Here is a most unusual collectible. It is a boys’ (size large) turtleneck shirt that is autographed by former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier. Not only does he sign it, he adds, “Pittsburgh Steelers Team of the 70s, Super Bowl Champs IX X XIII IIV.”
The shirt comes with a NOTARIZED certificate, meaning the notary must see the person signing in order for him to affix a numbered, tamper-proof seal and signature.
The Touchdown Club shirt is new, with all tags attached.
Bleier was a Vietnam war hero who became an important part of the Steelers’ offensive machine. They dominated the 1970s with Bleier in their backfield.
After his rookie season with the Steelers, Bleier was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1968 during the Vietnam War. He volunteered for duty in South Vietnam and shipped out for Vietnam in May 1969 assigned as a squad grenadier operating a 40mm M79 grenade launcher.
On Aug. 20, while on patrol in Heip Duc, Bleier was wounded in the left thigh by an enemy rifle bullet when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. While he was down, an enemy grenade landed nearby after bouncing off a fellow soldier, sending shrapnel into his lower right leg. He lost part of his right foot in the blast as well. He was later awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
While he was recovering in a hospital in Tokyo, doctors told him that he could not play football again. Soon after, he received a postcard from Steelers owner Art Rooney which read “Rock – the team’s not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney.”
In addition to a great lead blocker, Bleier was the second of the Steelers’ rushing weapons (Franco Harris was the primary back), but was effective nonetheless at both blocking and rushing. In 1976, both Harris and Bleier rushed for over 1,000 yards, making this the second NFL team to accomplish the feat.
Bleier played in the first four Steeler Super Bowl victories, and caught the touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw that gave Pittsburgh a lead it would never surrender in Super Bowl XIII. He also recovered Dallas’s onside kick in the closing seconds, sealing the Steelers’ victory.
Bleier retired after the 1980 season.