Team Cards 1960-63

In a previous post, I noted that Topps used the same 1958 Packers’ team photo for its team cards in 1959-63. Here are custom versions of the 1960-63 team cards, using the actual team photo for that year. Although the 1961 Fleer set did not create team cards, I have included a custom version of what that could have looked like. To see the real Topps cards, visit the Vintage Football Card Gallery link on the right side of this page.

1960team Topps 1960

1961team Topps 1961

1961fteam Fleer 1961

1962team Topps 1962

1963team Topps 1963

 

Bear Meat

When the Packers and Bears meet at Lambeau Field this evening, it will be the 192nd game between the two rival franchises, including two playoff games and the 1921 game when the Bears were known as the Staleys. The overall record stands at Packers 92, Bears 93 and six ties. Should Thanksgiving prove to have a happy ending in Green Bay, the Packers will have drawn even with the Bears for the first time since October 21, 1933. For 82 years, the Bears have held the advantage. The only period Green Bay has been even or ahead in the series was from September 28, 1930 until October 22, 1933, when Chicago beat Green Bay 10-7 with 10 fourth quarter points.

Curly Lambeau continually found himself outcoached by Halas throughout the remainder of the 1930s, and in the 1940s was increasingly outmanned. When Vince Lombardi took over in 1959, the Packers record in the rivalry was 25-48-6. At this first all-time low point, Green Bay was 23 games under .500. Over the next 16 years, Lombardi, Bengtson and Devine posted a 23-9 mark against Chicago, but then Starr, Gregg and Infante reversed that to 9-23 in the ensuing 17 years (no games in 1982).

However, since Ron Wolf installed his coach and organizational framework in 1992, the Packers record against the Bears is 35-13. (Although he was hired on November 27, 1991, we can’t hang that December 1991 loss to Chicago on Wolf.) The following two tables give the breakdown for Packer starting quarterbacks (since 1950) and head coaches (since 1921) against the Bears. The three quarterbacks most responsible for turning the series around will be present tonight. Go Pack Go.

 

Starting Quarterback W L %  
John Hadl 2 0 100.0%  
Zeke Bratkowski 1 0 100.0%  
Don Horn 1 0 100.0%  
Aaron Rodgers 13 3 81.3%  
Scott Hunter 4 1 80.0%  
Brett Favre 22 10 68.8%  
Bart Starr 15 10 60.0%  
Don Majkowski 2 2 50.0%  
Jerry Tagge 1 1 50.0%  
Lamar McHan 1 1 50.0%  
David Whitehurst 2 3 40.0%  
Lynn Dickey 3 7 30.0%  
Tobin Rote 3 11 21.4%  
Blair Kiel 0 1 0.0%  
Jim Zorn 0 1 0.0%  
Carlos Brown 0 1 0.0%  
Don Milan 0 1 0.0%  
Mike Tomczak 0 1 0.0%  
John Roach 0 1 0.0%  
Anthony Dilweg 0 1 0.0%  
Randy Wright 0 6 0.0%  
70 62 53.0%  
         
Coach W L T %
Curly Lambeau 21 35 5 38.5%
Gene Ronzani 2 5 1 31.3%
Lisle Blackbourn 2 6 0 25.0%
Scooter McLean 0 2 0 0.0%
Vince Lombardi 13 5 0 72.2%
Phil Bengtson 4 2 0 66.7%
Dan Devine 6 2 0 75.0%
Bart Starr 6 10 0 37.5%
Forrest Gregg 1 7 0 12.5%
Lindy Infante 2 6 0 25.0%
Mike Holmgren 12 2 0 85.7%
Ray Rhodes 1 1 0 50.0%
Mike Sherman 8 4 0 66.7%
Mike McCarthy 14 6 0 70.0%
92 93 6 49.7%

53manblstarr

53manbfavre

53manarodgers

 

Packers Top Rookie: 1960

Rookies1960tmoore

The 1960 NFL draft was the last for scout Jack Vainisi and the first for Vince Lombardi, but it was not a very good one. The best pick, Iowa halfback Bob Jeter, came in round two, but instead signed in Canada with the BC Lions. The third and fourth round picks had been traded away, so following top pick Tom Moore, the next pick to make the team was fifth rounder Dale Hackbart from Wisconsin. Those traded draft picks had brought value in 1959, though. Quarterback Lamar McHan was acquired for the third rounder and Hall of Famer Henry Jordan for the fourth rounder.

