Sample played his college football at Maryland Eastern Shore and, in 1958, became the first player from an historically black college (HBCU) invited to play in the College All-Star game against the defending NFL champion.
Jimmie Giles played 13 seasons and went to four Pro Bowls, catching 350 passes for 5,084 yards and 41 touchdowns. Those numbers pale in comparisons to the Rob Gronkowskis and Travis Kelces of today’s NFL. But that’s not what he was asked to do at his position in 1977.
Sam Baker led the NFL with 17 field goals in 1956 and led the league in scoring with 77 points in 1957. He then led the NFL in punting with a 45.4-yard average in 1958. He followed that up with a career-best 45.5-yard average in 1959.
Three times in his career Jimmy Orr led the NFL with his average per catch – 27.6 yards in 1958, 25.6 yards in 1968 and 21.7 yards in 1964. The NFL leader in 2017 was Detroit’s Marvin Jones at 18.1 yards per catch. Orr’s career average of 19.8 yards per catch is eighth best in NFL history.
George Saimes as a member of the AFL’s All-Time team and one of the two best safeties in that league’s history. He was also a member of the Buffalo Bills’ 50th Anniversary team. Yet he has been ignored by the Hall of Fame for 43 years. Why?