Monday, February 18, 2019

Jim Ringo - C

Jim Ringo was a Hall of Fame center who played for the Eagles from 1964-67, starting all 56 games during that 4-year span.

Ringo was the Packers' 7th-round pick in 1953, and played for the Pack from 1953-63. He was their starting center in all but his rookie season, and made the Pro Bowl in his last 7 seasons with Green Bay. He was also named 1st-team All-Pro in 6 of those 7 seasons.

As the story goes, after the 1963 season he went into Vince Lombardi's office to negotiate a pay raise. Lombardi excused himself for a few minutes, and when he returned to his office, he notified Ringo that he had just been traded - and to the lowly Eagles to boot. (Lombardi pulled a similar move on Jim Taylor 3 years later.)

The Eagles also got fullback Earl Gros in the deal, in exchange for linebacker Lee Roy Caffey and a first-round pick that ended up being running back Donny Anderson.

Ringo anchored the Eagles' offensive line for the next 4 seasons, then retired. He made 3 more Pro Bowls as an Eagle. He had started EVERY game from 1955 to 1967.

Jim was the Buffalo Bills' head coach for the '76 and '77 seasons. After that he was an offensive line coach for the Patriots (1979-81) and the Bills (1984-88).

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981. He was only the 2nd center to be inducted whose career was primarily after the 1940s. (Jim Otto having been inducted in 1980.)

Ringo passed away in 2007, 2 days before his 76th birthday.

These are Ringo's only Eagles' cards ('65, '66).

Where's Waldo Jim?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Lane Howell - T

Book-ending the Eagles' O-line along with Bob Brown for the 2nd half of the 1960s was Lane Howell. 

Howell was the Giants' 15th-round pick in the 1963 draft. After two seasons as a reserve, he was traded to the Eagles for guard Pete Case.

Incidentally, the Eagles' top 3 picks in 1963 were all offensive linemen: 
#1 - G Ed Budde, who signed with the Chiefs and was a 7-time Pro Bowler in his 14-year career. 
#2 - C Ray Mansfield, who after 1 year as a reserve was sold to the Steelers and was their starting center through 1976. 
#3 -  C Dave Crossan, who didn't play for the Eagles, but was the Redskins' backup center from 1965-69. 

Howell played his final 5 seasons with the Eagles, and was the starting left tackle for all those years. He played 64 games for the Eagles, starting 58 of them.

Lane was cut at the end of training camp in 1970, The record shows he was claimed by the Rams, but released 2 weeks later, not having played any games for Los Angeles. (The record also shows the Eagles re-signed him in July 1971, but he didn't make the team.)

Howell passed away in January 2018 at age 76.

He had 2 brothers who also played in the NFL: Mike was a defensive back for the Browns from 1965-72, and Delles was a cornerback for the Saints and Jets from 1970-75.

Howell did not appear on any football cards issued by Topps or Philadelphia Gum. This is a custom 1966 card made by RetroCards, which I purchased along with 8 other 1966-style Eagles cards.

Where's Waldo Lane?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Bob Brown - T

Bob Brown was an All-Pro tackle for the Eagles from 1964 to 1968. He was the Eagles' #1 pick (2nd overall) in the 1964 draft, and started every game at right tackle during his 5 seasons with the Birds, except for missing 6 games in 1967 due to injury.

Brown was also the #1 pick (4th overall) of the Broncos in the AFL draft. Denver had the #1 overall pick, but traded down to #4, sending the top pick to Boston (which turned out to be QB Jack Concannon - who also signed with the Eagles!) . So the Eagles spanked both the Broncos and the Patriots in that draft!

"The Boomer" was named 1st-team All-Pro 3 times as an Eagle (all but his rookie season and the injury-shortened 1967). At 6'4", 280 lbs, he was huge for an O-lineman at that time.
Other top tackles of the day: Forrest Gregg (250 lbs), Ron Mix (250), Dick Schafrath (253), Rayfield Wright (255), Art Shell (265).

After the 1968 season, the Eagles were sold to Leonard Tose, and a new GM (Pete Retzlaff) and new head coach (Jerry Williams) were hired. Brown made it known he would not play for a team having Retzlaff as the GM. Did he think Pete was incompetent? A racist? Maybe some bad blood from their days as teammates? Inquiring minds want to know.

