At my local card show last month, there was a dealer that I hadn’t seen before. He had nothing but old, junk era wax. As I’m getting toward my 40s, I find myself more and more gravitating to the nostalgia of the “good old days.” I’m referring to the days before game used and autographed cards in the hobby and back when the biggest concerns in my life were if my baseball game was going to be rained out and if a particular girl wanted to “go with me.”
For $5, I picked this up. If you think that’s bad, the sticker on the plastic wrap had retail on these at $20 for ONE SET.
Raise your hand if you’ve already asked “why?” out loud or have shaken your head. I figured as much.
There are a handful of reasons that I elected to spend five dollars on this. First off, I already knew what was in each set. I had a couple of these when I was younger. I’m pretty sure I picked them up sometime in the mid-late 90s at one of the “dollar” stores in my hometown. I actually still have two of the cards from the set that I picked up 15-20 years ago. When I saw the box, I thought there were two players from my alma mater in the set. I was incorrect, there was only one. Had I known it was just one, it wouldn’t have influenced my decision.
Like many guys my age, the cards of my childhood are long gone. I don’t have a “my mom threw my cards away” story. In my early 20s, I got rid of most of my cards, knowing that they just weren’t worth much. At the quantity I had, it didn’t justify keeping them. I didn’t know where my life would take me but I knew I didn’t want to lug along monster box after monster box. Life has ultimately taken me from Morgantown, West Virginia, to Pittsburgh, on to Indianapolis and finally to the place that I plan to be my home for the rest of my life, the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Let’s be honest, It was a good choice to get rid off all that 1991 Fleer and Pro Set football.
Enough rambling, it’s time to get to the cards. There are some names in this set, even if they aren’t the biggest ones or ones that kids today know. Some of the players or coaches I didn’t pull but recall from watching football as a kid were Chris Mohr, Chan Gailey, Dedrick Dodge, Michael Proctor, Tracy Simien, Anthony Parker, Mouse Davis and Roman Gabriel.
I’m going to break what I show into four areas – the stars, the coaches, the names and the nostalgia. The “stars” aren’t players that had huge NFL playing careers later on. However, they are the two most “valuable” cards in the set. The “coaches” are exactly what you’d expect. The “names” are ones you may have heard for one reason or another. Finally, the “nostalgia” are ones that I chose to post, for a different reason. Some players could have been listed in multiple areas. I chose to place them where they fit for ME.
Most people know Jason Garrett as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He spent time in the WLAF before a 12-year NFL career, nine of which were spent with the Cowboys. My recollection of Garrett is his career best performance in the 1994 Thanksgiving Day game. I couldn’t remember the details (until looking), but I remembered the Cowboys were expected to lose with him in the game. He threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Cowboys to a come from behind victory. Had that game been any day other than Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t remember a thing about it. The Garrett currently books at a whopping $3. The bad thing about that is that even if you want one and find it on eBay, you’ll pay more than that when you factor in shipping.
How many of you know who this is? I’m sure a few of you do, but I’d be shocked if 25% of you reading it do. If you don’t, do the photos below help you at all?
If not, I will fill you in. John Layfield was a WWE wrestler that held six different titles (a total of 24 times), including the WWE Championship. During the height of his career, his “JBL” gimmick portrayed him as a rich, arrogant, wealthy businessman. This was based on his real-life accomplishments as a stock market investor. He is currently an announcer for WWE and is a financial analyst for Fox News. Layfield has plenty of WWE cards from throughout the years, but this is his only appearance on a football card.
Mike Riley is the newest head football coach at the University of Nebraska. His gig with the San Antonio Riders was his second head coaching position, after spending four season coaching the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Since 1997, he has been either an NCAA or NFL head coach, with the exception of the 2002 season. Riley is card 150 in the set and unfortunately, the card in the last of the sets that I opened was badly bent toward the top. You can see it closely if you look at the picture.
Currently on the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff, Doug Marrone was the head coach at Syracuse (his alma mater) from 2009-2012 and of the Buffalo Bills the last two seasons. The card is Marrone’s only one.
Jack Elway was a long time high school and college coach. His two years leading the Frankfurt Galaxy were his only two spent at the professional level. He also played quarterback for one season at Washington State University. At the end of the day, most will know him as John Elway’s father. While John has over 6.500 cards, this is just one of two that his father had.
Kerwin Bell led the Florida Gators to back-to-back 9-1-1 seasons in 1984 and 1985. In the 1984 season, he was the SEC Player of the Year and led the Gators to the SEC title. Bell played nine seasons in Canada, throwing for 101 touchdowns. He played in just one game in the NFL. He entered the week 15 game for the Indianapolis Colts in 1996, completing all five passes and a touchdown. The performance left him with a 158.8 quarterback rating, the highest possible and the highest career rating in NFL history.
Judd Garrett is best known in football circles as Jason’s brother, but as you can see from the quantity of his cards (four cards in the 150-card set), he was a good player himself. In 1991 he led the World League with 71 receptions and was a member of the London Monarchs’ championship team. He was a member of the Cowboy’s practice squad in 1993, winning a Super Bowl ring. He is currently the Director of Pro Scouting for the Cowboys.
Stan Gelbaugh spent ten years in the NFL. The started eight games in 1992 and threw for 1,307 yards and six touchdowns. The Seahawks failed to win any of those games. The most pro success he saw was the 1991 World League season. He quarterbacked the London Monarchs to a championship and led the league in multiple passing categories. He was names the league’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.
I mentioned before that I thought there were two players from my alma mater, West Virginia University, in this set. I was incorrect, and there was only one.
Undra Johnson was the second leading rusher for the 1988 WVU team that finished the regular season with an 11-0 record. He led the team with 11 touchdowns. This was Johnson’s only professional card, his only other was a WVU set released during the 1988 season.
After the 1988 season, WVU faced Notre Dame in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame knocked WVU quarterback Major Harris out of the game in the second half, effectively ending any chance the Mountaineers had for a comeback victory. The quarterback of that Notre Dame team was Tony Rice. His name will forever haunt me and that game started my despise of Notre Dame.
I do hope that you enjoyed the look at this unique, yet basically worthless, product. If you like what we’re doing, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and also look through some other pieces on the site. I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are! You can follow me on Twitter at @kin_kinsley, @beansbcardblog and @DFW_Card_Shows.