Dworsky was primarily a LB, but also played FB and C for Michigan from '45-'48 (and earned a pair of letters as a wrestler as well!). He was a member of the '47 and '48 undefeated champs coached by legendary Wolverine Fritz Crisler. After a lone pro season, he finished his degree in architecture and went on to a fantastic career in that field. This card, from a subset that highlights non-football accomplishments of several alumni, celebrates a career that includes Michigan's Crisler Arena (basketball), named after his favorite coach; designing the block "M" seating at the Big House, UCLA's Drake track and field stadium, and lots, lots more.
Dworsky actually has a second card in the six-card subset specifically highlighting designing Crisler Arena. The others include a pair of cards honoring astronaut Jack Lousma, plus one each for broadcaster Jim Brandstatter and some former president named Gerry Ford. I haven't seen much of the other cards, but Dworsky has a nice signature, and he's very welcome as a new member of the PC!
"Evy" was a native Detroiter who played QB at Michigan from '38-'40. A smallish high school player due to skipping a few elementary school grades, Forest was so hardcore that after a rough tackle of a punt-returner that knocked him out, he suffered a CEREBRAL HEMORRHAGE that should have ended his playing career right there, but he joined the Wolverines a couple years later instead. As an excellent blocker, he was very effective in the aforementioned Crisler's (gimmicky, if you consider it today) single-wing system, in which he blocked Michigan legend Tom Harmon to the 1940 Heisman. Evashevski later coached Iowa to some good seasons, including the 1958 national title, and was their AD for a couple years as well. He died in 2009 at the ripe old age of 91. And as you can see here, he had a fantastic signature, plus he rocked the old-timey leather helmet! Welcome to the PC, Evy.
Floyd was a FB from '94-'97, which means that yes, he played for the '97 National Champs! Another Detroiter, he never got to touch the ball a ton, but did rush for a pair of TDs that year while blocking for RBs Chris Howard and Anthony Thomas. Floyd was one of five players that year to get drafted, going in the 3rd round to the Patriots. He would play three seasons combined with the Pats and Browns before retiring. As with everyone else today, he's new to the PC, and his autograph here looks very cool.
Franklin ('71-'74) is fairly well known as Michigan's first black QB, but he deservedly prefers to be remembered as much more than that. Hailing from Michigan pipeline Massillon, Ohio, Franklin's stats are somewhat reminiscent of a more recent Michigan QB--Denard Robinson. He led the Wolverines in both passing offense and total offense all three years he started, and the team went 30-2-1 under his leadership, good for three straight Big Ten titles (tied with OSU), including the famous screw-job in '73 that saw the conference unfairly choose the Buckeyes to go to the Rose Bowl over Michigan. Dennis, who has an awesome name, by the way, was a later-round draft pick of the Lions, who converted him to WR, but his pro career was brief (and honestly, who wants to play for the Lions, anyway?). He's since gone on to successful careers as a TV exec and real estate agent. I wish him a warm welcome to the PC in the form of this great autograph!
Herrnstein came from another family of Michigan Men, with his father, grandfather, and great uncle also suiting up for the Wolverines. As for John, he was an excellent athlete, successful in both football and baseball, '56-'58. A productive FB/LB, Herrnstein saw his football career end early in 1958 due to a bad knee injury, but MLB's Phillies came calling, and John would appear in the Majors for the Cubs and Braves as well, tallying 8 HR in 239 games over five seasons. He was actually involved in the trade that sent Fergie Jenkins from Philadelphia to the Cubs in 1966.
This Cover Boys subset is very cool and I actually have one other of these: Steve Smith's (Indiana, 1983). This one highlights what's probably John's career highlight game: 1958 against USC, in which he rushed for a personal best of 144 yards while scoring twice against the Trojans in a narrow 20-19 win at the Big House. Considering how little space he had to work with, Herrnstein did an amazing job with his very legible signature, and I'm happy to officially welcome him to my collection.
Leo Koceski 2003 TK Legacy 1948 National Champions auto
Leo was nicknamed both "Bugsy" and the "Canonsburg Comet," a callback to his birthplace. Plus, as we all know, 50% of nicknames are in the form of birthplace + alliterative noun. If you want to see an example of how amazing technology is nowadays, have a look at this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from December 31, 1948! My favorite quote: "Ever since I was in the sixth grade...I had wanted to go to Michigan. It seemed too good to be true when they accepted me." Me too, Leo, me too (though I'd argue I knew long before then that I wanted to be a Wolverine!).
Koceski was a dynamite running back despite his relatively diminutive stature, and he enjoyed a great career for the Wolverines, including winning the '48 National Championship. He was another player that was an excellent athlete, good enough to be captain of the baseball team in 1951. For all that, and his very well done signature, I heartily welcome him to the PC!
The next three cards come from the Michigan MultiSport Varsity Club set put out by TK Legacy in 2004:
I couldn't find a whole lot about Grote, but he was co-captain of the '76-'77 Big Ten Conference champs who made it all the way to the Elite Eight, plus started and ended the season ranked #1 by the AP. He's got a really nice signature, and I can always use new members for my Michigan basketball PC!
Dave Strack 2004 TK Legacy Varsity Club auto
Strack attended Michigan from '43-'46, but is perhaps more well known for his tenure as Wolverines basketball head coach from 1960-68. Besides a trio of Big Ten titles, he (and Cazzie Russell, of course) took Michigan to their first NCAA title game in 1965, losing to legendary coach John Wooden's UCLA squad. I'm happy to have added another member to the basketball PC today, especially one with such a nice signature.
John Matchefts 2004 TK Legacy Varsity Club auto
Matchefts, a Minnesotan high school virtuoso, starred for the '51-'53 National Champ Wolverines hockey teams and averaged a pair of points-per-game. He later coached Colorado College (1966-71) and Air Force (1974-85) before being inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. That's a nice signature to go along with a classic hockey pic!
This purchase obviously did wonders for the size and diversity of my Michigan collections--mainly football, of course. The new totals for the three sports involved are:
- Football: 710 (120 unique players)
- Basketball: 19 (8)
- Hockey: 63 (23)
And better yet, the four-sport total continues to near a huge milestone. In the meantime, I can't be happier about picking up 27 fantastic new PC cards for such a reasonable price!
I'll be back soon with more stuff, including an eBay purchase I've been meaning to post, plus lots more COMC cards!