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Better Late Than Never: Staubach Rookie Showcases Late Blooming HOF Career

One of the very best sports radio discussions I ever heard on local Dallas-Fort Worth stations was to create the Dallas Mount Rushmore of athletes. Fortunately there is usually just one player who stands above the others in all the major sports in terms of both fame and popularity among fans. For hockey, the choice is Mike Modano who was the face of the Dallas Stars for nearly two decades, Dirk Novitzki in basketball who is still an amazing offensive player, Nolan Ryan the all-time strikeout king in baseball and Roger Staubach in football.

1972 Topps Roger Staubach LOTG AuctionsNow Staubach did not start for the Cowboys as long as Troy Aikman did nor did he come up with the gaudy offensive statistics of Tony Romo but he led the Cowboys to their first two Super Bowl victories and was the quarterback when the Cowboys would become known—fairly or not– as America’s team.

Staubach also came up with one the greatest lines of all-time when during the 1970’s when he was asked about a comparison to Joe Namath. You have to hear this little snippet from an interview with Phyllis George on CBS to understand what a sensation this was circa 1975.

A college standout at Navy, Staubach’s NFL career was late blooming because he served his five-year Naval commitment and then made the Cowboys at the age of 27. Then he  had to wait a couple of years before finally becoming the Cowboys starting quarterback in 1971.  Rusty?  Not a chance.  Roger the Dodger led them to their first Super Bowl that season.

Finally, four years into his pro career and nearly a decade after his college exploits ended, Topps produced a Staubach card in their 1972 set.  The Staubach rookie card is now one of the most popular of all-time.

While there is no shortage of 1972 Topps football cards at any major card show, this one gets expensive in high grade because it is often beset with centering issues.  Its position on the uncut production sheets was on the top right, making it also vulnerable to corner and edge wear.

A PSA 9 graded example just hit eBay this week and bids quickly jumped past $3,000 with five days left in the bidding.  Near mint ‘7’ grades will typically fetch $175-225.  Ungraded examples in lower and mid grades can be found for $25-50.

It’s been a popular card to have autographed with numerous examples on eBay right now.

There is also a ‘Pro Action’ Staubach in the ’72 Topps first series which shows him in competition, a Super Bowl card which shows him running away from traffic and he’s also on a League Leader card at the beginning of the set.

However, it’s #200, the Staubach rookie card, that has carved out its place among the most sought after modern era football cards.

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].

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