Friday, June 12, 2009

1964 Topps #133 Dan Birdwell

Dan Birdwell was a defensive lineman for the University of Houston from 1959 to 1961. In their their last season in the Missouri Valley Conference, the 1959 Coogs only went 3-7, but they managed to share the conference title with 9-2 North Texas State by going 3-1 in conference.

In 1960, the Cougars went 6-4 in their 1st year as an independent. In 1961, UH went 5-4-1 in Harold W Lahar's last season as coach of he Coogs. Birdwell then went on to play in the All-American Bowl.

I don't know any more about Birdwell's college football career. If you know more about it, please leave a comment. Sharing knowledge about Cougar players is what this blog is all about.

In 1962, Dan was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions and the sixth round of the AFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. He decided to play for the Raiders.

Birdwell played for the Raiders from 1962 to 1969. In 1967, he was a starter for the AFL champions, but the Raiders lost to the Green Bay Packers in the second AFL-NFL Championship Game aka Super Bowl II. In 1968, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was first team All Pro.

On February 14, 1978 he passed away at the age of 37 due to a heart attack.

Dan Birdwell is featured on several collectibles, but he he is only featured by himself on one major brand card, the 1964 Topps #133.

While he may only have one major card, it is a great one. What a sharp looking vintage card. First, the photograph is a headshot with the background removed and replaced with a Cougar red field. I'd guess the color is a coincidence. These days, the background would be removed using a program like Photoshop. Obviously that was not available then and there is a very harsh cropping of the image. Underneath the photo is a black box listing name, team, and position. The card has a white border with blue stars. What a beautifully designed card.

The back doesn't have stats, but it does have a narrative about his skills and history which includes a mention of playing three years at UH.


Mike said...

Hi NTXCoog, thanks for the article. Is the jersey Birdwell is wearing from his college days? It doesn't look like a Raiders jersey.

Birdwell did make an appearance on a minor card, a 1969 Topps 4-in-1. The 4-in-1's were inserts in regular 1969 Topps packs. You could separate the stamps and stick them in little booklets that also came in the 1969 packs. On the 4-in-1 card, Birdwell appears in his Raiders jersey, wearing a different number than his 1964 Topps card.

NTXCoog said...

Definitely not a Raiders jersey. It could be a Cougar uniform because of the red, but I have my doubts.

All of the 1964 Topps football cards have similar photography so I doubt he'd pose for a new picture wearing a 3 year old college uniform.

I've also seen other players in the 1964 set with uniforms that don't match the team. Possibly the players went in for a photograph and chose from a set of jerseys that the photographer had for them to wear.

Obviously uniform consistency was not as big of a deal in old card products as it is today.