We all know to give thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles for foolishly trading Sonny Jurgensen to the Redskins for Norm Snead. We know to thank the Cowboys for nothing – Duane Thomas, 558 of Calvin Hill's 6,083 career rushing yards, a bunch of retreads Norv Turner brought in and who can forget Alvin Harper? Almost everyone.
The truth is, I just hate Dallas too much too thank them for anything. We did actually get one of our best safeties of all-time, Brigg Owens, who put in 12 great years with the Redskins after being drafted in the 1965 seventh round by Dallas before put on their taxi squad and never playing a down for them. Incidentally, the Redskins had the smarts to make him a starter from day one, and he rewarded them by leading the team in interceptions his first year.
But who remembers the greatest gift from the dreaded Giants, our No. 1 division rival for so many years? It was an end named Ray Flaherty, who came to coach the Redskins in their last year in Boston in 1936. He played for the Giants from 1928 - 35, but they did not offer him a coaching job. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976, not as a player for the Giants, but as the head coach of the Redskins, whom he had guided to four division titles between 1936 - 42 and two World Championships in 1937 and 1942.
From the Vault:
It is nice to have a few items on the first of our four Hall of Fame coaches. Ray Flaherty's autograph is not so hard to find, as he lived a long life (1903 - 94), and was very nice about signing for people.
One of my favorite pieces is the Goal Line Art Card of him. This card is postcard sized, and is limited to 5,000, as are all the Goal Line Art cards, which have been made of all the Hall of Fame players. The card can be purchased for about $3, but if you want to find one that was autographed by him, it will run you about $45. Flaherty's autograph can also be found on my team-signed 1937 football, but something like that is a bit tougher to come by.
Samu Qureshi is the leading collector of Redskins memorabilia. His column appears Tuesdays on WarpathInsiders.com and each month in Warpath magazine.
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