There aren’t a ton of pre-war football cards around, particularly from outside of the U.S. But one international card featured the sport as part of a ‘Believe it or Not’ set.
The 1934 Carreras Believe it or Not series featured 50 cards of unbelievable accomplishments or things. Most are not sports related so the set often goes under the radar of collectors. It’s even less discovered because it was an issued produced for a cigarette company in London. The cards aren’t incredibly scarce but aren’t easily found in the United States. One features a mysterious player, Sam York, who was a kicker for Centenary in the 1920s.
The card states that York made 172 field goals in succession, but doesn’t go into many more details than that. Because of that, some pre-war collectors familiar with the card have often been intrigued by it.
A small newspaper, the Jefferson City Sunday News and Tribune actually caught up with York back in 1933 when he was in town. Word of his feat traveled then and was much more known than it is today. Fortunately, they had a chance to sit down and gather some more details directly from him.
So is the feat really true? Absolutely.
York went in some detail about the feat. He couldn’t remember the date but did remember that it was sometime in the 1925 season.
“One afternoon, I was practicing kicking field goals. This particular day I kicked about twenty-odd successively then got curious as to how many I could kick. So I stayed there and booted the old pigskin until nearly dark before I missed once.”
York mentioned there were about six to eight witnesses to his feat in practice. The article doesn’t say how long the field goals were but York did kick that many and he also states that there were several balls in the air at any given time, meaning he was kicking one and quickly moving on to another.
Ironically, York may have spent all of his field goals up in that practice. Centenary lost a game the next day to the Tennessee Doctors by only one point after York flubbed an extra point. He would go on to sell stocks and bonds after playing football in college.