Jerry Kramer (not the guy from the show Seinfeld) nicknamed Zipper, was a 6′ 3″ 245lb Guard that played for the Green Bay Packers between 1958-1968. He was highly thought of by his coach Vince Lombardi who said, “Kramer is the best Guard in the league.” Such high accolades by such a prominent figure like Lombardi comes with good reason. Kramer was an important part of Lombardi’s football philosophy, the “Packer Sweep” its a play that entailed both left and right guards to pull out from their normal positions and become lead blockers for the running back. Lombardi demanded that this play be ran with excellence and would repeatedly teach it,
“What were trying to get is a seal here and a seal here and try to run this play in the alley!”
Kramer’s agility and speed to get there and make that block is what made the Packer Sweep so affective.
Kramer is a 5x First Team All-Pro and 3x Pro-Bowler and is credited with having the most celebrated block in NFL history. It was December 31, 1967 and it was the day of the NFL Championship game, nicknamed the “Ice Bowl” because of the brutal weather conditions in which that game was played. Game time temperatures with the wind chill were at negative -48 degrees below zero. It was third and goal with only 16 seconds left in the game and the Packers were inside the Dallas Cowboys 1 yard line. QB Bart Starr called for a “Brown Right 31 Wedge.” Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman executed a double-team block on the left defensive tackle and created just enough room to allow Bart Starr to jump across the goal line for a 21-17 lead. This gave the Green Bay Packers a record three consecutive NFL Championships and Jerry Kramer played a significant role in that achievement.
ROOKIE CARD OF HALL OF FAMER JERRY KRAMER
1959 Topps, Card No. 116 (shop eBay)
A complete set of 1959 Topps Football has 176 cards in it. A small number by today’s standard but back then the 59′ Topps Football was the largest set printed to date. It was also printed in two 88 card series. It’s been confirmed that there are twice as many of series two cards because a 132 card printing plate was used and since there was only 88 cards many were duplicated.
This Jerry Kramer rookie card just screams vintage! Here we get a full body photo of Kramer in a running pose. The background appears to be orange and what seems to be fabric. That little cartoon guy in the photo with him doesn’t seem to have much purpose to me but some feel that these were team logos. The white border extends itself towards the lower portion of the card and gives us position, team and multi-colored, all caps font for player name.
The card back at first impression is a bit dull. Towards the top there is black text box which gives us name, position and team, again. I dig the football with the card number inside of it, always a favorite of mine. Basic player bio and brief commentary takes up the upper third of card back.
In the center is a trivia question, “Which great baseball manager once ran a pro football team?” Intrigued by the question I took it to Google. I believe the answer is Hugo Bezdek who managed the Pittsburg Pirates 1917-1919 and was the head coach of the Cleveland Rams in 1937-1938 season. I only put about 30 minutes of research into it so if my guess is wrong please leave me a comment. Towards the bottom of card we see bad advice. What ever you do don’t “RUB EDGE OF COIN OVER THIS SPACE FOR MAGIC ANSWER.” Because that would severely damage a nearly 60-year-old card.
As of the date of this post raw copies sell for $15.00-$40.00; graded near mint copies (7’s) sell between $50.00-$85.00, near mint-mint copies (8’s) sell for $150.00-$200.00 and mint copies (9’s) sell in the $640.00-$820.00 range.