The only other pick to make the squad was Paul Winslow, a halfback from North Carolina Central. Andy Cvercko, a guard from Northwestern drafted in the fifth round of the 1959 draft, also joined the team in 1960 after spending the prior season in the injured list. Finally, three free agents stuck in Green Bay in 1960: Willie Wood, a quarterback from USC; Ken Iman, a center/linebacker from Southeast Missouri State and Dick Pesonen, a defensive back from Minnesota-Duluth.

Winslow had one moment of glory as a Packer when he blocked a punt and fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown in the the season finale Western Conference clincher against the Rams in Los Angeles. Winslow left a year later in the Vikings expansion draft, while Cvercko was traded to the second-year Cowboys in 1961. Journeymen Hackbart and Pesonen would each play in the league for several seasons, but not for the Packers. Ken Iman was a talented reserve for four years in Green Bay, who was sent to Los Angeles as payment for Zeke Bratkowski in 1964 and started for the Rams at center for a decade.

Future Hall of Famer Willie Wood ultimately would prove to be the gem of the 1960 rookie class, but as a freshman, he struggled when he was inserted into the lineup at cornerback against the Colts and was nothing special returning punts. He would emerge as a star safety a year later.

Top pick Tom Moore, a halfback from Vanderbilt, was destined to be a reserve and kick returner for his entire Packer career, but played well right from the start. As a rookie, Moore averaged 5.3 yards per carry backing up Paul Hornung and led the league with a 33.1 kick return average. He was the Packers top rookie in 1960.

Minnesota Connections

Today, November 22, 2015, the Packers meet the Vikings in Minnesota with first place in the Central Division at stake. This game also will mark the third time the Packers have met the Vikings on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers 19-7 on October 5, 1969 when Metropolitan Stadium was being used for a Twins playoff game. Last year, the teams met on November 23rd, and the Packers prevailed 24-21. This year will mark the final time they meet on campus because the Vikings move into their new dome in 2016.

Before the Vikings came into the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1961, the Packers relied heavily on talent from the University of Minnesota. 44 Minnesota Gophers have played for the Packers, and 28 of them played for Green Bay under Curly Lambeau. Lambeau liked the local university so much that he made a Gopher his number one draft choice four of five years from 1939-43 with Larry Buhler, Hal Van Every, Urban Odson and Dick WIldung being the picks. The only year he skipped, 1941, he grabbed a Gopher in round two with Bob Paffrath, who never played with Green Bay. Wildung was the only one to have a sterling Packer career, though. Since then, Green Bay has selected a Minnesota player in the first round three times: 1950 Clayton Tonnemaker, 1966 Gale Gillingham and 1990 Darrell Thompson. While the first two were All-Pros, Thompson was a bust. The last Minnesota player to don Green and Gold was Tony Carter in 2002.

When the Vikings came into the league in 1961, they selected three Packers in the expansion draft: halfback Paul Winslow, defensive tackle Ken Beck and defensive back Dick Pesonen. Pesonen, who hailed from the University of Minnesota at Duluth was the only one to make the initial Vikings squad. The other two players never again appeared in the NFL, although Beck did play in Canada.

1960tdpesonen3.jpg  1960tpwinslow

1960tkbeck4  1961tkbeck

Custom cards of the expansion draft players.

1950s Team Cards

In the football card sets for the 1950s, Bowman never produced team cards, while Topps just did so for 1956, 1957 and 1958. Topps used the previous year’s team photo but colorize them to resemble uniforms the Packers did not wear. In fact, Topps liked the 1958 team photo they used in 1959 so much, they reused it in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963, at which time they lost the NFL contract to Philadelphia Gum.

So what I’ve done here is create Packer team cards from 1951-59; the 1950 Bowmans were too small to use for a team card. I have used the current year’s team photo for each team card, although I did cheat in 1955 and use the Topps colorization of the 1955 photo that Topps used on its 1956 card.

I colorized the 1951, 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1959 team photos for these custom cards.

1951bteam  1952bteam
1953bteam  1954bteam  1955bpackers  1956tteam  1957tteam2  1958tteam  1959team2

 

Packers Top Rookie: 1959

Rookies1959bdowler

1959 was the year of the big change in Packers history. Vince Lombardi signed on as the team’s Coach/GM on February 2, 1959 and would bring in 12 new Packers for his first season in Green Bay. However, only five newcomers were rookies, and only three of those rookies were selected in that year’s NFL draft. Lombardi had nothing to do with the 1959 draft that was held on two days: rounds one to four on December 2, 1958 and rounds five to 30 on January 21, 1959.

