Tuesday, December 5, 2017

When player's were allowed to play

As a youngster, I remember seeing 1961 Fleer basketball cards in the glass cases of card shops and being in awe, not only because of the names depicted, but also because of the prices that were attached to them. At the time, I wouldn't have been able to imagine a day when I would actually be able to own a few, as they just always seemed so unobtainable

Even though vintage basketball cards are what brought me back to card collecting six or seven years ago now, it's only been in the last three years that I have started acquiring cards from the '61 Fleer set. Even now, I'm still a bit awe struck every time I get another one, even if they are usually just considered the "commons".

This my third to last post before being completely caught up with last year's COMC purchases, the only reason this particular group took me so long to get to, was because I was dreading how much writing was going to be involved. But since I've got five or six more on their way from this year's COMC horde, I figured I better suck it up and get this one written, which as you will see... I have!


Although Bob was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals in 1959, he decided to postpone his NBA career for a year, that way he would remain eligible for the next year's Summer Olympics. It ended up being a decision that would pay off... in the form of gold, as the U.S. team flat out destroyed the competition in the 1960 games.

Bob played for six different teams during his 11 seasons in the NBA, ultimately announcing his retirement after winning a championship with Milwaukee in 1971.

Bob is a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.


Hot Rod Hundley was an absolute stud at WVU, averaging 24.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in three years of play (freshmen weren't eligible for basketball), and becoming only the fourth player to reach 2,000 points. Was a major reason why the Mountaineers made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1955, as well as the following two years.

Rod was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals in 1957, but was immediately traded to the Minneapolis (later L.A.) Lakers, where he would become a two time all-star during his six seasons in the NBA. Had to retire at just 28 years old, due to persistent problems in both knees.

Went into announcing immediately after retirement, ultimately becoming the first voice of the New Orleans (later Utah) Jazz in 1974, a position he held until 2009, when once again his knee troubles would cause him to retire.


Drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959, Rudy would come to be known as one of the roughest/toughest players during the coming decade. His physical and aggressive style of play would lead to numerous altercations during his ten years in the league, including a very memorable incident involving Willis Reed on October 18th 1966, in which an enraged Reed would for all intensive purposes... pummel the entire Lakers team.

Rudy was a three time all-star and would appear in four NBA finals with the Lakers, losing all four to the Boston Celtics. After eight seasons, Rudy joined the San Francisco Warriors, becoming an all-star during his final two seasons of play.



Bobby "Slick" Leonard was captain of the 1953 NCAA title winning Hoosier's team. He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954, where he would play for the next five seasons. In 1961 he joined the NBA's first modern expansion team, the Chicago Packers (later named the Zephyr's, Bullets, and Wizards), playing two seasons -- his final of which -- was as a player/coach.

In 1968 Bob signed on, in what would become a twelve year stint, to coach the newly created Indiana Pacers during their second season of ABA play, and later the NBA. During his time as coach, the Pacer won three ABA titles (1970, 1972, 1973). Unfortunately they weren't able to keep up their winning ways after the ABA/NBA merger in 1976, thanks in large part to the requirements that they, as well as the three other incoming teams had to meet before joining the league.

Bob rejoined the Pacers in 1985 as member of the broadcasting team, where he can still be found doing color work to this day. In 2014 he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach


Considered to be the best player to have ever come out of Seton Hall, Walter was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1953, but after being offered twice as much money, he elected to instead play for the Harlem Globetrotters... a move that many believed had stunted his growth as a basketball player, and therefor never reached the potential that had been expected of him after coming out of college.

Walter finally joined the NBA after two years with the Trotters, ultimately playing for three teams during his eight years in the league before joining the Eastern Professional Basketball League in 1963, where he would see action with four teams over the next six years.

During the course of his professional basketball career, Walter was often on the outs with team management, due in large part to his frequent antics -- which when viewed through modern eyes, were a clear sign of mental illness -- despite this, and his unrealized potential, he still managed to make two all-star appearances while with the Detroit Pistons. A rough and tumble player, Walter led the NBA in personal fouls in 1958 and again in 1959. He fouled out 121 times during his eight NBA seasons, which is second to only Vern Mikkelsen's record of 127.

Much of Walter's post-basketball life is rather tragic, if anyone were inclined to do so, some of it can be read about here.

This one didn't scan very well!

Playing under coach Adolph Rupp, Frank was a key member of the 1951 NCAA title winning Kentucky team. Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1953, for whom he play all of his nine seasons with, missing one year due to military service.

Considered the NBA's original sixth man, Frank played an intricate part in seven of the Celtics championships (1957, 1959-64)). He is a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

While working on this post, I noticed that with what I have in hand -- and with what will be in my COMC stockpile -- I am now up to 22 cards, which is 1/3 of the set! Granted, I don't own any of the bigger cards, but it's still kind of amazing to me just thinking of how many that I have been able to acquire in such a relatively short time.


Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page

16 comments:

  1. That is an awesome group of cards. I only have a couple from this set. Probably should try to grab some more.

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    1. If you do, watch out for reprints, as there are plenty of them out there now.

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  2. Hot Rod Hundley is a legend in these parts. I've never seen a card of him before.

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    1. As far as vintage goes, he only got two, his '57 Topps rookie and this one. He's also in the 1989-90 Hoops Announcers set, and there's been a few more of him in recent years that I wouldn't be able to list off the top of my head.

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  3. Fantastic. I have very few of these myself, and none of the above. I actually saw a Wilt in a card shop once. No way I could afford it, but at least I got to actually see it with my own eyes.

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    1. At the show the show that I bought my Dr. J rookie at last year, the same dealer had a bunch of 61's in toploaders that he handed me to look through. And while he didn't have Wilt, I did get to hold (and read the back's of) both Bill Russell's, Bob Cousy, Oscar rookie, both of West's rookies, etc. It was pretty awesome!

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  4. Nice batch of cards. Being a Cincinnati Royals collector, I really dig that Bob Boozer card.

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    1. Is that a collection that you are able to add to very often?

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  5. hands down one of the most attractive card issues of all time

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    1. I can't find any fault with that statement!

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  6. Love seeing Hot Rod cards. I was at the WVU/UVA game last night. Have a very nice view of Hot Rod's retired number from where I sit.

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  7. Great looking set design. I remember working at my LCS when I was younger and window shopping all of the amazing vintage my boss owned, but I couldn't really afford to buy.

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    1. It seems like that would've been tough!

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