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First Captain of AFL's Boston Patriots Dies

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Tony Sardisco Was 73

Tony Sardisco, the first captain of the Boston Patriots of the defunct American Football League, died Sunday of a heart attack at home in Shreveport, La., at the age of 73.

Here is the story from The Boston Globe.

Here is an excerpt:

Sardisco, a middle linebacker for the Pats in their inaugural year of 1960, was considered the leader of coach Lou Saban's defense. [He] later played guard for the team before retiring in 1962.

In all, his professional career lasted four years.

In his rookie season of 1956, he played with the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.

He then served in the Air Force for two years before returning to pro football with Calgary in the Canadian Football League in 1959.

In the pioneering days of the American Football League, Sardisco was also valuable to the Patriots off the field. At one time he had, former teammate Gino Cappelletti told the Globe in 1997, the only car on the team.

Tony Sardisco appears in his
Boston Patriots uniform on a 1962 Fleer
trading card.(Incidentally, this near
mint card is priced at $19.)

Photo Courtesy: Nearmint's Vintage Football Cards

In addition, the Associated Press reports that Sardisco's wife, Juliana Tutko Sardisco, suffered a mild heart attack, most likely due to the stress of her husband's passing. She is recovering.

Sardisco's career predates my existence, so there's not a lot I can say about his playing days. Those were, indeed, humble beginnings, from all the stories I've heard. Those guys certainly didn't make millions.

But they were beginnings. It's just and proper that Sardisco lived to see the first (and then some) of the New England Patriots Super Bowl wins. It's certainly the end of an era.