The Basketball Cards of Sihugo Green, The Player Drafted Ahead of Bill Russell

Sihugo Green was the first pick in the 1956 NBA Draft, by the Rochester Royals, after an extremely successful career at Duquesne University. However, you’ll often find him ranked among the most overrated draft picks of all-time, partially because he was picked ahead of Bill Russell. But Green still enjoyed a moderately successful career that spanned nine seasons with four different teams, during which he averaged 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. However, there aren’t that many basketball cards featuring Green; just five, and all but one are pretty tough finds.

1955 All American Sports Club #15 Sihugo Green

1955 All American Sports Club #15 Sihugo Green

The 1955 All American Sports Club set is a pretty obscure one that was released in uncut sheet form on thin, glossy stock with blank backs. The 500-card set included some of the biggest names in sports at the time, like Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Bill Russell. Sometimes these are the only cards printed for certain players, like college basketball players and golfers. The set appears to have been part of a membership packet, and Sihugo Green was included as card #15. 

The card is exceptionally scarce in graded form; PSA has only encapsulated three, all at the Vg-Ex level, and SGC hasn’t graded any. You’re probably more likely to find Green’s card on the uncut sheet the Sports Club distributed it on.

1955 All American Sports Club Uncut Sheet With Sihugo Green

1958-59 Kahn’s Wieners Sihugo Green

1958-59 Kahn’s Wieners Sihugo Green

Kahn’s included Green and nine other Cincinnati Royals players in its second basketball set in 1958. Green’s Wieners card is also tough to come by, with just six PSA and two SGC copies (both 1s). This raw copy sold for $76, on eBay, in January 2023.

1958-59 Kahn’s Wieners Sihugo Green

1959-60 St. Louis Hawks Busch Bavarian Sihugo Green

1959-60 St. Louis Hawks Busch Bavarian Sihugo Green

I wrote about the St. Louis Hawks Busch Bavarian set on the Oddball Archive, and while the Sihugo Green card is considered a short print, you can find many more of them on the market than the two previous cards. PSA has graded 29 in total, mainly in the 6/7 range to go with three 9s, and SGC has graded six. A PSA 6 sold for $131 in October 2016, and there are a few raw copies on eBay with asking prices between $50 and $100.

1961 Essex Meats St. Louis Hawks Sihugo Green

1961 Essex Meats St. Louis Hawks Sihugo Green

The Essex Meats Green card is controversial because there’s just a single PSA-graded copy amongst 800 graded cards for the rest of the set. On the Oddball Archive, I wrote that Beckett indicated the card was short-printed, but there are disproportionally few Green cards for it to be a short print to me, with over 800 graded cards and countless raw examples of the other players. The Sihugo Green’s may be forgeries, but it’s also possible Bonnie Brands pulled the card from production since Green was traded by the St. Louis Hawks with Joe Graboski and Woody Sauldsberry to the Chicago Packers for Barney Cable and Archie Dees on November 21, 1961; so maybe it’s a production proof.

1961-62 Fleer #15 Sihugo Green

1961-62 Fleer #15 Sihugo Green

Comically, the final Sihugo Green card on this list is often considered his rookie card since it’s part of the 1961-62 Fleer basketball set and was pack-pullable. It’s also his most available card. PSA has graded 424 copies, with 21 PSA 9s but no tens. A PSA 8 last sold for $224 on eBay in January 2023, and a PSA 9 was sold by PWCC in March 2021 on eBay for $2281 (they were between $500 and $700 before that. SGC has graded 86 Fleer Green’s with the highest as a 9.5, the highest graded 1961 Fleer basketball card from SGC, period. Heritage sold the card for $990 in May 2022.

1961-62 Fleer #15 Sihugo Green

Despite being ranked amongst the most overrated draft picks, Sihugo Green’s cards remain significant in basketball card history. Happy collecting, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Post War Cards Newsletter!

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