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    Circa 1966 Brian Piccolo Single Signed Football. Perhaps only Rudy Ruettiger, the diminutive dreamer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, earned as many fans for his relatively limited talents in the sport as this hardworking but undersized fullback out of Wake Forest. Piccolo was born on Halloween of 1943, the costume of his dreams always the uniform of an NFL franchise. But despite leading the NCAA in rushing during his Senior season, the six-foot tall, 205-pound rusher went unselected in the 1965 draft, the scouts united in their belief that the young man was neither large enough nor fast enough for the sport's highest level.

    Undeterred, Piccolo tried out as a free agent in 1965, but made it no further than the taxi squad. The following season, the first possible vintage of the presented football, Piccolo realized his aspiration of a roster spot, though his play was primarily restricted to special teams. In 1967 he finally made it into the Bears backfield as a back-up for Gale Sayers, carrying eighty-seven times for 317 yards. His first touchdowns, a pair of them, would come in 1968, the most productive season of his career. It was during the ninth game of the 1969 season that the Bears sideline was stunned to see its faithful warrior voluntarily bench himself. The fateful diagnosis of cancer was the result of his medical examination, and less than a year later, at age twenty-six, Piccolo succumbed to his illness.

    Of course it was the 1971 made-for-TV movie "Brian's Song" that made Piccolo a household name, a bittersweet tale of his close friendship with Sayers who, despite divides in race and talent, formed an unbreakable bond as America struggled with its greatest unrest since the Civil War. Piccolo's tragic, early death ensured that the supply of his autograph would never meet the demand, and this is the finest example we've ever encountered (as well as the first single signed football in any condition).

    It was acquired at the opening of a new Montgomery Ward department store in Munster, Indiana, where Sayers and Piccolo appeared together to sign autographs, though this "Ward's Hawthorne" pigskin bears only the signature of the latter, applied in 9/10 black marker. Full LOA from Beckett Authentication Services. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 286

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