Thursday, September 4, 2008

1973 Topps #523 Jim Strong

It's football season! So let's go Cougar old school and look at running back Jim Strong.

Strong lettered at the University of Houston in 1968 and 1969. He had an outstanding 1969 season. With two 200+ yard games, he rushed for 1,293 yards, good enough for fourth best season in UH history. It was also good enough to be the fourth leading rusher in the entire NCAA that season.

He topped off the 1969 with an incredible bowl game. At the Bluebonnet Bowl versus Auburn, he rushed for 184 yards which is still a Houston bowl record. That performance was good enough for him to be named bowl MVP as he led the Coogs to a 36-7 victory.

UH finished the season with a 9-2 record and ranked 12th in the AP and 16th in the Coaches poll. Jim Strong was named second team All American.

Strong is tenth in career rushing yards at UH with 1,936 and tied for eighth in career rushing touchdowns with 19.

He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1970 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played one season in San Francisco and two years for the New Orleans Saints.

Today's card is the 1973 Topps #523. This is Strong's only mainstream company football card. I don't believe Topps had an NFL contract that year because none of the cards I've seen have a helmet logo or team name in any of the photos, staged or action shots. The front of this card is no exception. Strong is posed in a three point stance, no helmet on and no team name on the jersey.

The back of the card includes 1972 and total career statistics. In a text description of his career, it states that he was the Saints leading ground gainer in 1972 with 404 yards. How bad was the Saints offense if the leading rusher only had 404 yards? The back also has a trivia question and cartoon unrelated to Strong.

I know the football cards from the early '70s look amateurish and cartoonish compared to the cards of today, but there's a charm to these cards that I still love.

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