Autographed 1960 Fleer Ray Moss

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#044 - Ray Moss

#044 – Ray Moss

It has been several years since I’ve received any AFL-related gifts for Christmas, and this year was no different.  However, I purchased an autographed trading card on eBay recently, and it arrived in the mail on Christmas Eve, so I’m counting it as a gift to myself.

Collectors of vintage football cards are familiar with the fact that a large number of the players featured in the 1960 Fleer set never actually played in the AFL.  The set was produced and released early in the football year, during the AFL’s inaugural season.  As a result, player selection for trading cards was a very speculative process, and roughly 25% of the players featured on cards never made their team’s final rosters.

A few years ago I did some extensive research into these particular players.  Who was still alive?  Who was not?  What were their dates of death?  Did their university alumni association have current contact information, and would they forward a trading card and autograph request for me?  The results of my study were actually quite good.  I eventually got to the point where there was just one player (Buddy Mayfield) out of the 132 cards in the set that I could not locate or whose status I could not determine.

As expected, many of the athletes were deceased.  Most passed away in the 1990s and 2000s, but some had died earlier.  Ray Moss, out of the University of Tennessee and listed on his card as a Buffalo Bills linebacker, was the one that I figured would be the most difficult autographed card to obtain.  I learned that after being cut by the Bills, Moss left football.  I did not see him resurface until 1976, when I found in an online version of the University of Tennessee Alumni Newsletter, that he had died that year in a personal aircraft crash.

I’ve been collecting signed AFL cards since 1998, and had never seen an autographed Ray Moss card until two weeks ago when one popped up on eBay with a starting bid of just $4.99.  I watched the auction closely, and grew a bit concerned when bidding began to creep up on the last day.  Collectors of rare cards often lie dormant during auctions until they swipe in and place large bids in the closing seconds, and I was hoping that this would not be the case with Moss.  My concerns turned out to be unnecessary, and I ended up winning the auction for a mere $16.05.  I quickly sent of a Paypal payment, and hoped that the card didn’t somehow get lost in the holiday mail.

The USPS followed through in fine fashion, however, and the card even landed in my mailbox a day before its scheduled arrival.  Now it resides right where it belongs, in my 1960 Fleer binder, between Fran Rogel (#43) and Tony Banfield (#45), bringing me one large step closer to completion.  You can see my set in-progress (currently 14 cards short) at: 1960 Fleer Autographed Set

So…  Any other AFL-related Christmas gifts out there this year?

Todd Tobias (790 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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8 Responses to Autographed 1960 Fleer Ray Moss

  1. afl says:

    Nod Todd, as regards a signature(s) in addition those who never played in the AFL, what of those who passed away before signing a card or name on card did not match player pictured? What of a player who changed his name: anyone fall that category AFL cards, necessitating a need second signature?

    Having done no research re: said as signatures on sports cards/other memorabilia never appealed to me personally, wonder: for the discriminating signature completist, is one card signed by a player legally had two (or more) names career considered sufficient?

    Boxing, think Muhammad Ali nee Cassius Clay were he not a boxer but rather an AFL player.
    Or the more modern players sports variously, some who change their name for an religious reason (or perhaps due being self-absorbed: Chad Johnson nee Chad Ochocinco & back again, etc.) Another raison: J.R. Henderson beget J.R. Sakuragi in order to become a basketball player Japan: as a condition of being a member the Japanese National Team, had to have a Japanese name, so, changed his thus.

    Different angle: what’s in a number? One of the things lost post merger was unique jersey numbering and unique names the nameplate. While not in favor ‘I’ndividuals in lieu ‘team’ most circumstances, purposes marketing a then new league AFL probably required innovation, my opine. The NFL numbering system 1973 on has regulated numerals by position (had Lance Alworth arrived in 1973 instead ’62 his rookie season when he wore #24, #19 would’ve been known even more so today for Unitas and Montana than it already is.

    Ernie ‘Big Cat’ Ladd is the first player I recall wearing #99 in the AFL… whether or not he was the first AFL/pro football history, am uncertain. Noland ‘Supergnat’ Smith wore #1 for the Chiefs in his brief career AFL… that he was but 5’6 1/2 & 154 lbs. possibly made it a necessity. He wore #46 during the pre-season his rookie season in ’67 (good thing his last name was Smith instead of, oh… say ‘Schottenheimer’.

    AAFC had an even more unique system: halfbacks #80’s, fullbacks #70’s, quarterbacks #60’s, ends #50’s, tackles #40’s, guards #30’s & centers #20’s. The CFL also had their own unique system; college game, a couple of players actually wore jersey #100 portion their careers.

    What of those players who changed jersey numerals (perhaps more than once) during their pro career? Completists, is but a single card signed by a guy who sported two (or more) jersey numerals career considered sufficient?

    Other rare exceptions, players such as the AFL’s Jim Otto (“aught-oh”) #00 (formerly #50) and NFL’s #0 ‘O’bert Logan (formerly #25) would never have been allowed; QB Otto Graham’s #60 become #14 another example in reverse come to mind – and what would the AFL been like sans jersey ‘Wahoo’ McDaniel? Today, he would be just another McDaniel nameplate no other reason NFL has no need to market the game known ‘America’s’, already drowning in dollar$. Aside from consistent numbering making easier the officials job citing rule infractions, necessity debatable as that battle conservatives/progressives. My belief, give people an inch of leeway & they try and take a mile, in the process ruining things for the rest.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.


