Ken finished his career as a bit player with the Cardinals in 1974.

#165 Gene Washington - Gene was an instant sensation from his rookie season in 1969. In 1970, he led the league with 1100 receiving yards. Washington was the 49ers' star receiver for 9 years, then missed the 1978 season. In 1979, he finished his career with the Lions.

#52 Cas Banaszek - Banaszek played his entire career (1967-77) with the 49ers. He was drafted as a linebacker, and switched to tackle in his 2nd season. Cas was the 49ers' starting right tackle for the remainder of his career.

#77 Bruce Gossett - The only player in this set that didn't begin his career with San Francisco, Gossett played 6 seasons with the Rams before moving to the 49ers in 1970. He led the league in scoring in 1966. Bruce finished his career with the 49ers in 1974.

#149 Cedric Hardman - Cedric played 10 seasons with the 49ers (1970-79) before hopping across the bay to Oakland for 2 more seasons. He played in 2 Pro Bowls.

#213 Charlie Krueger - When I got this card in 1971, I thought Krueger looked like somebody's grandpa, but he was only 36 at the time. Charlie didn't play during his rookie season of 1958, but he was a fixture on the 49ers' defensive line from 1959 through 1973. After a few seasons at defensive end, he was the 49ers' starting left defensive tackle for the rest of his career. This is one of the few lineman's cards with a statistics chart on the back, thanks to an interception in 1969.

#189 Dave Wilcox - Dave was the 49ers' starting left linebacker for 11 seasons (1964-74). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. (I always thought he looked like Gilligan on this card.)

#24 Jim Johnson - The 49ers' 1st draft pick in 1961, Johnson played 16 seasons (starting at left cornerback from 1964-76) until his retirement following the 1976 season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. He is the brother of former Olympic track star Rafer Johnson.

#239 Bruce Taylor - San Francisco's other cornerback was a first round pick in 1970. He played 8 seasons, all with the 49ers. For most of his career, he was also the team's punt returner.

Also check out the 1967 and 1972 49ers.