Brown was traded to the Rams in May 1969 (along with cornerback Jim Nettles) for CB Irv Cross, T Joe Carollo, and G Don Chuy. All 3 ex-Rams were near the end of their careers, with Cross and Chuy only playing 1 season each for the Eagles, and Carollo playing 2 seasons before returning to the Rams.

Meanwhile, Bob was again named 1st-team All-Pro in his 2 seasons with the Rams. He finished his career with 3 seasons in Oakland, making the Pro Bowl during his first season there. Brown was the Rams' or Raiders' starting right tackle for all those seasons.

He retired after the 1973 season, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Here are his only Eagles cards ('66, '67). He also had cards as a Ram and Raider.

I looked up "Badass Mo-fo" in the dictionary, and this picture came up!

Where's Waldo Bob?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mike Evans - C

Mike Evans had a 6-year career in the NFL from 1968 to 1973, and was the Eagles' starting center for the middle 4 seasons.

Evans was the team's 9th-round pick in the 1968 draft. Veteran center Jim Ringo retired after the 1967 season, so the Eagles drafted Evans and signed Gene Ceppetelli from the CFL. Ceppetelli started most of the games in '68, but Evans played in 6 games (and started 4) in his rookie season.

He then anchored the O-line for the next 4 seasons, starting 13, 14, 14 and 12 games in that span. (I have a vague recollection that he missed most of one season (either '71 or '72) while the Eagles' tried to make-do with journeyman center Jerry Sturm and backup guard Mark Nordquist snapping the ball, but the record shows Evans played 12 games (all starts) in 1972, so my memory is slipping.)

In his final NFL season (1973), Evans played in all 14 games but only started 5, with rookie Guy Morriss starting 9 games.

Evans was traded to Detroit in January 1974 for safety Willie Germany, but did not make the Lions' team. He played for two WFL teams that season before retiring.

(Evans had no football cards)

Where's Waldo Mike?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Floyd Peters - DT

Floyd Peters played 6 seasons for the Eagles (1964-69), and was their starting left defensive tackle for 5 1/2 seasons (missing much of 1968 due to injury).

Peters was drafted by the Colts in 1958, but spent that season on their taxi squad. He began his career with the Browns, playing in Cleveland from 1959-62 and starting at right defensive tackle for the last 3 seasons.

He then played 1 year as the Lions' left DT, before coming to the Eagles in April 1964 (with running back Ollie Matson) for tackle J.D. Smith.

Floyd started 14, 9, 14, and 12 games over the next 4 seasons before missing all but 5 games in 1968. He returned to start all 14 games in 1969, his last as an Eagle. He made 3 Pro Bowls while with the Eagles ('64, '66, '67).

Peters was waived in the Spring of 1970, but hooked on with the Redskins as a player/coach for 1970. He played in 10 games (9 starts) in his final season.

Peters was a defensive coordinator for 6 teams from 1974-1994.

He passed away in 2008 at age 82.

Here are Peters' 1967 and 1968 cards. He also had a card in the 1965 set.

Where's Waldo Floyd?
Peters looks older than the head coach sitting next to him!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Gary Ballman WR/TE

Gary Ballman was a receiver who played for the Eagles for 6 seasons, the first 5 as a starter.  He was the team's split end for 2 seasons, then moved to tight end when the Eagles acquired Harold Jackson in 1969.

Ballman was the Steelers' 8th-round pick in 1962, and was their starting flanker (and kick returner) from 1963-66.   (Photos showing Ballman wearing #48 are from his rookie season in 1962. He switched to #85 in 1963).

He made the Pro Bowl twice while with the Steelers ('64, '65).

The Eagles acquired him in March 1967 (too late for a football card update) for fullback Earl Gros and rookie guard Bruce Van Dyke. Van Dyke would be the Steelers' starting right guard from 1967-73, while Gros was only the starter in '68 and '69. (The Steelers filled Ballman's spot with 2nd-year man J.R. Wilburn.)

Gary started 12 to 14 games per season for his first 4 years with the Eagles. On a team with Harold Jackson and Ben Hawkins as wideouts, Gary was usually the #3 receiver, but he lead the receiving corps with 47 catches in 1970. (Fullback Lee Bouggess had 50 catches.)

In 1971 he started the first 6 games, then missed the rest of the season with a knee injury that required surgery. Rookie Harold Carmichael moved to tight end for the rest of the season.

Ballman returned in 1972, but only played in 8 games (starting 4). Kent Kramer had joined the Birds, and started 8 games at TE, with Carmichael picking up the rest.