    • Todd Tobias says:

      Wow… Lots of thoughts in that response, AFL. In terms of your first three paragraphs, I don’t know of any AFL player who had a card produced, that changed his name later in life. Tony King, former Buffalo Bill, later changed his name to Malik Farrakhan, but he had no trading cards.

      Some people attempt to get both names on a piece of memorabilia to make it more unique. Kareen Addul Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) is another example. Sometimes the athlete will sign both names, sometimes there is an additional cost, and other times they refuse to sign the other name. While there may be an added interest and thus dollar value to an “original name,” there is no stigma in the collecting world against the latter signature.

      The only player that was ever featured on a standard issue AFL trading card that passed away prior to the card’s release is Frank Buncom, who died some two weeks prior to the release of his 1969 Topps card. I’ve written about it on this site in the past. Other rare signed cards include the 1964 Dick Christy (died in 1966), 1960 Eddie Erdelatz (died in 1966) and all of the Frank Buncom cards (1965, 1966, 1967 & 1968).

      As to jersey numbers, again it is a matter of preference. Jim Otto signs #50 on the cards in which he is shown wearing that number, and #00 on all others. Lance Alworth typically signed #19, but I have photos where he has signed #24. He has no cards wearing that number, though his rookie card (1963 Fleer) shows him wearing a hand-colored version of his college jersey, so the blue looks like the Chargers, but the number is 23. As with the changed names, there may be little added value to the non-standard number on a signature, but there is certainly no detriment to having the more standard number.

      • afl says:

        I’ve read autograph getting today is more difficult than it was the past; no doubt the almighty dollar/greed has compromised said (like the guy who sells player autograph(s) for profit, which in turn makes players feel as though they’e been taken advantage of.)

        Reportedly, former NBA player Bill Russell didn’t sign autographs in lieu shaking someone’s hand (recently, have read he now does private signings, for a fee.) Pete Rose (among other old schoolers) is known to do so; will guess there were likewise AFL players who did and didn’t various reasons.

        I own a January 1, 1967 AFL Championship program that has several of the player signatures cover and within Chiefs/Bills players, several Hall of Famers, which I suppose makes it more valuable. To each their own, but I would trade it just for the chance to talk one-on-one with an living AFL player, in a heartbeat.

  2. Eddie Arminio says:

    The ultimate marketing ploy, the player in the short lived XFL who had the nameplate HE HATE ME.

    • Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

      LOL, that was Rod Smart. He played defensive back (I think), but he was best known for being a fast player who returned kicks. He played for the Carolina Panthers around the turn of the century. 2000 may have been his only season.

      • Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

        Rod Smart was a running back who primarily played special teams. After spending 2001 with the Philadelphia Eagles (2 carries, 6 yards), he played for the Panthers from 2002 to 2005.

        Smart’s best season was 2003, the year the Panthers made the Super Bowl, which they lost to New England. Smart returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in a 19-13 win over the New Orleans Saints.

        He Hate Me had a big smile and a ’70’s afro. I didn’t keep up with football real closely during the early 2000’s, but he seems like he was a fun player to follow.

  3. afl says:

    I’ve been progressively ‘turned off’ by modern ‘professional sports’ variously, for years. Somewhere along the become gilded road, charm gave way greenback a greater extent than is tolerable, my taste. Perhaps it is the nature: what once was now passe. Can only say that if what passes today be considered ‘progress’, I’ve become my father; thank God for intact memory.

    Marketing in sports is nothing new, sponsor advertising common too. Soccer in Europe, such is standard fare. In the US, NASCAR as well advertising at stadiums otherwise likewise not new. Too, MLB venues filled their outfield walls & game programs with ads early as 1900’s; today, it continues unbridled with stadium, field, scoreboard etc. naming right$.

    Next evolution presents: ads on uniforms. Not only inevitable, in fact has already begun, right here the US. Not merely $ati$fied logo-ing to death jerseys, pants, shoes, socks & helmets (can we also squeeze in more ‘official’ league logos on the apparel?), comes now the embodiment walking, talking, breathing billboard: cue the PA announcer, “now playing QB and brought to you by (sponsor name, makers of …)”

    Just a few years ago, NBA (remember them? I quit watching/caring years ago) Commissioner Adam Silver promised that ads on jerseys were “inevitable”. The All Star Game this year, 2015, ‘KIA’ symbol upon player jersey’s was validation it has already begun. It will not only continue, will increase (already promised for the 2016 & 2017 All Star Games.) Will regular season venue be far behind?

    What once looked so beautiful in its simplicity & lack of excess uniforms NFL, MLB, NBA etc., has given way a bu$yness looks like 10 miles of bad road an Rand McNally road map.
    NFL Commissioner Roger (The Dodger) Goodell denies it will happen NFL; call me Doubting Thomas. Is it reasonable to presume the NFL (no fund$ lost), most avaricious of all the turnip bleeders, can re$i$t? Look for it to happen as the day appends same wherein ‘all’ NFL teams will make post season due economic necessity, regular season but perfunctory.

    Calgon, take me away! (back to the AFL/1960’s)


  4. 0tt060-74 says:

    A great story Todd, thanks for writing it.

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