Oakland Raiders great Ken Stabler dies at 69
By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor
One of pro football’s best “bad guys” is gone.
Ken Stabler, who led the Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl championship in 1977, has died, according to a statement issued by his family. He was 69.
Nicknamed “Snake” while a high school star in Alabama for his scrambling abilities, Stabler played 15 years in the NFL, throwing for more than 27,000 yards and 194 touchdowns for the Raiders, Saints and Oilers. The former league MVP was a rebel before he wore Oakland’s silver and black — and even before he became a winner for the Crimson Tide and legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
“I skipped practices. I got kicked off my high-school team. I got kicked off my college team. I left pro football in 1969,” Stabler said in the book Badasses. “I’ve had third and 15 my whole life. Everybody’s had rocky moments from day one. But sometimes you pick up third and long, and that’s where you make your money. That’s where the satisfaction comes, from the game and from life.”
Like many players from his era, Stabler has a relatively small amount of cardboard for football fans to collect — a total of just 756 cards in the Beckett.com database. He also didn’t have a lot of cardboard during his early days. Although he was a second-round draft pick in 1968, his lone Rookie Card can be found in the 1973 Topps set and that’s a card that typically sells for $60 or less.
In all, Stabler’s cardboard is valued at more than $15,600 excluding cards too scarce to price.
Stabler signed 226 different cards and appeared on 224 different game-used memorabilia cards. His earliest NFL signature can be found in the 1992 Pro Line Portraits set, an image where he posed with a python draped over his shoulders, while his most-recent larger signing of autographs appeared in 2012 and 2013 Upper Deck products showcasing his Crimson Tide days.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
CARD GALLERY | KEN STABLER’S STANDARD TOPPS CARDS | 1973-83