Vintage Sports Autographs

Stars of the Past

Eddie Arcaro  (1916-1997)

Jockey—Preakness Stakes 1941,1948,1950-51,1955,1957, Belmont Stakes 1941-42,1945,1948,1952,1955, Kentucky Derby 1938,1941,1945,1948,1952  [career: (1931-62), National Racing Hall of Fame 1958, only jockey to win the Triple Crown 2 times]

When you got half a length in front of a guy you sawed him off.  If a guy bothered you one day you didn't run to the stewards and complain, but you got him the next day.  That sort of thing started a chain reaction that never stopped, and we had a couple of falls a week....You can't ride carefully and ride winners.  By that I mean, if you're going to be too cautious you're going to wind up last....race riding is no parlor game.  You've got to be on the alert and take advantage of every chance that comes along.
    Eddie Arcaro



This 1950 Tom Paprocki cartoon is one of five Arcaro-signed cartoons in my collection. The others include a 1944 Jack Sords cartoon and three Alan Maver cartoons, dated 1950, 1952, and 1953.

Watch a video clip of Eddie Arcaro in his 1955 battles on Nashua against jockey Bill Shoemaker.  Watch a video clip of Arcaro's career after racing banishment in 1942.

He was cremated and his ashes placed in a columbariam in Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery in Miami, Florida.

Bill Boland (1933-    )

Jockey—Kentucky Derby 1950, Belmont Stakes 1950, 1966  [career: (1950-68),  2,049 career wins, George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1959, National Racing Hall of Fame 2006]

I was on a roll right then. I didn’t think I was on the best horse, but I thought I had a chance.

     Bill Boland, on his 1950 Kentucky Derby win


Bill Boland autographed this 1950 Tom Paprocki cartoon in November 2009. He offers a correction to some text in the cartoon that mistakenly states he was galloping horses on the track for five years before he entered his first race.  He writes, "This is wrong. I was galloping horses on the race track only 4 month[s] before I rode my 1st race. I was 15 yrs. old."

Watch a newsreel clip of Bill Boland winning the Kentucky Derby in 1950 on Middleground.

Watch a video clip of Bill Boland in an interview.

Deb Copenhaver  (1925-    )

Rodeo Cowboy—Saddle Bronc World Champion 1955-56 [National Cowboy Hall of Fame 1991, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame 1992]

I finished second to Casey Tibbs three times. It seemed to me at the time that winning a championship was the most important thing in the world.

    Deb Copenhaver



Deb Copenhaver autographed this 1956 Tom Paprocki cartoon in December 2009.  He wrote me a note: "We had never seen this cartoon and chuckled at it. My, how times have changed!  We made a copy for our scrapbook too!"

Dave Erb (1923-    )

Jockey—Kentucky Derby 1956, Belmont Stakes 1956  [career: jockey (1938-60), trainer (1961-88)]

I had one horse beat going down the back side. They just opened up and I got in the clear. That doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t get the lead until the 16th pole. I caught Fabius and went by him. Invariably, in the Derby, there’s a world of speed. If you run with a come-from-behind horse, you’ve got to have a lot of luck. A lot of people ask me, "What are you thinking about when you’re headed down the stretch, with all those people screaming?" Only one thing comes to mind. Riding my ass off. I was looking for that finish line. Where the hell is that finish line? He was getting really weak. That’s why he didn’t win the Triple Crown. When he got to the Preakness he was dead.

     Dave Erb, on winning the Kentucky Derby on the horse Needles


Dave Erb autographed this 1956 Tom Paprocki cartoon in December 2009.

Watch a video clip of Dave Erb aboard Needles winning the 1956 Kentucky Derby.

Del Insko (1931-    )

Harness Race Driver— [Harness Racing Hall of Fame 1980]

My horses had first priority. If I drove for a trainer one week, I’d drive for him the next week, even if he only had a longshot in to race. That kind of loyalty is gone now.

     Del Insko



Del Insko autographed this 1966 Alan Maver cartoon in March 2010.

Kathy Kusner (1940-    )

Equestrian [Show Jumping Hall of Fame 1989, World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame 2005]



Kathy Kusner autographed this 1961 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Kusner participating in the equestrian class in three different Olympics.  Watch a video clip of Kusner working with the jumper Bird.

A world-class dressage rider, Kusner was also the first woman ever given a jockey license. She began riding when she was ten years old. A member of the gold medal three-day event teams at the 1963 Pan-American Games and the 1964 Olympics, Kusner won the 1966 International Grand Prix aboard Untouchable. The following year, she became the first rider ever to win the event two years in a row on the same horse.  In November of 1967, Kusner applied for a jockey license in Maryland and was turned down. She told reporters, "Horse riding is more a game of technique and skill than strength. It's the same as playing chess with men, so I don't intend to give up the fight." A year later, a judge ruled that she'd been denied a license because of sex discrimination and ordered the Maryland Racing Commission to license her.  A broken leg delayed her debut as a jockey, but she began racing in 1969 and rode her first winner at Pocono Downs that September. Her career as a jockey was rather brief because she began to have problems making the weight. However, Kusner continued riding as an amateur equestrian and was a member of the U. S. team that won a silver medal in the 1972 Olympics. She is a member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.  Kusner's accomplishment have gone well beyond riding. She was the first woman to work as a Lear Jet pilot, and she holds commercial, multi-engine, instrument, seaplane, and aerobatics ratings.  She has been scuba diving all over the world, including the Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef, and South China Sea. Kusner has also been division champion as a 10,000-meter and marathon runner.

John Longden (1907-2003)

Jockey—Preakness Stakes 1943, 1969, Belmont Stakes 1943, Kentucky Derby 1943, 1969 [career: (1927-66) 6,032 victories, first jockey in U.S. to ride 4,000 winners in 1952 and 5,000 winners in 1957, Triple Crown 1943, National Racing Hall of Fame 1958, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 1958, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 1976]



Johnny Longden autographed this 1945 Al Pierotti cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Longden winning his 5,000th race at Santa Anita.  Watch a video clip of Longden winning the Kentucky Derby in 1943 aboard Count Fleet.

He was cremated.

Chris McCarron  (1955-    )

Jockey[career:(1974-2002) 7,141 victories; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1980, Mike Venezia Memorial Award 1991, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame 1989]



Chris McCarron autographed this 1974 Alan Maver cartoon in August 2011.

Watch a video interview in which McCarron talks about some of the horses he rode during his career and the racing style of each.

Johnny Rotz (1934-    )

Jockey—Preakness Stakes 1962, Belmont Stakes 1970  [career: (1953-73) 2,907 victories; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1973, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame 1983]



John Rotz autographed this 1961 Tom Paprocki cartoon in January 2010. He also autographed a 1964 Alan Maver cartoon.

Bill Steinkraus (1925-    )

Equestrian [1952 Olympic Games: Team Jumping Bronze Medal; 1960 Olympic Games: Team Jumping Silver Medal; 1964 Olympic Games: horse injured; 1968 Olympic Games: Individual Jumping Gold Medal; 1972 Olympic Games: Team Jumping Silver Medal]



Bill Steinkraus autographed this 1952 Tom Paprocki cartoon in November 2009. 

Manuel Ycaza (1938-    )

Jockey—Belmont Stakes 1964  [career: (1959-84) 2,367 victories; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1964, United States Racing Hall of Fame 1977]



Manuel Ycaza autographed this 1964 Tom Paprocki cartoon in November 2010.

See video clip of Ycaza winning the D.C. International race in 1967 on Fort Marcy at Laurel Park race track in Maryland.