The First Football Card

Ever wondered what the first football card was?

Well unless someone happens to unearth an as yet to be cataloged challenger, it would be this card, the 1888 Goodwin & Co. Henry Beecher card.

Henry Beecher 1888 Goodwin & Co. Card
Henry Beecher 1888 Goodwin & Co. Card

Henry Beecher was captain of the Yale University football team and grandson of Henry Ward Beecher a prominent preacher and social reformer. While Henry would never have the opportunity to play football professionally as the NFL was still decades from its birth, his skill in the collegiate ranks was certainly recognized. From1885-1887, Henry Beecher would score and astounding 66 touchdowns, including 11 in one game in 1886.

In 1888 Goodwin & Co produced the Goodwin Champions collection, a 50 card multi-sport tobacco series distributed in packages of Old Judge & Gypsy Queen cigarettes in which Henry Beecher was featured as the sole football representative, giving him the distinct honor of being the hobby’s first football card.

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