Lance Alworth’s Archive – 1965 AFL All-Star Jersey

Lance Alworth holding his jersey from the 1964 AFL All-Star Game.

Lance Alworth holding his jersey from the 1965 AFL All-Star Game.

I answered the phone one day last week and heard a familiar voice on the other end.  “Hey Todd, it’s Lance.  I was wondering if you could come up and meet me?  I found some stuff at the house that I would like you to see.”

It didn’t take me long to answer that question, and a few days later I found myself (and my three kids) sitting in Lance Alworth’s office.  Lance is a wonderful host, and once he told my kids where he kept the candy and to help themselves, we walked into the next room to look at his findings.  He had a few boxes piled up, and from a distance I could see a couple of jerseys.

The boxes had a handful of neat items; A program from the 1962 College All-Star Game, an advertisement for the 1962 Look All-America Team, a handful of books, photos, golf shirts and other bits and pieces pertaining to his football career wither at the University of Arkansas or with the Chargers.  The real jewel of Lance’s most recent findings, however, was his game worn jersey from the AFL All-Star Game played in Houston, Texas, on January 16, 1965.

I have a fascination with this particular game because of the boycott made by the players in the face of racial bigotry that they faced in New Orleans, so to have in my hands a piece of equipment worn in that game was more than a bit thrilling.

The jersey itself remains in fantastic condition.  It has a very simple design, and in fact, looks identical from the front and back.  The only noticeable difference being the small, Spanjian label on the front.  Four small, white stars are set in a diamond pattern over a blue patch on each shoulder.  Alworth’s blue #19 accounts for the only other markings.

I took the jersey home with me that day, where I photographed it to add to a digital archive of Lance’s memorabilia.  From there it will be packed into acid-free tissue and box, and moved to the storage area set aside for Alworth’s fantastic accumulation of AFL treasures.

alworth 1965 all star jersey front

Front

 

alworth 1965 all star jersey back

Back

 

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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.


12 Responses to Lance Alworth’s Archive – 1965 AFL All-Star Jersey

  1. Buzz Ponce says:

    What an incredible find! While maybe not quite on the same level as the Shroud of Turin, Alworth’s All Star jersey from ’65 is a jewel, indeed. And as you have previously pointed out Todd, that game was a watershed moment in sports history. To view an actual artifact from the 1965 AFL All Star game that’s in such pristine condition is a genuine treasure. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dave Steidel says:

    Great find Todd – I love those All-Star jerseys and wish they would make throwbacks like them. Interesting too is that it was a long sleeved shirt – when’s the last time you saw one of those?

    ps – Lance looks to be in terrific shape – his autographed SPORT magazine picture is on my AFL wall-of-fame.

  3. 0tt060-74 - formerly known as Kenton says:

    I was curious, did he give you the jersey for your collection ?

    • Todd Tobias says:

      Ha! No, I wish! Several years ago Lance hired me to catalog and archive his memorabilia for him. He will occasionally find more stuff around his house, and call me up to add it to the rest.

      • 0tt060-74 says:

        That’s great, lucky you… I’ve been meaning to ask you, as I guess i’m too lazy to do the research, How many members of “The Foolish Club” are still living ?

  4. John Freeman says:

    A very cool story, Todd…I love that you took your kids to meet Lance, who’s one of my favorite athletes of all time.

  5. Tom says:

    Spanjian of Pasadena started in Chicago in the 1930’s and caught a break in the 1940’s when the Bears hired them to manufacture their uniforms. In the 1950’s the Spanjian family relocated the firm to Pasadena Ca, once home to another famous American of Armenian descent Jerry Tarkanian. Jerry now 82 and long over due, just yeasterday was inducted with several others to the Basketball Hall Of Fame. Congrats to coach Tark.
    Lance looks good!

  6. Eddie Arminio says:

    Bambi looks like he could lace up the cleats right now.He was the best poster boy the AFL ever had. A great one.

  7. Ken Severson says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing! One of my favorite AFL players of all time.

  8. Brandon Rose says:

    Terrific story! Lance Alworth is one of the reasons the AFL was such an outstanding league. Watching Lance and all of those other exciting Chargers players on Sunday growing up made me a life long fan. Being a collector my Lance Alworth autographed football is one of my prize possessions. In closing, Lance looks great and like he could play today! Get John Hadl, Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln on the phone … can you spell comeback!

  9. KT says:

    Very cool! Is any of Lance’s stuff in the Hall of Champions in San Diego (or does he have any plans for it to be)?

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