Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wade Boggs, Tony Greene, and Vagas Ferguson

I am going to update a couple of recent successes.

I was able to get HOFer Wade Boggs on a pocket pro Boston Red Sox helmet with a donation to the charity he supports.  It came out looking great and it is so awesome to add him to my collection.  Mr. Boggs was an incredible hitter and was one of the best in my era.  Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs were the top skill hitters I watched.  People always talk about the great Ted Williams and his ability, I think Gwynn and Boggs were the Williams of my youth. 

Tony Greene is another Buffalo Bills player for my collection.  He spent his entire career with the Bills and was an excellent defensive back.  He had 37 interceptions in his career and twice intercepted 9 passes in a season.  He returned one interception 101 yards for a touchdown.  He answered my character question with being true to yourself and you can do anything you want if you just try.

Vagas Ferguson was a Notre Dame star.  He was an excellent running back for them and was part of the 1977 National Championship team.  He was also named to the All American after the 1979 season.  He twice surpassed the 1,000 yard mark.  He finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 1979.  I asked him his favorite memory and he said it was the people he met.  The best part of Notre Dame was developing life long friendships.  He loved being at Notre Dame because it was biblically based.  He said he has been blessed.  His answer to my character question was love!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mark Kelso

The Bills are kind to me again.  I received a return today from Mark Kelso, an excellent player for the Bills.  Mark Kelso was drafted in the 10th round and turned into a starter.  I love it when they show that the draftniks don't know everything.  He had a nose for the football--30 career interceptions.  I am really surprised that he didn't make the Pro Bowl.  He was part of the great Super Bowl run by the Bills.  I don't care if they never won one--it is still totally unbelievable and will never be duplicated.  I want to get as many players from those teams as I can.  I get more impressed with them every year.  His favorite memory is all the friends that he made during his career.  He still lives in Buffalo- he said there are no better people in the world- philanthropic, kind, and loyal.  I asked if he believed that players should be required to wear the soft shell like he did- he said that he thinks the soft shell technology is the future of all the helmet industry in every sport and recreational activities that requires a helmet.  He answered my character question with integrity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Derek Brown, Anthony Johnson, Cedric Jones, Jeff Wright, Henry Jones, Danny Hultzen

It has been has been a little while since I have updated this.  I had a slow week but when it came it came in a group.  I received 3 one day and 3 another day.  The first return was from Derek Brown. He was a tight end that went to school at Notre Dame.  I enjoyed rooting for him at Notre Dame.  He was a Freshman on the 1988 National Championship team.  The Irish finished in the Top Ten in three of his seasons there.  He was drafted in first round by the New York Giants.   He didn't have a great chance in his NFL career.  I enjoyed when he played for the Raiders but it was a tough season for the Raiders.  He said his favorite memory was winning the National Championship, being drafted, the 1996 season with the Jags, 1998 with the Raiders, 1994 Giants, and the Cards.  I asked him if he missed the game and he said yes and no :-).   He answered my character question- be a hard worker, regardless of your talent give your best effort, you can only control 2 things in life--your attitude and your effort. (What a great statement)

My second return was from another former Notre Dame player-Anthony Johnson.  He was another member of that 1988 National Championship team. He had an excellent career for the Irish.  He scored double digit touchdowns twice during his time with the Irish.  He was a great all around back and broke the 1,100 yard barrier for the Carolina Panthers.  He said his favorite memory was winning it all at Notre Dame.  The best part of playing at Notre Dame was the commaderie fo the guys.  He said that he was humbled by the fact that God allowed him to break the 1,000 yard mark.  He answered my character question- he believes that faith is the most important.

The third return was from Cedric Jones.  He played his entire career with the New England Patriots and was part of the 1985 Super Bowl team.  His best season was in 1989 when he had the opportunity to be a starter.  His favorite memory was beating the Dolphins in the AFC championship game in the Orange Bowl.  I asked if he keeps in touch with his ex-teammates and he said he does with Tippett, Grogan, and Stanley Morgan.  His father had the biggest impact on him- he set a great example on how to be a great man, a great father, and a great husband.  He answered my character question- integrity.

Two more returns I received were from ex-Buffalo Bills.  They were Henry Jones and Jeff Wright.  Both of these players were part of the great Bills teams that went to multiple Super Bowls.  Henry Jones was a great safety who played almost his entire career with the Bills.  Jeff Wright was an excellent defensive lineman.  I love those Bills teams and don't think they get enough credit. 

