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Unitas' 1954 scouting report to be auctioned off Saturday at Hagerstown Billiards & Cafe

February 08, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

When National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas was a senior at University of Louisville, he sent a scouting report highlighting his collegiate football career to the Baltimore Colts.

That report, enclosed in an envelope, was found among other family items at a Catonsville, Md., home in late 2007 and will be auctioned off by the Hub City Auction Company on Saturday at Hagerstown Billiards & Cafe at 1845 Dual Highway.

"The value is uncertain because it can't be determined if it is the original note or whether it is a copy," Hub City Auction Company owner/auctioneer Ron Hamner said. "This is really a nice item. The one question, though, is did Unitas just send one to the Colts or to the other National Football League teams in existence at the time?"

The envelope was postmarked in 1954.

Unitas, a Pittsburgh native, was a standout at Louisville before being drafted by his hometown Steelers in 1955, only to be placed on waivers.

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After playing semipro football, Unitas was signed by the Baltimore Colts in 1956 and was their starting quarterback until 1972.

During his career, "Johnny U" took the Colts to two NFL titles and one Super Bowl victory, was named Player of the Year three times and made 10 Pro Bowl appearances.

He set records for pass attempts (5,186), pass completions (2,830) and total yards (40,239), and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Unitas died Sept. 11, 2002, of heart failure.

Hamner says his company works in cooperation with the Baltimore Auction Company, whose representative, Irv Sass, discovered the scouting report.

"Sports memorabilia is not their specialty, therefore they sent the scouting report our way," Hamner said. "The actual auction will start at 9:30 a.m. and I expect the Unitas scouting report will be offered about an hour later. We are selling it without reserve to the highest bidder."

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