Paddy Driscoll was among the first stars in American Professional Football. He was born on this day in 1895. Driscoll passed away in 1968 at the age of 73.
He is a member of the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. In 1974 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. A multi-sport athlete, he also played 13 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1917.
From the Pro Football Hall of Fame website:
“The term “franchise player” is used to describe a star who, by the excellence of his play on the field, plays a major role in his team’s success or, in some cases, its very existence. John “Paddy” Driscoll, who excelled as a quarterback and halfback, proved himself to be a franchise player of the rarest kind.
The Chicago Cardinals, a charter member of the National Football League were challenged in the Windy City by another league team, the Tigers. The Cardinals hired Driscoll, for the then-princely sum of $300 a game in an effort to bolster the team’s performance on the field and in the box office. In a mid-season game against the Tigers, Driscoll scored the game’s only touchdown to lead the Cardinals to a 6-0 victory, giving them bragging rights as Chicago’s best.
The Tigers folded following the 1920 season. Driscoll at just 5-11 and 160 pounds was not very big. But size didn’t prevent him from excelling on both offense and defense, and he was particularly skilled in punting and dropkicking. After the Bears moved to Chicago in 1921, they quickly became the Cardinals archrivals. Driscoll seemed always to be at his peak when the two teams played. In 1922, he scored all the points on dropkicked field goals as the Cardinals beat the Bears, 6-0 and 9-0.
When the famed Red Grange made his pro debut against the Cardinals in 1925, Driscoll angered the large crowd by continually punting away from the “Galloping Ghost.” “I decided if one of us was going to look bad, it wasn’t going to be me. Punting to Grange is like grooving a pitch to Babe Ruth,” he explained. The possibility that Driscoll might defect to a new league being formed in 1926 prompted his trade to the Bears, where he continued to subdue the opposition single-handed through the remainder of his career that ended following the 1929 season.”
I don’t know too much about this Star Candy card. I’ve seen it listed as both a 1925 and a 1928 set. The 2015 Beckett Vintage Almanac has the set listed as 1928. The Driscoll card is listed at $2000.
From beckett.com: “This recently discovered set of cards is thought to have been issued by Dockman and Son’s candy company since it closely resembles the 1928 Star Player Candy baseball card set. Based upon the players in the set, the year of issue is thought to be 1928 so it is possible that both the football and baseball players were packaged together. Red Grange is listed as Illinois instead of Professional so the true year of issue often comes under question. Each card is blankbacked and features a sepia colored photo of the player on the cardfront along with his name and either name of his university or the word “professional” (noted below) for those few players in the pros at the time. Each card measures roughly 2″ by 3.””
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