The last return was from Danny Hultzen, the young pitcher who I think is going to be a great pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.  He has pitched extremely well this year and I am looking forward to following his career.  I am hoping that he can help return the Mariners to respectability.  I know one pitcher can't do it alone but if they keep Hernandez and add Hultzen...... maybe they are starting something. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lindon Crow, Marc Edwards, Randy Beverly, Joe Cunningham, Dave Parker, Mike Renfro

I am going to update some returns that I have received over the past week.  The first one was Lindon Crow.  Mr. Crow had an excellent career as a defensive back.  He started out with the Chicago Cardinals (that sounds so strange), went to the New York Giants, and finished with the LA Rams.  He led the league in interceptions with 11 and went to multiple Pro Bowls.  He played in the "Greatest Game Ever Played" which was his favorite memory.  His favorite place to play was Yankee Stadium.  He keeps in touch with some of his ex teammates but says that many have left us.  The person with the biggest impact on him was his high school coach.

My next return was from Marc Edwards.  I became a fan of his while he was playing at Notre Dame.  I loved that he played for the 49ers.  He was an excellent fullback, sadly a position that is being phased out.  He was an excellent blocker and had good hands coming out of the backfield.  He won the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.  His favorite memory was the Super Bowl victory.  I asked him who he loved to block and he said no one, blocking was hard!!! I asked whether he enjoyed blocking or catching a pass more-he said either, if it led to a big play.  I asked him what it was like to play at Notre Dame and he said it was the best time of his life.  He included 4 extra signed cards.

Randy Beverly was another return.  He played on the Super Bowl winning New York Jets.  He had two interceptions in that Super Bowl.  It is surprising you don't hear more about him but Joe Namath kind of stole the show LOL :)  He went from being an undrafted rookie to starter for the Jets.  He played really well for them.  He included an extra signed photo which he inscribed with "Continue the good work".  This is one of the things I love about this hobby, you can learn about players that you might not have heard of otherwise.  You learn some great stuff.

Joe Cunningham was an excellent player for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He was a great hitter who had 8 straight seasons of double digit doubles and three times hit over 300.  He hit 2 home runs off Warren Spahn in his second career game.  I really admire the fact that he never struck out more than he walked which rarely happens in today's game.  His favorite memory was breaking into the majors and hitting 3 HRs and 9 RBIs in his first two games.  His favorite place to play was Sportsmen Park in St. Louis.  His father helped him most in his career. 

I also received a return from Mike Renfro.  He was a wide receiver for the Houston Oilers and the Dallas Cowboys.  He had a very good career and is probably known best for the non-TD that was actually a TD in the playoffs against the Steelers.  His best season was 1985 with the Dallas Cowboys where he caught 60 passes for 900 yards and scored 8 touchdowns.  He had a great college career at TCU.  His favorite Oilers memories are the playoff games against the San Diego Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  His favorite Cowboys memory was beating the rival Giants and Redskins.  I asked if playing for Coach Landry was hard and he said that if you respected your job and worked hard- he was great.  He said his dad had the biggest impact on him and that his dad played in the NFL.

The final return was actually from a private signing conducted on  It was Dave Parker.  Dave Parker was an awesome player who won the World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland A's.  I was very excited to get this Mother's Cookies A's card signed for my collection.  It came out looking great. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Charles Smith, Chris Hanburger, Dennis Smith, Joe Schmidt, Gary Reasons

My first return was from Charles Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles.  He played his entire career with the Eagles after playing his college ball at Grambling.  He caught one pass as a rookie but became a starter in his second season.  He was a starter for pretty much the rest of his career.  He had four seasons of at least 30 receptions and averaged 15 yards a catch.  He was an excellent complement to Harold Carmichael and was a member of the Eagles 1980 Super Bowl team.  He said that his favorite memory was the day that he made the team in 1974.  He said playing for Eddie Robinson was the greatest.  He became a coach after his career and his favorite part of coaching was seeing the success of his players.  His answer to my character question was honesty.

The second return was from Chris Hanburger.  I am a big UNC fan so this was a great return for me.  He was a great Tar Heel and had an incredible career with the Redskins.  He was a 9 time Pro Bowler, 4 time All Pro, and earned a spot in the Hall of Fame!  He was an excellent tackler and was nicknamed Hangman for it.  He also was good in coverage.  He had 19 ints and scored 5 tds (2 ints and 3 fumbles).  He played both ways in college and was a great center for the Tar Heels.  He said his favorite UNC memory was winning the Gator Bowl.  His favorite NFL memory was being selected to his first Pro Bowl team.  The toughest person for him to tackle was anyone bigger than him.  His father has had the biggest impact on him.  His answer to my character question was to always strive to be the best at whatever you do in life. 

