Hennigan, Charlie

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Photo memorabilia
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home.
Sent: 6/24  Received: 7/3  (9 days)

Charlie Hennigan finished his career long before I was born, however I was aware of his accomplishments early on as a fan of the Houston Oilers. After I watched the presentation of “Full Color Football” on NFL Network, I decided to start collecting some of the players from before ‘my era’ of football and in that bid to locate and get autographs of many of the original AFLers (particularly Houston Oilers from any era on cards), I got the Meisleman list in the mail and went to work. I couldn’t believe that Charlie was listed in the book. I was even more surprised when he autographed the card I sent him, plus included a piece of photo memorabilia of himself from the early years that he autographed on both sides. (I miss this form of sports photography.) I don’t mind personalization at all. I hope it proves to the player that’s signing it that I am indeed sincere in my attempts to get their autograph, and that I’m not interested in selling them. I’ve heard of players charging for personalization and frankly I think if they want to make sure that somebody won’t sell their name, just personalize it. Nobody named Joe wants to buy an autograph of a player from somebody who has it personalized to Lee.(- At least I wouldn’t.)

Charlie was an amazingly fast receiver who made the Houston Oiler air attack work during the early years of the AFL where the team won the first two championships of the AFL. A player who has never gotten the respect he has deserved, Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oiler History back in 1960 and was the main target of George Blanda‘s passes becoming the first player to go over 100 catches in a season with 101 in 1964. Hennigan would set the AFL/NFL mark for most receiving yards in a season with 1746, which would stand for 34 years. An AFL All Star for 5 of the 6 seasons he played, Hennigan kept a pay stub from his teaching career in his helmet to keep himself grounded. Hennigan still holds the record for most 200 yard receiving games in a season with 3 and most games in a season with over 100 yards at 11. Hennigan would also hold the All AFL record of 272 yards receiving (1962) and would go over 1500 yards receiving in two separate seasons averaging an incredible 124 yards a game in 1961 and 110 in 1964.  Incredible numbers considering that players in the 60s played only 14 game seasons.  Oddly Hennigan has never been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Many, (myself included) believe that this is an act of hazing from the old guard of the NFL, in barring him and other pioneers of the old AFL from obtaining entry. (I am of the camp that believes the whole AFL should be inducted all at once as league pioneers, and like other professional leagues before them a separate wing be dedicated to their accomplishments.) Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Brown was ironically cut by the Houston Oilers because he could not cover Charlie Hennigan. Charlie and Willie would meet again on the field, where Charlie needed only 9 catches to break the AFL record for catches in a season. Charlie got those 9.  Hennigan would retire in 1967, founding the Hennigan Institute after getting his Doctorate from the University of Houston. Later on he would go on to teach former prisoners and help them get their GEDs near Shreveport, LA and ran for political office in 2002 as a Democrat. Hennigan also has seven children.

Games 95      Rec    410   Yds 6873    Avg   16.6      TD  51         Lg  83