November 15, 1964 - The Chargers defense swarms over Chiefs running back, Curtis McClinton.
November 6, 1964 - George Blanda drops back against the Patriots defense in Fenway Park.
November 23, 1967 - Daryle Lamonica and the Raiders facing the tough Chiefs defense in Kansas City Municipal Stadium.
It has been a week since the Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles. San Diego has been very anti-Chargers since, and understandably so. But while I can easily write off the current ownership, I cannot cast away the organization in its entirety. Nor would I want to. The (first) Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers were the flagship organization in the early years of the American Football League, and while they won fewer games later in the decade, they were no less entertaining. Hadl to Alworth, Hubbard and Post, hard-hitting Kenny Graham, and the acrobatics of Paul Fisher.
January 15, 1967. The day of the first AFL-NFL Championship game, later to be referred to as Super Bowl I. An historic day for sure, although the Packers victory might still stick in the craw of AFL fans. Original images from that game are relatively easy to come by now, especially with the dismantling of newspaper photo archives across the country. Still, they are a treat to own, and a bit of history that a fan can hold in his hands. I’ve been fortunate to acquire four shots taken by a fan, from his family’s seats that day, as well as a handful or original slides and prints. They, and images of many other AFL topics, are always available for viewing in the Photo Galleries on this site.
I was born in San Diego. I grew up with Dan Fouts throwing to John Jefferson, Chuck Muncie diving over piles into the end zone, and Louie Kelcher eating quarterbacks for lunch. In later years I watched some very good, and also some very bad Chargers football. I have written books about the team, collected their memorabilia, reorganized the team photo archive (twice), redecorated the team offices, interviewed more than 100 former players, authenticated their game used memorabilia for NFL Auctions, answered questions about team history for their own PR office, contributed to their 50th Anniversary DVD, and more that I have likely forgotten. Needless to say, the Chargers leaving my hometown has made an impression on me today.
Here is a neat piece in which Patriot greats Larry Garron and Gino Cappelletti, recall the organization’s earliest days. They share a collective 20 years in a Patriots uniform (19 of which were spent in the AFL), 80 touchdowns and nine AFL All-Star Games. It could be said that no two players better represent the early Patriots than Garron and Cappelletti.
Sports cards and memorabilia have played a large role in my life, and I consider myself fortunate to make a living working in and around my hobby. This past year has been spent writing a lot about trading card sets and athletes of all sports, though my favorite subjects remain AFL-related.
Last month I wrote a piece about collecting cards and memorabilia of Chargers great, Lance Alworth. The article ran in our company magazine, The Sports Market Report.