Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1937 Diamond Matchbooks #3 William "Red" Conkright

Adding assistant coaches to the checklist really expands the collecting options. Prior to adding coaches, the oldest item was from 1954. Now the oldest item is from 1937.

Today's item features William "Red" Conkright. Conkright played his college football at OU where he was team captain and was an all Big-Six lineman. He played one year of pro football for the Chicago Bears in 1937.

I'm not sure all of his coaching stops prior to coming to the University of Houston, but he was a line coach for the Coogs under head coach Harold Lahar for two seasons: 1957 and 1958. In 1957, UH went 5-4-1 and won the Missouri Valley Conference. In 1958, UH went 5-4 tying for 2nd in the conference behind conference champion North Texas.

Conferences were so crazy then. In 1957, the Coogs won the conference with a perfect 3-0 conference record. 2nd place was North Texas with a perfect 1-0 record. What? How do you only play 1 conference game? All other teams in the 5 team conference played 3 conference games except Tulsa that played 4. In 1958, at least all teams played 4 conference games.

He left UH in 1959 to take the head coaching job at SFA.

Today's collectible is not a card. It's a matchbook: 1937 Diamond Matchbooks #3 featuring Conkright. Matchbook collecting was huge in the US in the 1930s and 1940s. There is still a fairly significant group that collects these, but it is not at the level it was then.

I wonder if the decline in smoking, especially in public places, has affected this hobby. When I was a kid, every restaurant had a bowl of matches advertising the place. Now with so many restaurants being smoke free, you don't see as many matches available. When you do see them, the matchbook is fairly plain with just a logo. Compare that with matchbooks of the past where often they were quite elaborately decorated.

Today's featured matchbook has everything that was available on the cards of the time. The front of the cover has a photo of Red. The back has his bio.

What a fun and interesting collectible.

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