Jerry Kramer (True) Rookie Cards

With their 1st Pick in the 4th Round of the 1958 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Jerry Kramer from Idaho University. Jerry Kramer has one true rookie card.

Jerry Kramer the Key to the Packer Sweep

I’m not talking about Jerry Kramer from the show, Seinfeld. This Jerry was nicknamed Zipper and was a 6′ 3″ 245lb Guard that played for the Green Bay Packers between 1958-1968.

He was highly thought of by his coach Vince Lombardi who said, “Kramer is the best Guard in the league.” Such high accolades by such a prominent figure like Lombardi comes with good reason.

Kramer was an important part of Lombardi’s football philosophy, the “Packer Sweep.” It’s a play that entailed both left and right guards to pull out from their normal positions and become lead blockers for the running back.

Lombardi demanded that this play runs with excellence and would repeatedly teach it,

“What we’re trying to get is a seal here and a seal here and try to run this play in the alley!”

Kramer’s agility and speed to get there and make that block is what made the Packer Sweep so effective.

Jerry Kramer in the “Ice Bowl”

Kramer is credited with having the most celebrated block in NFL history.

It was December 31, 1967, and it was the day of the  NFL Championship game. This game was nicknamed the “Ice Bowl” because of the brutal weather conditions in which that game was played.

Game time temperatures with the wind chill were at negative -48 degrees below zero.

It was third and goal with only 16 seconds left in the game and the Packers were inside the Dallas Cowboys 1-yard line.

QB Bart Starr called for a “Brown Right 31 Wedge.”

Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman executed a double-team block on the left defensive tackle. This created just enough room to allow Bart Starr to jump across the goal line for a 21-17 lead.

This gave the Green Bay Packers a record three consecutive NFL Championships and Jerry Kramer played a significant role in that achievement.

Career Stats & Accomplishments

According to Pro-Football-Reference.com Jerry Kramer career stats are: Games 130 | Field Goals Made 29 | Field Goals Attempts 54 | Extra Points Made 90.

Accomplishments:

  • 3x Pro Bowl
  • 5x All-Pro
  • 2x Super Bowl Champion
  • 5x NFL Champion
  • Hall of Fame All-1960s Team
  • HOF Induction 2018

Jerry Kramer True Rookie Card:

Before We Begin

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True Rookie Card

Identifier (RC) Defined

A rookie card is a trading card that is the first to feature an athlete AFTER that athlete has participated in the highest level of competition within his or her respected sport. It must be licensed by both the League and the Players Association. An RC identifier is only given to cards that fit this criteria. Below is an exhaustive list of the featured players true rookie cards.

1959 Topps, #116 (RC)

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A complete set of 1959 Topps Football has 176 cards in it. A small number by today’s standard but back then the 59′ Topps Football was the largest set printed to date. It was also printed in two 88 card series.

It’s been confirmed that there are twice as many of the series two cards. A 132 card printing plate was used and since there were only 88 cards many were duplicated.

Fantastic card design here the background appears to be orange and what seems to be fabric.

That little cartoon guy in the photo with him doesn’t seem to have much purpose to me but some feel that these were team logos.

In the back of Jerry Kramer’s rookie card is a trivia question, “Which great baseball manager once ran a pro football team?” Intrigued by the question I took it to Google.

I believe the answer is Hugo Bezdek who managed the Pittsburg Pirates 1917-1919 and was the head coach of the Cleveland Rams in the 1937-1938 season.

Whatever you do, don’t “RUB EDGE OF COIN OVER THIS SPACE FOR MAGIC ANSWER.”

That would severely damage a nearly 60-year-old card.


Post-Rookie Theme

Identifier (PRT) Defined

The PRT identifier has a dual function. It’s used to identify cards that feature a player after their rookie season but in some way the card design has elements that feature a rookie theme. Also, for vintage, this identifier can be used for second year cards which are highly collectable, and often times preferred, but they are NOT true rookie cards.

1961 Fleer, #95 (PRT)

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Surprising to me Jerry Kramer has no cards issued in 1960. Not sure why since he played complete 12 game seasons in 1959 and 1960.

Looking into it further, I noticed after the 1959 rookie card, Topps never issued a card of him again. Not sure why but when that typically happens there was probably some contractual disagreements.

Case in point, we have a 1961 Fleer card of him here. Fleer Corporation was a competitor to Topps and there was some serious court battles going on in the early 1960s.

This is why I assume Jerry Kramer opted to sign with Fleer instead of Topps. However, not a good move by Jerry because Fleer ended up losing in that ruling.

I guess one can say he burned some bridges with the Topps Co., and this is why we only have one Jerry Kramer Topps card issued, and it just so happens to be his rookie card.

However, with all that said we still have a very nice Fleer card of Kramer that captures him early on in his career. Technically, it’s a fourth year card but only the second card issued of Kramer. Therefore, earning a Post-Rookie Theme identifier.


1961 Lake to Lake Packers, #1 (PRT)

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The final card we’ll look at is another Post-Rookie Theme card of Jerry Kramer. The 1961 Lake to Lake was a regional 36 card set. The cards measured slightly smaller at 2 1/2″ X 3 1/14″ respectively.

What I find intriguing with these is the retro, minty green, vintage film look to them. Also, card numbers are displayed in the front and so is the player bio. Very unique indeed.

Although some of these are consider short prints (including this one) they can still be found on occasion.

If you like rare, oddball cards of Hall of Famers this may be a viable option for you. This is what makes the hobby of sports card collecting so great, there is something for everyone.

If you’re a Green Bay Packer fan check out the rookie cards of another Hall of Famer Brett Favre (True) Rookie Cards.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.

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