Thursday, March 23, 2017

Joe Carr 1926 Pottsville Maroons Coal Charm

 Historically significant 1926 Pottsville Maroons anthracite charm presented to NFL commissioner Joe Carr. The significance of this piece cannot be overstated as Carr was responsible for stripping the Maroons of their championship and suspension from the NFL at the end of 1925. In 1926 Carr visited Pottsville and was presented with this charm, an olive branch of sorts. The Maroons were subsequently readmitted to the NFL, having some leverage due to their notoriety (NFL championship and their defeat of the Four Horseman), and given the fact that Carr now needed the Maroons as another upstart league, the AFL, was threatening to bring the Maroons on board (the other league already had Grange) and this may have spelled the end for the NFL. The charm has been in the Carr family from 1926 until this year. The Pottsville Maroon story is an intriguing one and a central figure to it is Joe Carr. Engraved in coal is "Pottsville 1926" and "JFC" (for Joseph Francis Carr).  Roughly an inch in size.  There were numerous controversies and concerns with Carr wielding his power as commissioner unevenly, often favoring teams from larger cities or owners with bigger bankrolls. One cannot help but draw a modern day comparison to Roger Goodell and a number of his rulings, such as those against Brady and the Patriots, as being uneven or excessive or even unwarranted, as in his most high profile rulings against the team.

The significance of the charm being carved from coal is due to Pottsville having been a coal mining town as well as originally having played in the Anthracite Football League. This charm is specifically mentioned in "Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen Championship", by Fleming; see pages 248 and 249.  In 1928 coal fobs were awarded to Maroons' team members. A few have found their way to market, including those having belonged to Wilbur "Fats""Pete" Henry, Tony Latone, Frankie Racis and Johnny "Blood" McNally.