Deceased Football Autographs

Buried With Their Cleats On

Sam "Amblin Sam from Alabam" Agee  (1915-2006)

Fullback—(Vanderbilt) Chicago Cardinals 1938-39

 

Dale Atkeson  (1930-2007)

Fullback—Washington Redskins 1954-56

 

Hub “Deadeye” Barker  (1918-1994)

Fullback—(Arkansas) New York Giants 1942-45

Sam "Bart" Bartholomew  (1917-1999)

Fullback/Linebacker—(Tennessee) Philadelphia Eagles 1941; Fort Benning 1942, Eastern Army All-Stars 1942

I played against Washington Redskins in Washington on day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
    Sam Bartholomew

 

 

 

Sam Bartholomew responded to my questions in June 1992.  I traded the original of this questionnaire to a Tennessee collector in October 2011.

Keith Beebe  (1921-1998)

Fullback/Tailback—(Occidental) New York Giants 1944

It was during my studies for the divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, that I played for the Giants.
    H. Keith Beebe

 

Steve Belichick  (1919-2005)

Fullback—(Case Western Reserve) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1942; Detroit Lions 1941; Coach—Southwest Louisiana Institute V-12 1943

You know how they paid the equipment man in those days? You're not going to believe this. Each player chipped in a dollar a week. And there were, what, 25 or 30 guys on the team? . . . . You could buy a new Ford back then for $600. Things were cheap. I was paying $1 a day to stay at the Hotel Saverine [in downtown Detroit].
    Steve Belichick, on starting 1941 as
    equipment man/fullback coach for the Lions
    before making the team and getting paid $115 per game

 

 

Steve Belichick sent me this undated two-page letter in the 1990s.  He is buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland

George Benson  (1919-2001)

Fullback/Halfback—(Northwestern) Iowa Pre-flight Seahawks 1942; Pittsburgh Steelers 1946, Brooklyn Dodgers 1947, Chicago Rockets 1947

Arda Bowser  (1899-1996)

Fullback/Kicker—(Bucknell) Frankford Yellowjackets 1922, Canton Bulldogs 1922, Cleveland Indians 1923   [All-American (Grantland Rice) 1921]

The fellows today would be in for a shock if they had to play the game the way we did.  Our helmets were really nothing but a little bit of felt with a piece of leather on top. They would get so hot, we'd just take ’em off sometimes. [Bowser is credited with inventing the kicking tee]  The tee idea started when I played for Bucknell. The ball was a bloated thing back then and I needed a way to get under it, so I made a tee with mud. I sent one of the freshmen to town to buy a steel washtub with handles. We put dirt in it, mixed it into mud and then had the kid run up and down the sidelines with it. I'd come over, scoop out a handful of mud and go build my tee.
    Arda Bowser

 

 

Arda Bowser autographed this colored pencil portrait sketch that I drew of him in 1990.

Leon “Muscles” Campbell (1927-2002)

Fullback—(Arkansas) Baltimore Colts 1950, Chicago Bears 1952-54, Pittsburgh Steelers 1955

Muscles was a great running back.  I guess he would be among the best the university ever had. And on defense, he was unequalled as a linebacker.  He was unbelievably strong.  [In a game against Texas in 1948] I faked in, and Muscles knocked the end off his feet, literally off his feet. I swung wide, and Muscles dropped the linebacker with a shoulder block as he went by. When I crossed the goal line, I looked back and Muscles was blocking the safety. As I remember, I was speaking at some type of banquet where I had occasion to say a few words about Muscles and the great things he did. When it was over, he came up and said "Oh shucks, Scotty" and he bear-hugged me. He darn-near killed me. He really squeezed a little too tight.

     Clyde Scott
 

 

Leon Campbell is buried in Pinecrest Memorial Park, Benton County, Arkansas.

