I made a significant addition to my card collection recently when I located and purchased an autographed 1965 Topps Jim Perkins card.
Ok, so maybe Jim Perkins isn’t significant to 1965 Topps (or the AFL in general) in the same way as Joe Namath, but for autographed card collectors, this comes along, well… so far, once-in-a-lifetime.
Jim Perkins was born in Loyalton, California, on June 16, 1939. According to the 1964 Denver Broncos media guide, Perkins earned 12 varsity letters at Loyalton High School. He studied business administration at the University of Colorado-Boulder where he was a member of CU’s Big Eight championship teams, and was drafted in the 7th round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, and by the Denver Broncos in the 24th round of the AFL Draft of the same year. Perkins earned a starting spot on the Broncos offensive line as a rookie, was single (at least in 1964), and worked as a realtor in the off-season. Beyond that, nothing.
Pro-football-reference.com tells us that Jim Perkins started all 14 games for the Broncos in each of his three seasons, 1962-1964. The man was tough and durable. After 1964, however, nothing.
It so happens that 1964 was Jim Perkins last season with the Broncos; in fact, it was his last season in football. After that, he appears to have faded from the spotlight. Multiple internet searches bring back nothing other that statistical pages and postings about his lone football card, 1965 Topps #61. The card itself, in fact, is a bit of an oddity. It was issued during Perkins’ first year of retirement from the game, something that Topps usually only reserved for very high-profile players, or at least players who were much more prominent than Jim Perkins.
The final note that the football sites agree upon, which is dated some 28 years after his retirement from football, is that Jim Perkins passed away on July 24, 1992. What caused his passing at the age of 53? No idea.
I’m thrilled to have the card in my collection. It brings me down to just one card needed to complete my fully-autographed 1965 Topps set (that last card is Bobby Jancik, former Houston Oilers defensive back and kick returner). But I would be amiss if I didn’t say that I wish that I knew a bit more about Jim Perkins. By all accounts he had the beginnings of a good career. Did he suffer a career-ending injury? Did a better business opportunity arise? Did he get cross ways with a coach? Or did he just tire of the game? I have no idea, but someday I hope to.