>Rick Redman, Larry Elkins and the 1965 Topps football set

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Being a collector and historian of the American Football League, I occasionally run across interesting sidebars and tidbits to the players, the league and the vast world of collectibles.  One such case is the situation involving a couple of former AFL’ers and their 1965 Topps football cards.  Rick Redman and Larry Elkins both began their careers in professional football in 1965.  Redman, a linebacker from the University of Washington, played nine season for the San Diego Chargers, from 1965-1973.  Elkins, a first-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers, was a wide receiver from Baylor University, whose playing time in the AFL was from 1965-1967.  Both were highly-touted players coming out of college and as such, both had their first football cards appear in the famed 1965 Topps set.

As we were wrapping up a telephone interview for my book, Charging Through the AFL, I asked Rick Redman if he would sign a few of his football cards if I sent them to him in the mail.  He graciously agreed to sign, and added the following commentary about his 1965 Topps card:

“I am absolutely amazed at how many cards I get in the mail.  I get probably three a week.  I just can’t believe it.  There’s a funny story about one of those cards.  I don’t know if you remember a guy that was drafted the same time I was, by the Houston Oilers.  He was a guy from Baylor and his name was Larry Elkins.  He was an All-American at Baylor.  In fact, we played against each other and were on several all-American teams at the same time.  Well, Topps screwed up on the bubble gum cards and got our pictures mixed up on the cards.  So every once in a while I’ll get a card that has his picture on it.  And I’ll send it back and let the people know that they have something that they should really hang onto…  You ought to try and find his card with my picture on it.  I’ll sign that for you too.  Every time we saw each other before a game we’d say, “You never looked so good as when you were on my card.”  We always had this friendly banter back and forth.”

So I sent Rick Redman his 1965 Topps card to sign for me.  He returned it quickly with the following note:
A few weeks later I was able to track down a 1965 Topps Larry Elkins card.  I sent it to Redman to sign as well, thinking that it had Redman’s photo on it.  Redman sent back the following note:
A month or so later, I purchased additional copies of the Redman and Elkins cards, this time to send to Elkins.  I dropped them into the mail, headed to an address in Brownwood, Texas.  A week or two went by before I got a phone call from a nice lady saying that she was Larry Elkins’ sister.  She said that Larry worked overseas, but got back to the States a couple of times each year.  She didn’t know how long it would take, but wanted me to know that I would get my cards back at some point.  I thanked her and eventually forgot about the whole thing.  But sure enough, roughly 23 months later, I received both cards back in the mail, signed by Larry Elkins.  It turns out that Elkins’ sister had sent my package to him in England, and then he sent it back from there.  He included the following note with his reply:
Enclosed were the Elkins and Redman cards, both signed by Larry Elkins.  And so the mini-collection was complete.
Larry Elkins and Rick Redman both enjoyed prosperous careers after football.  Redman returned to the state of Washington and embarked upon a long career with Sellen Construction, of which he is now the Chief Executive Officer.  After a knee injury ended his football career prematurely, Elkins traveled the world working for various companies and in the entertainment industry.  Prior to his recent retirement, Elkins spent a dozen years in Saudi Arabia, working as a consultant to the Ministry of Water, which operated 26 desalination plants, pipelines and pump stations along the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

Todd Tobias (788 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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6 Responses to >Rick Redman, Larry Elkins and the 1965 Topps football set

  1. Tom says:

    Todd I didn’t purchase a single card this weekend, first time that’s happened in a while. As you know much has been written and spoken as to the cavalier approach Toops took towards production of football cards as opposed to baseball. While many more baseball cards were produced it is relatively uncommon to find error cards. The bulk of recognized error cards were the baseball cards first produced by Bowman and blank backs in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s to gain competitive edge and market share and spark interest it became a yearly ritual for one of the three card manufacturers to error and correct the set.

    • Todd Tobias says:

      Hi Tom-

      Yes, football cards played second fiddle to baseball for a long time. Even though I think football has surpassed baseball in terms of fans, baseball is still king in terms of overall collecting. I have a large trade coming for some of the signed cards that I need to complete my sets, but otherwise things have been slow for me recently as well. So much so, that I recently bought my first NFL items in years – autographed 1961 & 1962 Topps Big Daddy Lipscomb cards!

      • Tom says:

        Hi Todd,

        Your recent finds of Barnes, Dubenion, and the pocket schedules were of interest. I saw the Babe Parilli Super Bowl clock you mentioned in the one article and thought about it? It’s personal, historic and would seemingly, ovetime appreciate in value, I wonder how it came on the market and why? I wrote after the Lipscomb find about his wrestling prowess and my posters. Roy Warner was the local promoter of those wrestling matches but he is no where to be found on Wiki lists and other lists of all time wrestling promoters.

        • Todd Tobias says:

          Yes, I am envious of those posters. They sound really cool. After getting the signed ’61 Lipscomb, I bit the bullett and bought the signed ’62 that the same seller had. I am becoming particularly interested in Lipscomb. He is such a fascinating story.

          I can only guess that the clock hasn’t sold because it is not rerribly attractive, and other than a simple nameplate, there is nothing to distinguish it as football, AFL, super bowl, or anything else. Otherwise, it would be a ncie piece to have.

          • Tom says:

            Todd, One of the wrestlers on a few early posters was “Wild Red Berry” who in later life became a wrestling manager. For fun you tube him on Graucho Marx you bet your life show. The female contestant is also something else. They don’t make them much anymore like them. Distinctive, talented and unique.

  2. […] one of the fist posts ever on this blog, I wrote about the mistaken photographs on the 1965 Topps Larry Elkins and Rick Redman cards.  It was an odd case of mistakenly using a photo of Larry Elkins on Rick Redman’s cards.  […]

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