Jim Castiglia  (1918-2007)

Fullback—(Georgetown) Personnel Distribution Command Comets 1945; Philadelphia Eagles 1941,1945-46, Baltimore Colts 1947, Washington Redskins 1947-48   [All-American 1940]

The Redskins did me a favor taking me on when I was released by the Colts. In return, I did them a favor. I'd have played for $5 a game, instead of what they gave me, just to prove to myself and Washington I wasn't washed up. Now the Redskins and I are even.

      Jim Castiglia

Jim Castiglia is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Corwin “Corny” Clatt  (1923-1997)

Fullback—(Notre Dame) Camp Grant Warriors 1943, Chicago Cardinals 1948-49

 

Cornie Clatt autographed this 1943 Jack Sords cartoon.  He is buried in Fon du Lac Township Cemetery, East Peoria, Illinois.

Al Cornsweet  (1906-1991)

Fullback—(Brown) 1926-28; Cleveland Indians 1931; Coach—Cleveland Indians 1931

 

Al Cornsweet autographed this 1927 Jack Sords cartoon.  He is buried in Culpeper National Cemetery, Culpeper, Virginia.

Rufus "Gus" Deal  (1917-2005)

Fullback—(Auburn) Washington Redskins 1942

Gus Deal is buried in Tuscaloosa Memorial Park, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Leo "Ducky" Elter  (1929-2008)

Fullback—(Villanova/Duquesne) Pittsburgh Steelers 1953-54,1958-59, Washington Redskins 1955-57

On one play [Bobby Layne] called a handoff to Leo Elter but the running back messed up the play and when Layne turned to give him the ball he wasn't there.  Layne improvised by handing off to Tom Tracy . . . .But the play gained nothing and Layne went for Elter in the huddle.  "What happened?" he asked.  "I didn't hear the play," said Elter.  "Don't ever say that to me again," Layne barked angrily.  For the remainder of the game Layne would call a play, glare at Elter, and ask, "Did you hear that play or do you want me to repeat it?"

Leo Elter is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Glenshaw, Pennsylvania.

Tony "Hawk" Falkenstein  (1915-1994)

Fullback/Linebacker/Blocking Back/Guard—(St. Mary's, Calif.) Oakland Giants (PCFL) 1940,1946, San Francisco Packers (PCFL) 1941, Green Bay Packers 1943, Brooklyn Tigers 1944, Boston Yanks 1944

I did play against the Salt Lake Seagulls . . . .I had my nose caved in and had to have it repaired.
    Tony Falkenstein

Howie Ferguson (1930-2005)

Fullback— Green Bay Packers 1953-58, Los Angeles Chargers 1960   [All-Pro (NEA) 1955]

He only played a couple of years, but I'll bet you every guy who ever tried to bring him down remembers each and every tackle.
    Art Donovan

 

Howie Ferguson sent me this autographed replica 1957 Topps card.  He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, New Iberia, Louisiana.

Bob Goode (1927-2007)

Fullback—(Texas A&M) Washington Redskins 1949-51, 1954-55, Philadelphia Eagles 1955

Goode is six feet four inches, and every time he falls down he’s bound to gain three yards.
    Steve Owen

 

Bob Goode autographed copies of this 1951 and 1954 news articles about him. I also have another 1950 article that he signed.

He is buried in East Bridgeport Cemetery, Bridgeport, Texas.

Johnny “Bam” Grigas (1920-2000)

Fullback—(Holy Cross) Chicago Cardinals 1943, Card-Pitt 1944, Boston Yanks 1945-47 [All Pro 1944]

John Grigas is buried in Notre Dame Cemetery, Worcester, Massachusetts

Mal Hammack  (1933-2004)

Fullback/Offensive End/Tight End/Linebacker—(Florida) Santa Cruz Seahawks 1956, Chicago Cardinals 1955,1957-59, St. Louis Cardinals 1959-66

I always take pride in having been a hitter.  I most vividly remember the times I was really decked.  I like to go down under punts with a chance to kill the ball close in, or maybe jolt the ball out of a receiver's hands.

