Add one more member to the roster of 1950s Pro Football Hall of Fame rookie cards. Steelers’ defensive back Jack Butler was elected Saturday after a 52-year wait. He joined several players from the modern era on the list of inductees for 2012.
Waiting was nothing new for Butler. He didn’t get a football card until his seventh year in the league.
Butler, now 84, made his debut in 1951 as a rookie free agent out of St. Bonaventure. Before his career ended in 1959, he would pick off 52 passes, make four Pro Bowls and wind up on the NFL’s 50th anniversary all-time team. Still, it wasn’t enough for the selection committee to call his name until now.
Butler returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 1954, had four of them in one game during the 1953 season and was considered one of the game’s top tacklers.
1950s football card sets, during both the Bowman and Topps eras, included only a small number of players per team and with an emphasis on offense, Butler was never picked.
Finally, after earning his first Pro Bowl trip, Topps put him in its 1957 card set (#15). Butler also appeared on Topps cards in ’58 (#76) and ’59 (#22). During his final season, he suffered a serious leg injury that ended his career.
His 1958 Topps card is especially tough to find in ultra high grade. In fact, only three PSA 9’s exist with one selling last month (prior to the Hall vote) for $523.
Since the vote, PSA 7 copies of his rookie card, have brought as much as $105.
A slew of Butler cards and autographs went on eBay immediately after the announcement. You can check current prices here.
Butler’s playing days were followed by a 46-year career with the BLESTO Scouting Combine, 44 of which were spent as its director.