The 1959 draft was probably Jack Vainisi’s weakest in his tenure. First round pick quarterback Randy Duncan of Iowa signed with the BC Lions in Canada rather than Green Bay. Had the Packers decided on Iowa Coach Forrest Evashevski as their new head man, Duncan may have signed with the Packers, but ultimately losing Duncan was not a loss. He tossed 25 touchdowns and 38 interceptions in two years up north, before signing on as the backup quarterback for the Dallas Texans of the AFL in 1961 and completed just 37% of his passes in his last season in pro football.

Second round pick Alex Hawkins, a free-spirited halfback from South Carolina, did not get along Lombardi and was sold to the Colts before the season began. Max McGee and Paul Hornung lost a potential wingman for their night life escapades that day, and Alex would go on to become the first kicking teams’ captain in the NFL.

Boyd Dowler, the team’s third round pick from Colorado, was the only gem of the draft. A single-wing quarterback for the Buffalos, he led the team in both passing and receiving as a senior. Lombardi converted Boyd to flanker, and he would go on to be named to the All-Decade team for the 1960s. The other two draftees to make the Packers were 27th round halfback from Ball State, Timmy Brown, who was cut after some troubles holding on to the ball in the opener against the Bears, and 19th round defensive back Bill Butler from Chattanooga, who was waived in August but re-signed to replace Brown in week two. Fifth round Northwestern guard Andy Cvercko spent the season on the injured list. Brown would prove to be an excellent scat back for the Eagles in the 1960s.

The team’s other two rookies were drafted by other teams. Tight end A.D. Williams was drafted in 1956 by the Rams, but spent three years in the military before catching on with the Packers as a free agent. Texas A&M defensive tackle Ken Beck was drafted by the Cardinals and acquired for a 10th round pick.

Dowler was the only one to have an impact. Boyd caught 32 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns and was named NFL Rookie of the Year; he was the Packers’ top rookie for 1959.

Blocking Back

For nine years now, John Kuhn has been a popular figure in Green Bay despite not being in the position to accumulate yards as a modern day fullback who gets on the field almost solely to block. 80 years ago, the Packers had another popular blocking back, albeit 55 pounds lighter than Kuhn, who lasted nine years with the team – Hank Bruder. Bruder played both offense and defense, but it’s funny how similar the meager offensive statistics of the two are as of this writing:

G             AT           Rush      YPA        TD           Catches                Yards     YPC        TD           Scrimmage Yards

Kuhn     131         189         577         3.1          14           78           529         6.8          8              1,106

Bruder  98           265         778         2.9          7              31           487         15.7        6              1,265

Bruder was known as “Hard Luck Hank” at Northwestern, where he injured the nerves in his hip, tore knee ligaments, broke his leg and contracted smallpox. Still, he was team captain as a senior and an All-Conference back who signed with Curtly Lambeau in 1931. The Milwaukee Sentinel said of Bruder before the Packers broke training camp that September, “Hank won’t set the league afire with his plunging or his open field work, but he’s big and tough and ought to be the high class, rough and tumble blocker that the Packers have needed.”

After a 14-10 win over the Giants in New York on November 22, 1931, the New York Times raved, ”In the second half the Giants defense began cracking under the pile driver pounding of Hank Bruder of Northwestern University fame. Bruder’s terrific punch came into play both offensively and defensively and it was his headlong dive into the Giant phalanx that turned the tide the other way.”

The New York World Telegram added, “The second Packer backfield, with Russ Saunders and Hank Bruder doing the ball carrying, was instrumental in producing the winning touchdown…there was no holding the lightning fast Saunders or the hard plunging Bruder.”

In 1936, Curly Lambeau extolled Hank to the Milwaukee Journal, “He is a great pass receiver, is smart on defense, a good punter, a smashing tackler, a good passer and a real hard blocker. He has no weaknesses. He is the most valuable man on the team.” Perhaps a bit over the top, but Bruder was a solid team player.

For his part, Bruder piped up, “I like to carry the ball and, like everyone else, I like the write-ups. But I like most to win those football games. I never knew how a lineman played or how he felt until I became a blocking quarter[back]. But I like to play football. I like the body contacts, like to ‘hit them where they live,’ like to get the other guy. I would play in the line if they would let me. In fact, a couple of times I have asked for a chance to play guard.”

Hank played on championship teams in 1931, 1936 and 1939 in Green Bay. He was traded to Pittsburgh for guard Lew Midler in 1940 and broke his ankle late in the year against the Giants, essentially ending his career. A few years later, tailback Cecil Isbell lamented, “I hadn’t been up in Green Bay long when I saw Lambeau go around the locker room and tell players like Herber and Gantenbein and Bruder that they were all done with the Packers…I vowed it would never happen to me.”

1929chabruder  1936hbruder  1939hbruderc

Three colorized custom card designs for Hank Bruder.