Gary split the 1973 season between the Giants and Vikings, before retiring.

Here are all of Ballman's cards during his time with the Eagles ('67, '68, '69, '70).

Where's Waldo Gary?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Chuck Hughes - WR

Chuck Hughes was a backup wide receiver for the Eagles and Lions. Sadly, he is mostly known as the only NFL player to have died on the field during a game.

Hughes was the Eagles' 4th-round pick in the 1967 draft, and spent 3 seasons as their #3 wide receiver, behind Ben Hawkins, Gary Ballman ('67-'68), and Harold Jackson ('69).

He never played in more than 9 games per season with the Birds, nor had more than 3 receptions per season.

He was traded to the Lions during training camp in 1970, and started 9 games for Detroit that season (although his 8 receptions were well behind the Lions' top 2 wideouts).

In 1971, during the week 6 game vs. the Bears (10/24) Hughes collapsed on the field while returning to the huddle. He had a heart attack, and was later found to have arteriosclerosis. The game continued to its conclusion (apparently without any crowd reaction, according to reports).

Where's Waldo Chuck?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sam Baker - K/P

Sam Baker played for the Eagles for 6 seasons (1964-69). He was acquired from the Cowboys (with others) for Tommy McDonald after the 1963 season.

Sam was the Rams' 11th-round pick in the 1952 draft, but did not play until 1953, when he was with the Redskins. He played for Washington in 1953 and from 1956-59 (missing 1954-55 while in the military). He then played 2 years each with the Browns and Cowboys before coming to the Eagles.

Baker was a fullback for his first 2 seasons, along with his kicking duties. He was also a punter in every season but his last (1969), and was a kicker every season except 1953 and 1961.

Sam made the Pro Bowl 4 times ('56, '63, '64, '68), and led the NFL in XP in 1960 and 1962 (yet did not kick in 1961 because Lou Groza resumed his kicking duties with the Browns), and also in FG percentage in 1966.

He shared the Eagles' punting with King Hill from 1964-68 (60% Baker / 40% Hill), and ceded all the punting to rookie Bill Bradley in 1969.

Sam was waived at the end of training camp in 1970, replaced by rookie Mark Moseley. Baker retired as the #2 scorer in NFL history with 977 points..

He passed away in 2007 at age 76.

Here are Baker's 6 cards with the Eagles (1964-1969). Like quarterbacks, it seems like every kicker was featured on a card every year. (In the 1964 set, there are 2 kickers for the Eagles - Baker, and Mike Clark, the Eagles kicker before Baker.)

Where's Waldo Sam?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fred Hill - TE

Fred Hill was a receiver who played for the Eagles for 7 seasons (1965-71). He was mostly a backup tight end, but in 2 of his seasons he started 8 of the 14 games, making him the primary starter.

Fred was the Eagles' 4th-round pick in 1965. After a year on special teams, he started 8 games at split end in 1966, in place of the injured Ray Poage. Hill returned to the starting lineup in 1968, filling in for the injured and/or suspended Mike Ditka at tight end.

He played in at least 12 games every season except 1969 (8 games) and 1971 (7). Hill retired during training camp in 1972.

This is Fred's only football card - from the 1969 Topps set.

Fred Hill was one of the driving forces (along with Eagles' owner Leonard Tose) of the Ronald McDonald House charity. In 1971, Hill's 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. After her successful treatment, Hill and the Eagles started the "Eagles Fly For Leukemia" program, and founded the first Ronald McDonald's House, in Philadelphia.

Where's Waldo Fred?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

RIP - Tim Rossovich

Tim Rossovich, who played defensive end and middle linebacker for the Eagles from 1968-1971, passed away on December 6, 2018 at age 72.

Rossovich was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1968 from USC. (The Birds also selected his USC teammate Adrian Young in the 3rd round that year.) Tim was immediately installed as the starting left end and remained there until the 2nd month of 1970, when he was moved to middle linebacker. He also made the Pro Bowl in 1969.

After the 1971 season, he was traded to the Chargers for a #1 draft pick (TE Charlie Young). After 2 seasons he returned to Philadelphia as a member of the WFL's Philadelphia Bell from 1974-75.

After a final season (1976) back in the NFL with the Oilers, Tim retired and became a movie and TV actor.

Besides football and acting, Rosso was known for stunts like eating glass and setting his hair on fire.

Philadelphia Eagles obituary

Washington Post obituary