Vintage Track and Field Autographs

Olympians and Other Stars of the Past--1920s thru 1960s

Bill Bangert  (1924-2011)

Shot Put—(Purdue) 1945 U.S. Men's Indoor Track and Field champion 16-pound shot put 1945;  NCAA Track and Field champion discus 1945-46; 1946 Big Ten indoor champion 16-pound shot put 1946;  Big Ten outdoor champion 16-pound shot put and discus 1946  [Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame 1998]

"I'm the only blind athlete to ever compete in an all-sighted championships of any kind at the  [Madison Square] Garden."

    Bill Bangert

 

Being blind, Bangert mentioned that his daughter helped him write the note and autograph the 1952 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Barney Berlinger (1908-2002)

Decathlon—(Pennsylvania) Olympic Games 1928: 17th place [James E. Sullivan Memorial Award 1931]

 

 

Barney Berlinger autographed this 1929 Jack Sords cartoon, one of the oldest cartoons in my track and field signed cartoon collection.  Berlinger was a world class decathlete in the late 1920's and early 30's. He was a member of the '28 Olympic team and after years of outstanding performance, in 1931was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award as America's top amateur athlete. He went on to win the AAU national decathlon championship in Chicago and while completing the ten events in a single day in 105-degree heat lost 18 pounds and nearly died of dehydration. Like most top athletes Barney needed to test himself to feel truly alive and so over the next forty years he traveled the world on safari cheating death on many occasions. In 1952 he took his fourteen-year-old son with him to Alaska. Over the next twenty years they would travel together around the globe.

Ralph Boston  (1939-    )

Long Jump—(Tennessee State) Olympic Games 1960: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1964: Silver Medal; Olympic Games 1968: Silver Medal  [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1974, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1985]

It's true that a lot of kids today don't know what we went through to lay the groundwork. I'm talking both about breaking racial barriers, and about setting a certain standard on the track.  I knew people like Wilma, and Lee Calhoun, and Jesse Owens, who defied Adolf Hitler, one of the worst human beings who ever lived. Maybe that's not important to kids today, but it's their loss, not mine. As for me, I've known the great ones.
    Ralph Boston

 

 

This 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon autographed by Ralph Boston is one of two Pap cartoons in my collection; the other is from 1961.

Watch a video clip of Ralph Boston competing in a 1962 U. S. vs. Russia dual track meet.  Watch a video clip of Boston competing in a 1965 meet.  Watch a video clip of Boston at the U. S. Olympic trials in Los Angeles in 1964.  Watch a video clip of Boston competing at the California Relays in Modesto, California, in 1964.

Don "Tarzan" Bragg (1935-    )

Pole Vault—Olympic Games 1960: Gold Medal   [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1996]

I consider myself one of the great athletes of that era.  And yet, I never made a cent.
    Don Bragg

 

Don Bragg autographed this 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Don Bragg taking the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.

Howard Cann  (1895-1992)

Shot Put—(New York University) Olympic Games 1920: Shot put—8th place

 

Cann won the IC4A Middle Atlantic States and Penn Relays shot-put titles.

Hal Connolly  (1931-2010)

Hammer—Olympic Games 1956: Gold Medal ; Olympic Games 1960: 8th; Olympic Games 1964: 6th; Olympic Games 1968 [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1984]

 

 

Hal Connolly autographed this 1956 Tom Paprocki cartoon. He autographed the 1964 Alan Maver cartoon for me in January 2010.

Watch a video clip of Hal Connolly competing in a 1962 U. S. vs. Russia dual track meet.

Charlie Dumas (1937-2004)

High Jump(Compton JC) [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1990]

I asked the high-jump official, Dave Schwartz, to raise it to 7 feet, but Wilson came over and said: “Charlie, if you clear an even 7, a dozen guys will do it next week, once the mental barrier is gone. Put it a half-inch over.”  So it was actually put at 7 feet 5/8 of an inch. When they converted it to meters, it came out 7 feet, a half inch.  My first try was a miss, but it was a decent miss. I felt fairly confident.  There was no pressure. I knew I had made the plane [to the Olympics]. Plus, I'd had attempts in competition at 7 before, so I knew what it was about. Maybe I was so relaxed, I just did everything right. Dumas put his sweats back on and jogged the length of the Coliseum turf and back. He sat down, pulled the sweats off and relaced his green shoes. He faced the bar again.  I ticked it somewhere, my foot, hand . . . but it stayed up. The place went wild. It was a super night.
    Charlie Dumas,
    on breaking the 7-foot high jump barrier

 

Charlie Dumas autographed this 1956 Bill Peveer cartoon.

Harrison “Sam” Francis  (1913-2002)

Shot Put—(Nebraska)  1936 Olympics: bronze medal

 

He is buried in Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri

Jim Fuchs  (1927-2010)

Shot Put(Yale) NCAA shot put champion 1950, Olympic Games: Shot Put—1948 Bronze Medal, 1952 Bronze Medal [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 2005]

 

This 1952 cartoon is one of four Alan Maver cartoons autographed by Jim Fuchs in my collection.  The others are from 1949, 1950, and 1951. 

