January 7, 1963 - The Houston Oilers representatives to the 1963 AFL All-Star Game. Back Row - Rich Michael, Ed Husmann, Bob Talamini, Charlie Hennigan, Don Floyd, George Blanda. Front Row - Freddy Glick, Jim Norton, Tony Banfield, Bob Schmidt, Charlie Tolar, Al Jamison.

January 13, 1963 - Austin Gonsoulin of the Denver Broncos makes a leaping interception in front of the Houston Oilers Charlie Hennigan, in the second annual AFL All-Star Game.

November 11, 1962 - The San Diego Chargers Ernie Ladd prepares to tackle Cookie Gilchrist, the Buffalo Bills star running back and 1962 AFL Most Valuable Player.

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.

 

The AFL Brotherhood Lives on Today

I recall speaking with Lance Alworth one day, discussing his football career.  We talked about the 1963 Chargers, his teammates, opponents, different occurrences during his career, and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.  At one point I asked Lance what the greatest moment was during his career.  His response was quick, concise, and without room for argument.

“The greatest moment of my career,” he recalled, “was when Namath and the Jets won Super Bowl III because it was a win for the entire AFL.”

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George Blair had Big Influence in Laurel HS Football

George Blair was a Chargers defensive back and kicker from 1961-1964.  He was a member of the Chargers “Seven Bandits” defensive backfield that set a record with 49 interceptions in 1961; Blair had two himself that season, and five in his career.

In 2007, the field at Laurel high School in Laurel, Mississippi, was renamed “George Blair Field.”  An article was recently written about Blair, the field, and Blair’s post-playing career as a high school football coach at his alma mater.

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The Fascinating AFL Journey of QB Val Keckin

Every so often I will get a request from a reader to post a guest article to Tales.  Some articles are stat-driven, others are simply fond remembrance pieces.  This story by Jim Tal Evans is more of a football biography of his friend, and former AFL quarterback, Val Keckin.  Like with many other journeyman players, Keckin’s story is fascinating in all of the areas of football history that he touched.  Sit back with a cup of coffee, and have a look.  It’s a long one, but well-worth the read!

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1964 Topps Team Cards

Bert Coan, Mack Lee Hill

Bert Coan, Mack Lee Hill

As a collector of autographed card sets, there is little opportunity for me to be creative with my collection.  Basically, if a former player or coach is pictured on a card, then I try to get it autographed.  I have had better success that I could have honestly hoped for in this endeavor, and I am missing fewer than 25 cards out of a possible 1,278.

Yet even with this rate of completion, there are literally hundreds of AFL personalities that never had their own card produced.  It seems a shame for men such as Sonny Werblin, Lamar Hunt, Al Davis and Mack Lee Hill to not be represented in an AFL collection simply because of a lack of trading cards.  This is where the 1964 Topps team cards become so valuable, and allow for my collection to be grown exponentially.

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George Fleming – Raiders Running Back & Washington Senator

Running back, George Fleming had a short career in the American Football League.  He played a single season for the Oakland Raiders before embarking upon a long career in Washington State politics.

 

I found the above video that covers Fleming’s career. George Fleming is the last living player from whom I need to acquire an autographed trading card for my sets.  If anyone has a connection to Mr. Fleming and could help out, it would be much appreciated!!

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