The next return was from the excellent defensive back for the Denver Broncos-Dennis Smith.  He was a great player for the Broncos and has been put into their Ring of Honor.  It is too bad that he wasn't able to win a Super Bowl with the Broncos.  He deserved to.  He was a 6 time Pro Bowler and had 30 ints.  He played college ball at USC with Ronnie Lott and Joey Browner among others.  Mr. Smith is someone that I always remember.  He answered my character question with the answer of honesty. 

Joe Schmidt was a great player for the Detroit Lions and became their coach later on in his career.   He was successful as both a coach and player.  He was 8 time All Pro and went to the Pro Bowl 10 consecutive years.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame.  He had a definite nose for the football - 24 ints and 17 fumble recoveries (including 8 in one season).  He is truly one of the all time great Lions and has such a special place in the Lions history.  It is too bad that his coaching career kind of ended with a sour taste.  He answered my character question with the word honesty.

My final return was from Gary Reasons.  He was an excellent linebacker who was part of an incredible linebacking core- him, Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, and Harry Carson.  Mr. Reasons doesn't get the notoriety as the others but he played a big part.  His most famous play was actually on special teams- the fake punt against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jimmy Orr, Gary Glick, Wayne Hawkins, John Settle

My first return was from Jimmy Orr.  He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Colts.  One of the things that made me want to write to him was that he has two out of the top ten all time yards per reception average.  The thing that I thought was cool was that he did it 10 years apart.  He definitely kept his speed/skills throughout his career.  Mr. Orr said that there were too many memories to pick a favorite.  He said that Night Train Lane was an awesome defensive back.  He says that he misses playing  but that he watches a lot of college and pro games and that he doesn't miss many.  He also answered my character question- he said honesty.

Gary Glick was an interesting player.  He was the first pick in the NFL draft out of Colorado A & M (now Colorado State).  It was a surprise to a lot of people.  He said he was surprised with going number 1 with all the great prospects that year.  He had a good career as a defensive and had 14 interceptions combined from the Steelers, Colts, Redskins, and Chargers (AFL champs).  He said his favorite memory is playing in the NFL - there were 12 teams with a 32 man roster and he played both ways (also a kicker for a couple of years).  He loved all the teams that he played on but he said the Baltimore Colts was the classiest.  He said that the people that had the biggest impact on him were Bob Davis (coach at Colorado A&M), Walt Ewbank (Colts), and Sid Gilliam (Chargers).  He answered my character question as well - treat others as you want them to treat you, respect their thoughts even if they might differ from yours.  Really love that final part.  Mr. Glick sent along two extra cards and two extra photos.  It was awesome!!!  (side note:  when I get a really cool return I will sometimes look to see if there are other items from that player that I can add to my collection.  So I looked up Gary Glick and was really disappointed to see that someone was selling three of the extras that he had sent to me.  That really makes me mad.  A player sends you free items and you put them on EBAY.  Look up Virgil Trucks and see how many of the free items that he sends are on EBAY.  Then collectors wonder why players start charging or stop signing. Sorry, off my soap box now.)

My next return was from Wayne Hawkins, a former Raider.  He was close friends and teammates with Tom Flores.  He was an original Raider.  He was part of the 1963 team that went from 1 win to 10 wins in Al Davis's first season as coach.  He went to 5 straight Pro Bowls and was named to the All AFL team.  He played in Super Bowl II.  He said his favorite memory was playing in the Super Bowl.  He said the toughest person to block was Ernie Ladd.  He said it is a great feeling to know that he was part of the building blocks to help make the Raiders the Raiders.  He answered my character question as well - honesty.

My final return was from John Settle.  He was a running back with the Atlanta Falcons and became the first undrafted free agent to rush for 1,000 yards. He said that was his favorite memory.  He made the Pro Bowl that season and said that it was a great honor to be rewarded and recognized by his peers.  He had an incredible college career at Appalachian State where they retired his number.  I was surprised that he would go undrafted after rushing for over 1,600 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns as a senior.  I don't care what conference you are in, those are great numbers.  He has had great success as a coach and I asked what he felt was the key to his success.  He said that it is hard work and honesty.  He tells the players what they need to hear and not what they want to hear.  The person that has helped him the most was his college coach Sparky Woods who wouldn't let him quit when he tought he wanted to.  He also answered my character question- honesty, always tell the truth and you will never have to defend your answers.