Monthly Archives: June 2014
Bill Hudson and Ron Nery were certainly the lesser-known of the Chargers Fearsome Foursome. But when the other two linemates were Ernie Ladd and Earl Faison, then that becomes a bit more understandable. Most of the AFL’s defensive linemen of the time were overshadowed by Faison and Ladd.
Still, as a veteran of the Canadian Football League, Bill Hudson was able to lend his experience to an otherwise young Chargers team. Along with quarterback Jack Kemp, Hudson was one of the early San Diego Chargers team captains.
I’ve read on several occasions that Tom Flores is one of the classiest individuals in professional football. The one time that I met him, Flores was very polite, and happy to speak with fans and old teammates.
The following article talks about Flores impact on the game, his accomplishments, and his (and quarterback Jim Plunkett’s) worthiness of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The funny thing is that Flores’s playing career is barely even acknowledged in the article; everything is based on his success as head coach of the Raiders. Keep in mind that Flores was no slouch as a signal-caller. He typically finished among the top quarterbacks in most offensive categories during the first half of the AFL, despite being on some poor teams in the early years. He was an AFL player from 1960-1969 (though he sat out the 1962 season with tuberculosis), one of just 20 players to accomplish the feat. He was instrumental in the Raiders turnaround under Al Davis in 1963, and was a member of the Super Bowl IV-winning Kansas City Chiefs.
I received an extremely rewarding email yesterday from one of our readers, Jim Hastings. Hastings, the Principal at Clinton High School in Clinton, MA, is an old AFL fan and reader of Tales. Yesterday he reached out to me with the following email about how he used Tales from the American Football League to help teach his students about civil rights issues in the 1960s.
Thank you for getting back to me… I’ve posted with you and plan to do so with this info but wanted to share this with you first. I’m the principal of Clinton High School, Clinton, MA. As an east coast Chargers fan, I follow your site consistently. As an AFL fan I was totally surprised watching AFL , Full Color a couple of years ago and hearing about the All Star boycott in Jan 65 in New Orleans. I had never heard of it and have tried to find and read as much possible. Sadly, I feel history has not given it, it’s merits. When I read about Larry Garron of the Patriots, on your site, I said to myself, here’s a man who was a man of history and conscience, and he lives nearby. It took me about two weeks but I had an idea and finally tracked him down. I invited him to come to our school and talk to our students about the game and times. About Civil Rights and the AFL, to our US History 2 classes that are presently studying that theme in their classes. He agreed. It was one of the best days I’ve had as principal. He sat in a chair and talked about the life in professional sports at the time for an African American (supported by examples of our own Bill Russell’s struggles in Boston) both racism and the salaries. Our history teachers were really impressed.
There may be other trades that were as bad, but Sid Gillman once dealt Larry Little to the Miami Dolphins for defensive back, Mack Lamb. At the time it may not have seemed such a mistake; Little had not produced much after being signed by the Chargers as a free-agent guard out of Bethune-Cookman in 1967. Looking back now, some 47 years later, one wonders how Gillman made such a blunder.
Little went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Miami Dolphins. Lamb went nowhere. He never appeared in a game with the Chargers, or anyone else. His final professional statistics come as a defensive back of the Miami Dolphins in 1968.