Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #43 Steve Walsh 1995 NFL Experience



In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 
NFL Info:  Jimmy Johnson coached Steve Walsh at the University of Miami for a couple of seasons and then drafted him for the Cowboys in 1989. That was the same year the Cowboys drafted Troy Aikman so you know how that worked out for Walsh. He was traded to the Saints a few weeks into the 1990 season and started 11 games for them that year and seven the next. He was dealt to the Bears in 1994 and was their primary starter that season. He bounced around the NFL for another five years and then retired to coach high school ball in Florida. His record as a starter was 20-18. Walsh is the uncle of New York Ranger defenseman and captain Ryan McDonagh.

Fantasy Impact: Steve Walsh sat on my bench during both the '94 and '99 seasons. He was backing up my teams' backup Erik Kramer in Chicago in '94 and backing up my teams' starter, Peyton Manning of the Colts in '99. I never used him.

The Card: The copyright line on the back of the card says 1994 but this card is considered part of the 100 card 1995 Classic set. The bio reads as if the card was issued late in the 1994 season...("Through 11 weeks....") so it appears to be a set that came out at the tail end of the '94 season. A bit of research might uncover the truth but I'm not interested enough to dig into it.

The card itself isn't awful but neither is it attractive. I like that the color scheme echos the Bears colors and the fact that there are two different pictures used front and back. The back is among the least informative cards I've come across. No stats at all and nothing in the way of info at all other than the one paragraph blurb. If the card was, as it seems to be, issued late in the season I guess I can understand the lack of a stat line or lines.




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Killer B's


In a few weeks the Hall of Fame (or the BBWA I suppose) will announce the 2015 Hall inductees. It'll be amazing to me if there are none as was the case last year. With all the politics that are involved in balloting like this I generally tend to not pay a lot of attention. The Football Hall kept John Mackey out for many, many years due to his activity as leader of the Players Union. Guy Lewis was victimized by mis-conceptions and prejudice and only last year was inducted into the Basketball Hall, many years after coaches with inferior records were accepted (I'm looking at you, John Chaney).

But putting that aside there are a couple of former Astros who have a shot and who I'd like to see elected, if for no other reason than to ease the pain of my sons, both frustrated Astros fans.

Craig Biggio barely missed last tear and everything I read says he'll get in this year.




Jeff Bagwell is another story. He has the numbers. By almost any measure he belongs. Not to disparage Hall of Famer (deservedly so) Tony Perez but Bagwell has better career stats. But Bagwell has that PED cloud although as far as I know it's just speculation.

My belief is that you can't exclude someone on mere rumors. I think Bagwell belongs.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Alex Sandusky signature and cards


This homebrewed signed Alex Sandusky card came my way through the generosity of Mike McKay, a friend I've made through this blog. Mike has hooked me up before.

Alex Sandusky, one of four NFL players to attend Clarion made a living by protecting Baltimore Colts' qb Johnny Unitas and opening holes for Lenny Moore and Alan Ameche among others. Old time Colts fans like me have always appreciated him. He played in the shadow of some truly great players including Hall of Famer Jim Parker and never got the accolades he was due. But he has two Championship rings and a good life in retirement. BTW... he is not related to disgraced coach Jerry Sandusky.

I recently picked up several Sandusky cards for my Baltimore Colts collection.

1962 Post Cereal. There are 15 Baltimore Colts in that set which makes it one of the largest group of Colts cards of the era. Only the 1959 Topps Colts (16) outnumber the Post Cereal Colts among cards from the 50s and 60s. I'm lacking six out of those 15.


Here are a couple of  1960s wax pack issues. These two just scream 60s football.

First up is the 1963 Topps. Does anyone remember that red film sheet that you placed over the cartoon to reveal the answer to the question? (EDIT: I wonder if any of those survived. I'd check eBay but it's blocked here at work.)



1964 Philly Gum card. People are probably sick of hearing how much I like this set. But I do. 



Thanks Mike. The Sandusky sig is neat and especially so since it came from a friend who is so generous. It's now part of my custom cover for my Baltimore Colts binder.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bazooka Cards


A couple of 1971 Bazooka cards that came from my oddball box. Topps made these obviously and used a very familiar picture for the Brooks Robinson card. I've seen the McNally shot as well.

These were the standard sized Bazooka offerings through the 60s and 70s. I would really love to have one of the full box sized cards that they made in 1959, the Billy Pierce in particular.