Franklin "Bud" Held  (1927-    )

Javelin—(Stanford) Olympic Games: Javelin—1952 9th place; Pan American Games: 1955 Gold Medal [World Record 1953, 1955; U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1987]

 

 

Bud Held autographed two copies of this 1955 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Listen to an interview with Bud Held.

Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch  (1923-2004)

Long Jump/High Jump—(Michigan) World War II service trainer  [U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame 2005]

I could always run fast as a kid . . . .I used to run back and forth from my house to school and try to step on each crack in the sidewalk, thinking it would make me more shifty.  There was a park in town, and I'd go at top speed, heading straight for a tree, then shift the football as I dodged right or left just in time to miss it.  I never pivoted, just dodged.  It's hard to fake out a tree, and sometimes I'd plow right into one.  Maybe that's what's been wrong with me all these years.
    Elroy Hirsch

 

Elroy Hirsch autographed this unique 1944 Jack Sords cartoon.  His commitment to the United States Navy V-12 program in the United States Marine Corps required him to transfer to the University of Michigan. He played two intercollegiate seasons at the University of Michigan where he has the distinction of being the only athlete at the school to letter in four sports (football, basketball, track and baseball) in a single year.

He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau, Wisconsin.

Dallas Long  (1940-   )

Shot Put(USC) NCAA shot put champion 1960-62, Olympic Games: Shot Put—1960 Bronze Medal, 1964 Gold Medal [tied or broke world record six times between 1959 and 1964; U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1996]

 

 

This 1960 cartoon is one of two different cartoons by Tom Paprocki autographed by Dallas Long for me.  The other is a 1964 cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Dallas Long throwing the shot put in three different track meets in 1964. 

J. D. Martin (     )

Pole Vault/Decathlon—(Oklahoma) Pan American Games 1963: Gold Medal Decathlon  [Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame 2006]

 

 

J. D. Martin autographed this 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon in February 2011.

Bob Mathias (1930-2006)

Decathlon—Olympic Games 1948: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1952: Gold Medal  [James E. Sullivan Award 1948, A.P. Athlete of the Year 1952, U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1974, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1983]

While he was killing you on the track, he'd be smiling.  The overall feeling from him was tons of cool. Tons of cool and tons of class.   He blew everyone away [in the 1948 Olympics].  He wasn't the biggest or fastest or springiest of any of us.  But he was so well-grounded technically. He was completely unflappable. Nothing could bother him.  He was a really straight-shooter type of guy.  No affectations. For a kid around 18 to 22, that's remarkable.
    Irv Mondschein

 

Bob Mathias autographed this 1953 Phil Bissell cartoon.  I also have a Mathias-signed 1948 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

He is buried in Tulare Cemetery, Tulare, California.

Earl "The Heavenly Twin" Meadows  (1913-1992)

Pole Vault—(Southern California) Olympic Games 1936: Gold Medal, World Record Holder

 

Earle Meadows autographed this 1941 Alan Maver cartoon.  Meadows was a USC student when he won the gold medal in the pole vault at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Meadows won in Berlin by clearing 14 feet 3 1/4 inches on a bamboo pole. In 1937, he broke the world pole vault record twice. The two previous years, he had shared the NCAA pole vault title with Trojan teammate Bill Sefton. 

Parry O’Brien (1932-2007)

Shot Put—(Southern California) Olympic Games 1952: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1956: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1960: Silver Medal; Olympic Games 1964: 4th place  [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1974, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1984]

When you teach somebody to throw the shot, you teach him the O'Brien method.  No one calls it that any more, but that's what it is. Oh, maybe if you were taking a theory of track class, the instructor might tell you it was perfected by Parry O'Brien, but to the layman, that's just the way you throw the shot.  O'Brien was a pioneer, the first great one, like Ty Cobb in baseball.  When you consider his contributions to the sport, to his event, he was the best.
    Mike Herrington

  

Parry O'Brien autographed this 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon.  I also have another O'Brien-signed Pap cartoon from 1952 and a 1956 Bill Peveer cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Perry O'Brien competing in the Examiner Invitational indoor meet in San Francisco in 1966.  

Al Oerter (1936-2007)

Discus—Olympic Games 1956: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1960: Gold Medal 1964: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1968: Gold Medal  [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1974, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1983]

I was a sprinter.  I got too large to be a sprinter and converted to the mile. I thought I wanted to be a distance-runner since I used to run home as a kid a couple of miles every day. Actually, it's too much work.  One day, the discus skipped onto the track and I threw it back to the guy who threw it to me.  I threw it further to him than he threw it to me.
    Al Oerter

 


Al Oerter autographed this 1964 Tom Paprocki cartoon.  It is one of two different Oerter-signed 1964 Pap cartoons in my collection.  I also have a 1956 Oerter-signed cartoon.

Watch a video clip ofAl Oerter competing at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in 1964.

