1958 Ray Nitschke #72 (First Day As A Pro) Green Bay Packers Autographed 16x20 Original Photo (JSA)

This image titled “First Day As A Pro” was taken during Ray Nitschke’s first day at practice as a Green Bay Packer and this extremely rare image provided insight to both the man and the future legend.

Ray Nitschke was the heart and soul of the Green Bay Packers. A true tough guy that had to fight his way out of the west side of Chicago, no man was transformed to a finer gentleman because of Vince Lombardi’s teaching of life’s greatest lessons. Success in football was a metaphor on how to live a fruitful and productive personal / professional life.

Presented is a very rare image of Ray Nitschke wearing #72, the uniform he was given to wear during his very first day of practice as a Green Bay Packer. He would later be officially issued #59 which would be his rookie number before switching to #66 which is now retired by the organization. He may have only worn this number during his first day with the team, so the image is truly rare.

Just as Nitschke had to change uniform numbers, he had to change the way he lived his life. Mean, unsurely, and unapproachable, Ray wasn’t yet loved while wearing this #72 uniform.

The photographer, at great personal risk, got very close to Nitschke to take this shot. His imposing form fills the entire shot. Buzz cut, concentrated eyes, scar on cheek, grimacing mouth, and strong chin show the determination of this fierce linebacker. With the full length jersey sleeves rolled up to his elbows, his arms hand loosely, preparing to squeeze any back that comes into his territory. For those that played the game, the impact was brutal.

With Coach Lombardi joining the team as a rookie head coach in 1959, NItschke began an immediate transformation. Lombardi taught Nitschke how to channel his anger onto the football field and the results met with great success. Off the field, Ray learned how to be a gentleman, and from this author’s perspective, Nitschke remained one of the classiest, kindest, and most professional men I have ever met.

After acquiring this rare image, MEARS had our professional photographer create an intercopy negative, for which the actual prints were then hand developed. The color, contrast, and clarity are unrivaled amongst period images. Although a modern print, this photo is quite simply one of the finest images of the player ever produced! Anybody that has seen this print in person can only marvel at the clarity of the hand developed image.

During the early 1990s, MEARS conducted a private autograph signing with Ray Nitschke in Milwaukee, WI. Only 72 of these prints were signed, personally witnessed by MEARS President Troy R. Kinunen.

A very bold “Ray Nitschke, HOF 1978” mint silver autograph is signed in the practice field area. Great care was taken during the signing; with new markers being rotated after just a few signatures were signed, insuring only the highest quality signatures appeared on this remarkable print. One of the finest images from the MEARS oversized 16x20 Archives, and arguably the best Ray Nitschke signed images extant. A must for any advanced Green Bay Packers fan. JSA hologram applied to lower left corner.

Price: $250.00 Or
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1958 Ray Nitschke #72 (First Day As A Pro) Green Bay Packers Autographed 16x20 Original Photo (JSA)