       Mal Hammack

Leon “Mule Train” Heath  (1928-2007)

Fullback—(Oklahoma) Washington Redskins 1951-53 [All-American 1950] 

 

 

Leon Heath autographed this 1950 Alan Maver cartoon.  While at Oklahoma, Heath was given the nickname "Mule Train." During a 35-0 win over Louisiana State in the 1950 Sugar Bowl, his 86-yard jaunt set a school record for the longest post-season run in school history.

He is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Chickasha, Oklahoma

Mike Holovak  (1919-2008)

Fullback/Linebackers—(Boston College) Melville PT Night Raiders 1945, Los Angeles Rams 1946, Chicago Bears 1947-48; Coach—New England Patriots 1961-68, New York Jets 1976 [All-American 1942, College Football Hall of Fame 1985]

An old fashioned kind of line bucker whom Gil Dobie, former B. C. coach, rated as "20 per cent of the football team."  A triple threat back, he was rated as one of the nation's best as a backer-up [1942].
    Leo H. Petersen

 

Mike Holovak autographed this 1942 Ciri cartoon.  I have two other signed cartoons: 1942 Tom Paprocki and a 1942 cartoon likely drawn by Alan Maver. 

He is buried in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.

Roy Horstmann  (1910-1998)

Fullback—(Purdue) Boston Redskins 1933, Chicago Cardinals 1934 [All-American 1932]

 

 

Roy Horstmann autographed this early 1930s Jack Sords cartoon.  On the 3x5 card he wrote, "1933 was the beginning of the more extensive use of the forward pass. The goal posts were placed on the goal line. The side line stripes came into use. It was the start of a more open game with less running and more passing." 

Chester "Swede" Johnston  (1909-2002)

Fullback—(Marquette/Elmhurst) Green Bay Packers 1934-39, St. Louis Gunners 1932-34, Pittsburgh Steelers 1939-40

I just didn't like wearing [a helmet], but Charley Malone and I made them change the rules.  They made a rule making it mandatory to wear a helmet.  I still didn't like it but Curley said "wear it" and I knew he meant it so I put it on.
    Swede Johnston

 

Swede Johnston is buried in East Side Cemetery, Dodgeville, Wisconsin.

George Kiick  (1917-2002)

Fullback—(Bucknell) Pittsburgh Steelers 1940,1945

John "Jarrin' John" Kimbrough  (1918-2006)

Fullback—(Texas A & M) New York Americans (AFL) 1941, Kirtland Field Flying Kellys 1943, Los Angeles Dons 1946-48 [All-American 1939-40, College Football Hall of Fame 1954, #12 All-Time AAFC Rushing, #15 All-Time AAFC Scoring]

He was the best fullback of all time . . . Kimbrough had power, speed, and determination.  I class him with the best.
    Homer Norton (Coach)

 

 

John Kimbrough was a willing signer.  This 1940 Jack Sords cartoon is one of four dating from 1940 in my collection.  The others are drawn by Art Krenz and two different cartoons by Tom Paprocki.  I also have a signed 1954 Hollreiser "Looking Back in Sports" cartoon.

He is buried in Willow Cemetery, Haskell, Texas.

See video clip of John Kimbrough (#39) in 1940 Texas A&M game against SMU.

Carl Kinscherf (1919-2006)

Fullback/Defensive Back—(Colgate) New York Giants 1943-44

I don’t think that I averaged more than two yards a carry.  I definitely don’t remember any breakaways.
    Carl Kinscherf

 

John "Flying Dutchman" Kitzmiller (1904-1986)

Fullback—(Army/Oregon) New York Giants 1931 [College Football Hall of Fame 1969]

Kitz can do all eight things, perfectly, required of a great back. In fact, the kid has only one weakness. He can't read!

      John McEwan

[I purchased this autograph in 1994.]


Stan "Hammer of the North" Kostka  (1912-1997)

Fullback—(Minnesota) Brooklyn Dodgers 1935

Kostka was like a runaway tank when he had the ball.
    George Svendsen

 

 

Stan Kostka autographed this circa 1930s Art Krenz cartoon.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Fargo, North Dakota.