Bob "The Vaulting Vicar" Richards  (1926-  )

Pole Vault—(Illinois) Decathlon AAU champion 1954-55; Olympic Games 1948: Bronze Medal; Olympic Games 1952: Gold Medal; Olympic Games 1956: Gold Medal   [James E. Sullivan Memorial Award 1951, U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1975, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame 1983]

I won it on my third attempt.  I had been injured going into the thing, and I didn't think I had much of a chance. On my last jump, though, somehow, from somewhere down deep in my soul, I heard the word ‘Push!’  The Russians were hugging me, the Swedes, everybody. That was when you weren't supposed to hug them, but I couldn't avoid it. It was wonderful! The Olympics are supposed to break down the barriers, but several people said I shouldn't have done it. They said it was a bad example to hug Russians.
    Bob Richards, on
    winning the gold medal
    in 1952 Olympics

 

Bob Richards autographed this 1950 Alan Maver cartoon.  I also have a Richards-signed 1950 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Bob Richards competing in the 1955 Pan American Games.

Bob Seagren  (1946-    )

Pole Vault—(Southern California) Olympic Games 1968—Gold Medal, 1972—Silver Medal; Pan American Games 1967—Gold Medal

 

 

Bob Seagren autographed this 1969 Alan Maver cartoon in January 2010.  He also sent me a note thanking me for my "kind words."  He went to a neighboring high school.  Although our schools were in different leagues, he had occasion to compete against two of our good pole vaulters.  I raced high hurdles once against his teammate, Les Shy, in an inter-league meet.  Shy, who later played in the NFL, beat me by a mile.

Watch a video clip interview with Bob Seagren discussing the Long Beach Marathon.  Watch video clip footage of the pole vault competition at the 1972 Olympics.

L. Jay Silvester  (1937-   )

Discus—(Utah State) 1955-59; NAAU Champion 1961,1963,1968,1970,1972; Olympic Games 1964—4th place, 1968—5th place, 1972—silver medal, 1976—8th place; 4-time world record holder   [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1998]

My own success has been directly related to love for the sport—my absolute love for it—my obsessive drive and shutting out other things. . . .  Each has to find something to spend his energy against, to struggle against, to excel in.  Some things just catch our fancy, they become us, we become them, we become attached to an endeavor.  There is an internal force that drives you to do that thing, and it becomes an addiction.
    Jay Silvester

 

 

Jay Silvester autographed this 1957 Ev Thorpe cartoon.  In his 26 December 1992 letter, Silvester wrote:  "Thank you for your kind note.  I think I have the original drawing by Ev Thorpe.  It hangs in my den.  Each of us does "things" to make our lives interesting & hopefully rich and fulfilling.  Good luck in your pursuits."

Neal Steinhauer  (1944-    )

Shot Put—(Oregon) Pan American Games 1967—Silver Medal, World Indoor Record 1967, U.S. National Champion 1969

I would have loved to fulfill my dream in the 1968 games, but it wasn't meant to be.  A slipped disc in weight training kept me home.

      Neal Steinhauer, in note to me dated Feb. 27, 2010

 

 

Neal Steinhauer autographed this 1967 Alan Maver cartoon in February 2010.

John Uelses  (1937-    )

Pole Vault—(La Salle) 4-time World Record Holder 1962, NCAA Outdoors Champion 1964

 

 

John Uelses autographed this 1962 Alan Maver cartoon in January 2010.

John Thomas (1941-    )

High Jump(Boston University) Olympic Games: 1960 — Bronze Medal, 1964 — Silver Medal   [U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame 1985]

Those were good days; I enjoyed my experiences at Olympics.  It was the public who felt I didn't reach their expectations. And the press turned the whole thing into a negative story.  I tied for second in 1960 and I tied for first in 1964, and they acted as if I lost. Everyone was on my bandwagon until I didn't win the gold. Then they all turned it around. That's just the way it is.
    John Thomas

 


John Thomas autographed this 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon.  It is one of two different Thomas-signed cartoons in my collection from that cartoonist and same year.

Watch a video clip of John Thomas competing in 1963.

Watch a video clip of:

  • Jim Beatty

  • Ralph Boston

  • Don Bragg

  • Charlie Capozzoli

  • Ray Conger

  • Hal Connolly

  • Chuck Fenske

  • Hayes Jones

  • Don Lash

  • Dallas Long

  • Parry O'Brien

  • Tom O'Hara

  • Bob Richards

  • Wes Santee

  • Bob Schul

  • Bob Seagren

  • Frank Shorter

  • Dave Sime

  • John Thomas

  • Gene Venzke

  • Dave Wottle

Listen to an interview with:

  • Bud Held

Recent Blog Entries

by vintagetrackandfieldautographs | 2 comments

New Additions

Tom Courtney (Middle Distance Runner)

J.D. Martin (Pole Vault)

Charlie Moore (Hurdler)

Bob Schul (Distance Runner)

Frank Shorter (Distance Runner)

Arnie Sowell (Middle Distance Runner)

Dave and Don Styron (Sprinter and Hurdler)

Dave Wottle (Middle Distance Runner)