I have been pretty lazy this summer with my blog and I apologize. I have gotten some returns recently and would like to update you on them.
The first return that I would like to talk about is Matt Blair. Mr. Blair was an excellent linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. He was a multiple time Pro Bowler and played on two Super Bowl teams. He was a great player and I am thankful that he was willing to sign my pocket pro. He answered my questions:
I asked him about playing at the Met: He said it would freeze out the team that came from warm places to play the Vikings; I asked about the Cowboys Hail Mary pass in the playoffs and he said that the play before the receiver caught the ball out of bounds-we win the game and we win 1st Super Bowl; I asked who had the biggest impact on his career and he said it was his big brother who was put in prison-wrong place wrong guys, I wanted to do it right for our family. I truly appreciated his candor.
I got a pocket pro returned signed by Wally Moon. I really like Wally Moon. I came across Wally Moon a year ago when I was talking to my wife's doctor. (I won't say what kind LOL) He was truly terrific with my wife and delivered our second baby daughter, Madelyn. We started talking sports and he told me about growing up watching the Dodgers and loved Wally Moon. I knew the name but not much background beyond that. I decided to sent a baseball request to give to our doctor and Mr. Moon was nice enough to sign it. Our doctor was excited. I have learned a lot about him over the past year and recently preordered his signed autobiography from his website. If you are interested I suggested you check it out. He answered my questions: the toughest pitchers for him were Warren Spahn and Bob Gibson; favorite teammates were Stan Musial and Duke Snider; and he keeps in touch with Sandy (Koufax), Stan (Musial), Wes Parker, and others.
I got Jim Craig on a picture of the Miracle on Ice celebration as well as Mike Ramsey on a picture of the Gold Medal game celebration. The 1980 USA hockey team is an incredible story that anyone that was around knows about it so I won't go into great detail. I am hoping to get more signatures on these pictures. Mr. Craig answered my character question: he said the truth and learning from your mistakes.
I got an Atlanta Falcons pocket pro signed by Al Richardson. I like Mr. Richardson growing up and he was a good player for the Falcons. He had 7 interceptions as a rookie and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was part of the most successful Falcons team up until 1998. On a side note, I miss those red jerseys and helmets. Mr. Richardson answered my questions: favorite memory-winning the 1980 Conference championship; favorite defensive scheme-3-4 by Jerry Glanville; most influential person-Joel Williams. He also answered my character question-persistance.
I am collecting pocket pro helmets signed by the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals World Series championship team. I was living outside St. Louis in Belleville, Illinois during that year. I was 10 years old and it was such an awesome time. Mr. Iorg was a great hitter and one of the best pinch hitters of his time. He answered my questions: what was it like to win the World Series-never thought it would happen, it was unreal, a dream come true; great jubilation and know anything can happen with focus and commitment; key to success as a pinch hitter-don't take strikes! Hit the first good pitch you see, that is why it is called a pinch hitter; he also answered my character question-total integrity-don't look to others to solve your problems, live correct principles and all else will take care of itself.
I had an awesome return from Wayne Walker. He was an excellent linebacker for the Detroit Lions but that is not why I wrote to him. Wayne Walker to me was my sportscaster of my youth. He was the sports director at KPIX in San Francisco which I grew up watching. He was my ESPN. I never even knew as a kid that he had been a multiple time Pro Bowler. He also spent time doing 49ers, Raiders, and A's games. I will never forget him. In addition to signing my pocket pro he sent a signed 8x10 in his own separate envelope. One of the coolest things is that it had a note on it from his wife thanking me for the great letter. That meant a lot to me. He answered my character question-be true to yourself because in your heart you always know the difference between right and wrong.
The last return I got was from Reggie Brooks. I loved watching him play at Notre Dame. He switched from defensive back to running back. He had a great senior season. He rushed for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was named All-American and finished fifth in the Heisman voting. He had an excellent rookie season for the Washington Redskins and rushed for over 1,000 yards. I really don't understand why he didn't get a better chance in the NFL. He produced when given the opportunity. He answered my questions: favorite memory-last drive in the Penn State game; any regrets-he would have been a better stewart financially; will ND return to glory soon-definitely. He also answered my character question- perserverance.