 Courtesy of eBay here is a complete '71 box with Randy Hundley, Willie Mays and Catfish Hunter featured.


Oh, and if you are looking to get me a Christmas gift you could do worse than this 1965 box with three of my favorite players on the back. Hard to beat a Robinson-Koufax-Colavito trio of cards!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm Hungry

So lets have some Hostess cards from the closet box of oddball 'stuff'. 

Here is a 1975 Brooks Robinson. Obvious spring training photo session with the shadows of Brooks, the photographer and the support crew visible.


Jim Palmer's card from that 1975 set was shot in Yankee Stadium.



A trio of 1976 Hostess cards. Mike Torrez pitched for 18 seasons and won 20 games once... as a member of the '75 Orioles, his only year in Charm City. By the time this card was cut from a box of Ding Dongs he was pitching in Oakland courtesy of the Reggie Jackson trade.


Here's Brooks again in a spring training shot. That's Miami Stadium's curved roof behind him.


 Don Baylor was on the same April flight to Oakland as Mike Torrez since they both were part of the Reggie trade. It's surprising to me to look back at Baylor's numbers as an Oriole and see that he hit only 57 homers for them. He had 25 in 1975.


Finally this is the 1978 Jim Palmer. '78 was Palmers last 20 win season. He was coming off a second place in the Cy Young balloting after having won the award three of the previous four seasons. He was headed for the back side of his terrific career but wasn't done quite yet. In 1982 he pitched well enough to finish 2nd in the Cy Young voting.  



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1970 Topps Poster of lefty punter(!) David Lee



I have memories of Topps 1968 Football posters, they looked like this:


And I remember the 1971 version, this is one of those:


But the 1970 posters? I got nothing. I don't think I'd ever even seen one much less been aware of them until the David Lee poster appeared on my Baltimore Colts checklist. But once I looked for it I saw that they were cheap and easy to obtain. I picked one up sight unseen from an online dealer. The Lee poster came folded neatly as if it came straight out of the pack. And when I opened it I saw why they were under my (and everyone else's) radar. They are not very good. Generic 'paintings' of guys in logo-less unis which just happen to be the color of the team depicted.

And while we are at it, here are some views of David Lee playing for the Colts.




In that shot he's doing what he did for them for 13 seasons...punting...with his right foot. Now look at the poster again. He's kicking, with his left foot, and there is a holder kneeling next to him. WTH? As far as I can tell from stat sites Lee never once attempted a place kick. Seems weird that they would get it so wrong don't you think? And who wants a poster of a punter anyway?

But, here is an interesting pair of photos:



That's lefty place kicker Lou Michaels who was with the Colts through the 1969 season. I suspect that Topps was planning a Michaels poster, had the artwork done, but changed the wording to David Lee when Michaels was cut loose by the Colts in training camp in 1970.

The 1970 posters were a series of 24 that came inserted in packs of the 2nd Series of Topps football that year. This site has the checklist and shows most of them. They are all as ugly as the Lee poster.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #42 Brad Johnson 1997 Pacific




In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 

NFL Info:  Brad Johnson was a ninth round pick of the Vikings in 1994 after a career at Florida State that saw him play both basketball and football. I was very surprised to read that Johnson had a 17 year NFL career. Just doesn't seem like he was around that long. But he was. Of those 17 seasons he was a starter for a total of six full seasons and parts of some others. He bounced around quite a bit after a couple of years as the Vikes go to guy. He spent a season as the Redskins starter, the Bucs had him under center for their 2003 Super Bowl title season. After that he was back in Minnesota and then Dallas, mostly as a reserve.

Fantasy Impact: I picked up Johnson late in the 2005 season and started him a couple of times down the stretch in place of my regular quarterback, Brett Favre who was having an un-Favre-like stretch. Johnson won me a couple of games and had a nice day for me in the playoffs. I switched to Mike Vick for my championship game and won it. So Johnson has two championship rings, and NFL one and an Ed Hughes League one. I hope he appreciates them both.

The Card: Two things would vastly improve the front of this card...first of all eliminate the 'echoing' helmet visual, just put the Vikes helmet there, and not in gold, thanks. Second, make the players name smaller. The back is very very busy. Did I mention that it's busy? Does it need the manufacturers logo twice? And a copyright line noting the company... and a card number with the company name surrounding it? No.