FIVE-TIME ALL-PRO AND MEMBER OF LEGENDARY PACKERS TEAM RELEASING PERSONAL MEMORABILIA TO FANS
By Will Levith
WHEN IT COMES to professional football résumés, Green Bay Packers legend Jerry Kramer’s is nearly immaculate.
Known as a hard-hitting offensive lineman and prolific place-kicker during his 11-year career (1958-68), the 6 foot 3, 250-pound right guard was a five-time All-Pro and won an astounding five National Football League titles with the Pack, including the first two Super Bowls.
SPORTS COLLECTIBLES PLATINUM NIGHT AUCTION 7155, featuring the Jerry Kramer Collection, is scheduled for Feb. 20-21, 2016, in New York and online at HA.com/7155. For information, contact Chris Nerat at 214-409-1615 or ChrisN@HA.com, or Chris Ivy at 214-409-1319 or CIvy@HA.com.
But despite all the accolades, Kramer has never gotten the nod from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While the snub certainly puzzles the 79 year old, he’s a glass-half-full type of guy. “Bottom line,” he says, “the game has been good to me. I have been able, as a lineman … to get a certain amount of press and differentiate myself and stand out, which is very unusual.”
What makes his story that much more unique is how diligent he’s been about making sure no one forgets it. A “Packrat” his entire life, Kramer tells Intelligent Collector that he started with an early newspaper clipping and “saved almost everything since.”
What got him reflecting on his NFL years and the mounds of Packers
memorabilia stowed away in his garage was a package he’d gotten from the NFL in 1969. In it, he found a book celebrating the first 50 years of the league and discovered his name alongside gridiron greats like Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. “It was nice to be a part of that company,” he says. “I was the only guard selected in the first 50 years.”
With help from Heritage Auctions’ specialists, Kramer dug through trunk after trunk of memorabilia, and will put up for auction a trove of items – more than 50 lots – that hasn’t seen the light of day in 40-plus years. “There was an awful lot of stuff in there that I’d forgotten about,” he explains.
Kramer says the toughest pieces to part with were his championship rings, including one from the 1965 NFL championship and another from the Pack’s historic Super Bowl I victory. Also included are two ’67 game-worn jerseys, one from his Super Bowl appearance. Why sell now? “I’m aging, to put it delicately.” He’s hoping proceeds will help establish a trust fund for his grandchildren.
Heritage sports consignment director Chris Nerat expects high collector interest. “Kramer is widely considered the greatest player lacking Hall of Fame enshrinement, the sturdy foundation of the greatest era of dominance in NFL history,” he says. “He’s the epitome of the hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners Lombardi ethic.”