Forgotten Big Red Stars: Bobby Joe Conrad

Bobby Joe Conrad was born November 17, 1935, in Clifton, Texas, and attended Clifton High School, where he was an All-state quarterback. Conrad led the team to back-to-back district championships in 1952 and 1953 and, as a senior, scored 207 points and took Clifton to the state semifinals.

Conrad accepted a football scholarship from Texas A&M University to play under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He played quarterback, halfback, fullback and end for the Aggies and was a member of the school’s 1956 SWC Championship team.

Bobby Joe Conrad

Conrad participated in the 1958 Chicago College All-Star Game and although he had never attempted a kick in college, he set a scoring record by kicking 4 field goals and 3 extra points. He also intercepted one pass in the 35-19 upset of the 1957 NFL Champion Detroit Lions.

Conrad’s play in the College All-Star game caught the attention of NFL scouts and he was selected by the New York Giants in the fifth round (58th overall) of the 1958 NFL Draft. A few months later, he was traded along with safety Dick Nolan to the Chicago Cardinals, in exchange for End Pat Summerall and halfback Lindon Crow.

The Texas native intercepted four passes at defensive back his rookie season in 1958 and also did some place kicking. He was switched to a full time wide receiver in 1961 and caught 30 passes. The following season he caught 62 passes for 953 yards.

In 1963, Conrad was named first team All-Pro after leading the NFL with 73 receptions while playing opposite Sonny Randle. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1964 after leading the Cards in receiving and was named the team Most Valuable Player in 1965 when he caught 58 passes for 909 yards and 5 touchdowns.

In 1968 Conrad, unknowingly at the time, set an NFL record by catching a pass in his 94th consecutive game (In 1991, it was discovered that Don Hutson‘s NFL record for consecutive games (95) with a reception was counted erroneously) Conrad was traded to Dallas in 1969 for a 5th round draft choice. He caught four passes for the Cowboys before retiring after the season.

Conrad left as the Cardinals franchise reception leader with 418 which was good for seventh in NFL history. He once had a string of 148 consecutive games played and he finished his career with 422 receptions for 5,902 yards and totaled 42 touchdowns.

After retirement from football, Conrad and his family returned to Clifton, TX. He was
employed by the Farmers Home Administration, and in 1973 went to work for the Texas Land
Bank. Bobby Joe Conrad was the 29th person to serve as Bosque County (TX) Judge, a position he held for eight years.

Conrad was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and still resides in Clifton.

3 thoughts on “Forgotten Big Red Stars: Bobby Joe Conrad

  1. Another great Big Red player from the 1960’s. From 1962 – 1965 he had 254 receptions. I’m wondering if that’s the most receptions any St. Louis Cardinals wide receiver had over a four year period.

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  2. Thanks for highlighting Bobby Joe Conrad. He is a vastly underrated player. I believe he was every bit as good as the other top flankers of the era, such as Jimmy Orr, Ray Renfro, Johnny Morris, Boyd Dowler, Tommy McDonald and Bobby Mitchell. He was consistent, dependable and durable. I didn’t know he had been drafted by the Giants. He would have gotten the attention he deserved if he had been on those Y.A. Tittle New York teams of the early 1960s, but I’m glad he brought his steady professionalism to the Cardinals. I was amazed to read in your story that he became a judge.

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