Monday, August 26, 2013

St. Louis Cardinals

And now for the St. Louis Football Cardinals. The Cardinals got the always-popular gray color scheme in the '66 and '67 Philadelphia Gum sets.

I had all these cards in 1967 except for Ken Gray and Joe Robb. There's the usual cross-section of positions here, except for no linebackers, and two safties.

Cardinals Team - Except for the 3-year period from 1974 to 1976 (and also 2008-2009), the Cardinals were pretty much the doormat of their division from 1949 to the present day, routinely winning less than 6 games per season. 1967 was no exception: the team finished at 6-7-1 with 2nd-year man Jim Hart in his first season as the starting QB. Hart took over the reins when 5-year starter Charley Johnson spent much of the season in the Army.

Charley Johnson was drafted by the Cardinals in 1960, and was the starting QB from 1962-66, and again for part of 1969. He spent the 1967 and 1968 seasons in the US Army, flying to the games on Sundays (as Hart's backup). Charlie was with the Oilers for 2 seasons (as the starter in '70, and as rookie Dan Pastorini's backup in '71), then finished up with 4 seasons in Denver (the first 3 as the Broncos' starting QB.)

Roy Shivers played 7 seasons (1966-72) in the NFL, all with the Cardinals. He was the team's top kick returner as a rookie, and was a return man and backup running back his entire career.

Johnny Roland was the Cardinals' 4th-round pick in 1965, but did not play that year. He was a starting running back from 1966 to 1969, and was also the team's primary punt returner as a rookie. Johnny also made the Pro Bowl in his first 2 seasons. After backing up MacArthur Lane (1970-71) and Donny Anderson (1972), Roland finished his career in 1973 with the Giants.

Bobby Joe Conrad was drafted by the Giants in 1958, but played for the Chicago Cardinals that year. He was the Cards' placekicker and part-time receiver from 1958-60, then was the starting flanker from 1961-1968. He led the NFL with 73 receptions in 1963. Bobby Joe finished his career with the Cowboys in 1969. (The Cowboys seemed to collect a lot of receivers at the end of their careers: Mike Ditka, Lance Alworth, Jackie Smith, Bobby Joe Conrad).

Jackie Smith was drafted by the Cardinals in 1963, and was one of the top tight ends of his day (along with Mike Ditka and John Mackey). He was the team's starting tight end for his first 13 seasons (1963-75), and made the Pro Bowl every year from 1966 to 1970. Smith was also the team's punter from 1964 to 1966. Jackie backed up tight end J. V. Cain for 2 seasons, then went to Dallas for his final season (1978), which included his infamous dropped pass in the end zone in the Super Bowl.

Ken Gray began his career as the starting right defensive end for the Chicago Cardinals in 1958. The next season he switched to offense, where he held down the Cardinals' starting right guard spot from 1959 to 1969, making six Pro Bowls. In his final season (1970) he was the Houston Oilers' starting left guard.

Jim Bakken was drafted by the Rams in 1962, and played 8 games that season - with the Cardinals. He was the Cardinals' regular kicker for the next 16 years (1963-78), and made the Pro Bowl 4 times ('65, '67, '75, '76). He led the NFL in scoring with 117 points in 1967, and was also the team's punter in '65 and '66.

Joe Robb played 13 seasons in the NFL (1959-71), and was a starter for all but his last two. After 2 seasons as the Eagles' starting left defensive end, he manned the same post for the Cardinals from 1961 to 1967. His only Pro Bowl appearance came in 1966. Robb also played for the Lions from 1968 to 1971.

Jerry Stovall played for 9 seasons (1963-71), all with the Cardinals. He was the team's #1 pick (2nd overall) in 1963 (and also the 3rd overall pick in the AFL draft). Jerry was the team's starting strong safety every year except 1969, when he missed all but 4 games. He was also the team's punter in his first 2 years (and to a lesser extent for 2 more seasons). He was also a kick returner for his first 3 seasons, and made 3 Pro Bowls.

Larry Wilson is the only Hall-of-Famer in this group. He was the Cardinals' starting free safety for his entire career (1960-72), made 8 Pro Bowls, and led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1966. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

"In contention" is a relative term.

Also check out the 1971 Cardinals.


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