George Tucker was a 4 year starter on Oregon State’s basketball team from 1974-1977 where he played under legendary Hall of Fame coach, Ralph Miller. He was on the court as a freshman when OSU stopped UCLA’s 50 game conference winning streak in Corvallis, derailing a dynasty that had won 7 consecutive National Championships. Wearing the jersey you see below, Tucker, from Pasadena High in LA, calmly drained four free throws in the final seconds to preserve the victory against his hometown college, 61-57.
This jersey was given to me by fellow OSU collector I have become acquainted with, although his OSU is Oklahoma State University! He had come across this a few years ago and surmised it may be a Steve Johnson jersey, the most famous Beaver to wear #33. But I thought it was too small for the 6’10 Johnson to have worn, so after a few days of internet searching for detailed pictures showing details of each years’ jerseys, we narrowed it down to the 1975-1976 seasons, a year before Johnson joined the Beavs. He then mailed me the jersey and said it belonged in a Beaver fan’s collection, and eventually it’ll make its way into a frame and join the others in my collection!
In the late 50’s, Fred Kail was an aspiring artist who was commissioned by the Baltimore Colts to make a series of chalk-ware statues for team members of the 1958 World Champions. The statues were such a hit, that a enterprising company contacted Mr Kail with the idea of mass marketing these statues and making other NFL and college teams. A deal was struck and a series of ceramic statues and banks were produced from the late 1950’s into the early 1960’s in all the major sports.
Fast forward more than 40 years and these statues have become immensely popular among collectors. The attention to detail of the uniforms is incredible. The football statues had the same figure but were painted with each team’s colors. They came in two different sizes (10″ & 5.5″ tall) and were made in an upright position with a metal single bar face mask or in a 3 point stance. These statues and banks can range in price from $100 into the thousands of dollars depending on the team and variation. (Background on the Kail statues courtesy of Inside the Park Collectibles). Authentic Kail statutes will have a stamp on the bottom somewhere with “FAK” above “Fred A. Kail, JR” and are made in Japan.
This specific OSU Kail piggy bank is a unique one for one main reason… Most Kail banks have the numbers 00 on the front of the jerseys. However, this specific statue has “OSU” on the front jersey, leading me to believe this may have been a later alteration to the front (the back has 00) or potentially whoever had these painted for the Bank may have requested this as a special order. It’s hard to tell. Another unique thing is you can see the NFL shield on the football… many of these college banks were leftover NFL team banks purchased by the banks for their local college team. On this specific bank, you can see the sticker at the front bottom, which says “Score Your Savings Goal at First National Bank of Oregon.”
Here is another vintage Oregon State pennant, similar to an earlier pennant I posted. This regular sized pennant is felt with hand cut out and stitched letters on it, dating it to the 1930’s-1940’s!