1957  Bears
(Authentic Reproduction)




After defeating number two Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl to end the 1956 season on Buddy Humphrey's quarterback sneak, Baylor backers looked at the ten second-place conference finishes the Bears had managed, and assumed that 1957 would bring the Southwest Conference crown for the first time since 1924. Fans also noted the addition of thin, rounded three-inch dark green player identification numerals on both sides of the team’s old gold shell, still adorned with the dark “Baylor green” one-inch center stripe. As QB Buddy Humphrey, the pride of Kilgore, Texas shared playing time with others, he never hit his stride and the offense was terrible, scoring but a touchdown or less in seven of the team’s ten contests. The 3-6-1 record was quite a catastrophe relative to expectations, especially with the right side of the line manned by All SWC guard Clyde Letbetter and 6’6” tackle Charley Bradshaw. Bradshaw played offensive tackle with the Rams from ’58 through 1960, was with the Steelers ’61 through ’66, before completing his pro career with the Lions in ’67 and ’68. Tackle Bobby Jack Oliver had a lengthy CFL career. End Jerry Marcantell also earned All Conference grades and with hard running Larry Hickman at FB, much more was expected than going winless within the conference.


Perhaps it was the absence of conference victories the season before but the player numerals were removed from the helmets for 1958. The year brought another three-win season, this one a rather depressing 3-7 record considering that QB Buddy Humphrey was the top rated passer in the nation and Baylor's passing offense was rated as number four at the end of the season. Humphrey totaled 1316 yards, 387 of those coming in the game against Rice for a new school record. His 112 completions set a Southwest Conference record and as the Rams second round draft choice, he went on to a pro career that carried him through the Rams, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Oilers before returning to Kilgore and a highly successful career as a high school coach and educator. The offense, was improved from ‘57’s disastrous showing thanks to All Southwest Conference picks G Charles Horton and FB Hickman who led the league in rushing and was its number two scorer. Hickman set Baylor rushing records for both career and single season yardage and then played briefly with the Cardinals and Packers. Tackle Paul Dickson provided push and played on both sides of the ball for the Rams in ’59, Cowboys in ’60, and Vikings from 1961 through ’70. With the University in the midst of a fund raising drive with money needed for the growth of the athletic department, Boyd felt it was best to resign, under pressure, so that there would be no hesitation by those inclined to donate.

If interested in any of these Baylor helmets please click on the photos below.