>1960 AFL Rookie of the Year & Most Valuable Player – Abner Haynes

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People remember the Boston Red Sox outfielder, Fred Lynn, as the winner of major league baseball’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the season of 1975.  The Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki duplicated the feat in 2001.  But few sports fans recall that Dallas Texans’ running back, Abner Haynes, won the American Football League’s MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in the league’s inaugural season of 1960.
Abner Haynes is a Texas native, who played his high school ball at Lincoln High School in Dallas.  From there he moved on to North Texas State University.  He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 1960 American Football League draft, but immediately traded to his hometown franchise, the Dallas Texans.  Haynes quickly earned the starting halfback position, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There is not a lot that Abner Haynes didn’t do in 1960.  He led the AFL in rushing attempts (156), yardage (875) and touchdowns (9), also in punt return yardage (215) and average (15.4).  Additionally, he finished in the top 10 in the league in kick off returns, receiving and scoring. 
In the Player of the Year balloting, Haynes received 14 of 32 votes cast by a poll of the press, beating out the Chargers’ Jack Kemp, who received 10 votes. Haynes also won the AFL’s Rookie of the Year Award.  Though the league did not hold an all-star game in 1960, Haynes was named to the official all-league team. 
Abner Haynes played eight seasons in the American Football League, with the Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.  He retired after the 1967 season with 4,630 rushing yards on 1,036 attempts (4.5 average) and 46 touchdowns.  He also caught 287 passes for 3,535 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Haynes was named to the AFL’s All-Time Second Team.
Todd Tobias (775 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

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7 Responses to >1960 AFL Rookie of the Year & Most Valuable Player – Abner Haynes

  1. John Shoresurf says:

    >For a rookie. He really is very good. The best one player.

  2. Ray Barrington says:

    >This may be the first thing I've read on Haynes that didn't mention his "kick to the clock" goof in the 62 championship game.

  3. Tales from the American Football League says:

    >That's too bad, but I don't doubt it. Abner Haynes was too good a player to be remembered only for that goof. Thanks for reading, Ray!

  4. […] the Dallas Texans in the 1960 AFL Draft, and it was as a running back, sharing the backfield with Abner Haynes, that Robinson spent his first two seasons in professional football.   He was a serviceable, if […]

  5. James Hunter says:

    Earl Campbell won the rookie of the Year and MVP, in the NFL. The baseball analogy detracts from your post. Abner is a friend of mine and he should be mentioned with other great football players, not baseball players.
    Believe it or not- I did like your blog post, though 🙂

    • Todd Tobias says:

      You got me there! I overlooked Campbell. I only threw in the baseball analogy to show the rarity of the feat and also to emphasize how overlooked the AFL has been. Believe me, I meant no offense to Abner. I’m glad you liked it still 😉

      • Tom says:

        Fred Lynn El Monte High School class of 1970 was a tremendous football player and Fred and Lynn Swann were USCs top recruits at wide reciever. Needless to say John McKay although probably not surprised was probably not to pleased when Fred walked away from football after his freshman year.

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