Sid Kramer (1914-2004)

Back—(Utah) Salt Lake Seagulls (PCFL) 1946

 

Sid Kramer autographed this 1935 Ev Thorpe cartoon.  He is buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, East Millcreek, Utah.

Vic Kulbitski  (1921-1998)

Fullback—(Minnesota/Notre Dame) Buffalo Bisons 1946, Buffalo Bills 1947-48

 

Vic Kulbitski is buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ernie "Moose" Lewis  (1924-1995)

Fullback—(Colorado) El Toro Marines 1944-45; Chicago Rockets 1946-48, Chicago Hornets 1949

 

Andy “Anvil Andy” Marefos  (1917-1996)

Fullback—(St. Mary's, Calif.) New York Giants 1941-42, San Francisco Packers (PCFL) 1943, Los Angeles Bulldogs (PCFL) 1943-44, Los Angeles Wildcats (AFL) 1944, Pearl Harbor Army Air Force Hawaiian Flyers 1945, San Francisco Clippers (PCFL) 1945,1948, Los Angeles Dons 1946   [#2 PCFL Scoring 1943, #1 PCFL Field Goals 1943, #1 PCFL Rushing 1943, AFL All-League 1944]

I spent 1943-44 and 45 in Uncle Sam's Air Force . . . .After the war I left the New York Giants because Slip Madigan, the General Manager of the Los Angeles Dons, was my former coach at St. Mary's College and he offered me twice the money I was getting with the Giants . . . .As for the P.C.F.L. players that I played against, they all played under fictitious names as they were in the service and did not want their C.O. service to know they were playing without permission.
    Andy Marefos

 

 

Andy Marefos autographed this 1941 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Leonard "Mickey" Masini  (1922-2000)

Fullback/Linebacker—(Fresno State) San Francisco 49ers 1947, Los Angeles Dons 1948

Jim Mello  (1920-1995)

Fullback—(Notre Dame) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1944, Camp Peary Pirates 1945, Boston Yanks 1947, Los Angeles Rams 1948, Chicago Rockets 1948, Detroit Lions 1949

 

 

Jim Mello autographed this 1943 Sam Davis cartoon.  I also have two signed Jack Sords cartoons from 1943 and 1944. They each have the same cartoon drawing, but sport different titles and texts.

Frank "Moose" Muehlheuser  (1926-2006)

Fullback—(Colgate) Boston Yanks 1948, New York Bulldogs 1949

 

Joe Muha  (1921-1993)

Fullback/Linebacker/Punter—(VMI) Philadelphia Eagles 1946-50  [#1 Punting 1948]

 

Ed “Bronco” Nowogroski (1915-2003)

Fullback—(Washington) [2nd Team A.P. All Pacific Coast 1935]

He was a fast and good line plunger.
    Howard H. Jones

 

Ed Nowogroski autographed this 1937 Jack Winter cartoon.

Oliver "Ollie" Olson (1912-1995)

Fullback—(Northwestern) 1930-32

 

 

Ollie Olson autographed this 1931 Jack Sords cartoon.  He noted the mistake in his given name in the cartoon.

John "Johnny O" Olszewski  (1929-1996)

Fullback—(California) Chicago Cardinals 1953-57, Washington Redskins 1958-60, Detroit Lions 1961, Denver Broncos 1962   [All-American (INS) 1952, #1 Rushing Average 1959]

The toughest guy I ever ran into was Johnny Olszewski . . . .He hit me with everything he had . . . .I came in one time against Johnny O.  He set up and played it perfectly, head for my belt buckle.  I never got stuck so hard in my life.  He hit me in the sternum and tore the cartilage loose around my chest.  It took me ten weeks to get over it.
    Bill Koman

Bill Paschal  (1921-2003)

Fullback/Linebacker—(Georgia Tech) First Air Force Aces 1945; New York Giants 1943-47, Boston Yanks 1947-48  [#1 Rushing 1943-44, All Pro 1944]

 

Bill Paschal is buried in Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia.

