Up for auction
Stroke forces Heisman winner to raise money
Posted: Thursday December 02, 1999 01:51 PM
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) -- Larry Kelley, the former Yale University
football star who won the Heisman Trophy in 1936, has placed his
cherished award up for auction.
Kelley's is only the second Heisman in history to be offered for
sale. O.J. Simpson's is the other.
Kelley, of Hightstown, recently suffered a stroke and wants to
raise money for his heirs, who include six nieces and nephews. His
wife, Mary Ruth, also is in failing health.
"I'm 84 and I'm not well," Kelley told The Star-Ledger of
Newark for today's editions. "I'm relying on my nieces and
nephews. They've been good to us, and I want to be good to them."
Officials at the Downtown Athletic Club, which presents the
annual award to the year's most outstanding collegiate football
player, were saddened by Kelley's decision to sell.
The 1936 Heisman was the second ever awarded. It was the first
to bear the name of legendary coach John Heisman. Kelley was an
all-America end for Yale that year, when the team finished with a
"We understand his predicament, but we don't want the trophy
being purchased by a complete stranger," club director Rudy Riska
Kelley's Heisman was scheduled to be offered today at Leland's
auction house in New York. The bidding was to start at $20,000.
Simpson's 1968 trophy sold for $230,000 when placed up for
auction in February to help the former Southern California star pay
off his wrongful death lawsuit judgment.
Neither the Downtown Athletic Club nor Yale University planned
to bid on Kelley's trophy. The auctioneers anticipated heavy
interest from sports memorabilia dealers.
Kelley said relinquishing his Heisman could never erase his
football memories or his 63 years of sharing the trophy with
children and community groups.
"It's about all I have to look back on," he said. "I don't
dwell on it that much. I'm more concerned about the present, which
does not look good."
Replicas of Kelley's Heisman are displayed at Yale and at the
Peddie School, a private high school in Hightstown and Kelley's
alma mater. After Kelley's playing days were over, he returned to
Peddie as a history teacher and coach and later served as alumni
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