Ralph Pasquariello  (1926-1999)

Fullback—(Villanova) Los Angeles Rams 1950, Chicago Cardinals 1951-52

 

Milt Piepul  (1918-1994)

Fullback—(Notre Dame) Detroit Lions 1941

He was blind as a bat.  He was the first guy I was aware of who used contact lenses, and sometimes he had a hell of a time getting them in and keeping them in. That was a problem, because the fullback got the snap on every play except one in that offense.
    Steve Belichick

 

 

Milt Piepul autographed this 1940 Alan Maver cartoon.  I also have a signed 1940 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Al "Big Al" Pollard  (1928-2002)

Fullback/Halfback—(Loyola/West Point) New York Yankees 1951, Philadelphia Eagles 1951-53, B.C. Lions (CFL)/Calgary Stampeders (CFL) 1954-59 [All Pro CFL 1955]

 

Al Pollard is buried in Saints Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Milt "Mia" Popovich  (1915-2005)

Fullback—(Montana) Chicago Cardinals 1938-42

 

Bill "The Bull" Reichardt  (1930-2004)

Fullback—(Iowa) Green Bay Packers 1952   [All-American 1951]

I was highest illegally paid player in the history of Iowa football.  My mom wanted me to get out of Iowa City. I accepted a scholarship to Southern California and was already on the train that was headed there. But just before the train pulled out of town, my dad, Iowa coach Eddie Anderson and Dr. Red Scanlan got on board to talk to me.  [Coach Anderson] had never asked me to go to Iowa—he just assumed I’d go there. Dr. Scanlan was head of an Iowa booster club and was our family doctor. [Dr. Scanlan said] "Here’s what we can do for you," and offered me $200 a month for four years—a lot of money in those days—plus a job when I got out of school. I was to pick up the $200 in cash at his office on the first of every month. Anderson didn’t hear what Dr. Scanlan told me about the money, but I got off the train and decided to attend Iowa. When I was in school, my room, board, books and tuition were paid, and so were my fraternity dues.

      Bill Reichardt

In 1994, Reichardt was a Democratic candidate for Iowa governor during the primary elections and in 1999 he circulated a petition to become a mayoral candidate for the City of Des Moines, but did not pursue the position.  He is buried in Resthaven Cemetery, West Des Moines, Iowa.  

Dick Renfro  (1919-1998)

Fullback—(Washington State) Second Air Force Superbombers 1944, Fourth Air Force Fliers 1945; San Francisco 49ers 1946

Hired as middle line backer (fullback), defense.  Games 1 thru 4 I started at this position.  Games 5 thru 7 I started on offense as fullback and played defense as well.  Game 7 against Miami Seahawks I scored 3 TD's.  This tied league record . . . I held this 3 TD record for 49ers until 1968.  I was injured in this game, muscles and ligaments torn from right knee culminating in transplants and ending my playing career.
    Dick Renfro

 

Hosea Rodgers  (1921-2001)

Fullback—(Alabama/North Carolina) Fleet Marine Force Pacific 1945; Los Angeles Dons 1949

 

John Rogalla  (1917-1999)

Fullback—(Scranton) Jersey City Giants (American Association) 1940-41, Philadelphia Eagles 1945

 

Fran Rogel  (1927-2002)

Fullback—(Penn State) Pittsburgh Steelers 1950-57

Fran Rogel was the epitome of on-the-field toughness.  He took so many hits.  The saying at Penn State was that he never heard the whistle, never believed he was down. He's one of the toughest guys, mentally, I've ever been around in my life. He didn't know when to quit. He had so much heart and desire.
    Bill Priatko

Fran Rogel is buried in Braddock Cemetery, Braddock, Pennsylvania.

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Listen to the Voices of:

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See a Video Clip of:

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