Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 COMC pickups #4: First year football

Because I tried to make my latest COMC package more about bunches of relatively inexpensive cards instead of big hits, one area of my UM collection I was fortunate to be able to beef up was RCs.  Although half of them ended up focusing on one player, as you'll see in a minute, I found five others that also will enjoy a nice home in my Michigan Football Rookies collection:
Chad Henne 2008 Select RC (#405/999)
Although he's one of my favorite Wolverines, this is actually the first Henne RC I've put up in the rookies album.  Then again, I'm not sure I have anything as nice as this foil-tastic, serial-numbered beaut.  I happily threw down $0.48 to make it mine, and now I think I'll try to grab the other Wolverines in the set.
Ron Johnson 1971 Topps RC
Johnson was one of Michigan's all-time great RBs, and his stats prove that out, including ownership of two of the top five rushing performances in program history:  347 yards on 31 attempts (11.2 YPC) against Wisconsin in 1968, which is still a school record, and 270 on 26 (10.4) in the 1967 Navy contest, good for fourth overall.  He graduated with a business degree, then Cleveland drafted him #20 overall in 1969.  He made a pair of Pro Bowls and lasted in the league through 1976, also playing for the Giants (pictured on the card) and Cowboys.  I loved being able to add his RC, which is a beautiful vintage example, to my PC.
Joe O'Donnell 1971 Topps RC
Well there's a familiar-looking set.  O'Donnell is from nearby Saline and came to Ann Arbor as a FB before settling in as a guard and punter.  He was chosen in both the AFL and NFL drafts in 1964, and though he was selected much lower, he joined the former's Bills instead of the latter's Packers.  His pro career spanned 1964-71, all with the Bills, including their transition to the NFL, then later played a couple seasons in the quickly defunct World Football League.  This is another fun addition to the RC collection and vintage album as well!
Marquise Walker 2002 Bowman Chrome RC
Walker isn't new to the blog by any means as I've been able to show off some cool hits of the former star WR in the past.  When I happened on this excellent Bowman Chrome RC at its cheap price I thought it made perfect sense to throw it in, and that's why you're seeing it today.
Charles Woodson 1998 Bowman Chrome RC
Exactly a month ago I showed off two new Charles Woodson RCs I was excited about, and I'm happy to say I have five new ones to add to that pile today!  First up is this '98 BowChro issue.  I'm very familiar with the design since it's identical to the baseball version.  That's two Bowman Chrome rookies in a row, and that's no mistake since I know they're widely regarded as the top RC for a player.  Here we get a nice shot of Woodson cornerbackin' it, which he's done well throughout his illustrious career.
Charles Woodson 1998 Flair Showcase Row 3 RC
First I'll address the obvious question--why is the Row 3 version considered the rookie card?  I have no idea.  I do know that Flair Showcase is a fantastic looking set, high-end before the term meant shelling out $100 per box for one pack.  Also of note:  Charles is listed as "CB/KR," which is a nice nod to his return skills.  He returned a total of 40 punts and 44 kickoffs in college, with his lone score being this famous punt return against the Buckeyes in 1997.  In the pros, those numbers were 87 and 5, respectively.
Charles Woodson 1998 Finest RC
Well I had grabbed the Bowman Chrome, so why not Finest?  This is another great shot of Woodson on the move, backed by glorious chrome technology, and no protector marring the whole thing!
Charles Woodson 1998 Stadium Club RC
Looks to me like old Charles just made an interception, something he would do five times his rookie season.  I have to wonder if this was from a preseason game, though, since that looks like a 49ers helmet in the background and Oakland didn't play them that year.  This is a pretty cool Stadium Club football design, by the way, with a pigskin-like corner and excellent full-bleed photography; what, you expected anything different?
Charles Woodson 1998 UD Choice RC
UD Choice was one of Upper Deck's variations on the low-end Collector's Choice set, and while I'm annoyed at the crazy amount of real estate taken up by everything but the photo, this is still pretty close to a Michigan uniform card.  Not 100%, of course, since the iconic winged helmet is airbrushed, but at least the rest of the uni is intact.  When in doubt, I'll always go for a college photo, even if it's airbrushed!
Butch Woolfolk 1983 Topps RC
Wrapping things up today is this RC of star RB Butch Woolfolk, who ran wild in Ann Arbor from 1978-81.  An outstanding athlete who also excelled in track and field, he led the conference in scoring in 1979, then rushing yardage his senior season.  His name peppered the record books, and it was no surprise that he was a first-round selection in 1982, selected by the Giants at #18 overall.  He went on to play for the Oilers and Lions as well during his seven-year career, and after retirement went on to have a son, Troy, who carried on the family legacy, this time as a DB.  Here he's featured on a card that's about as old as I am, and as far as I know it's my first '83 Topps football card.  Welcome to the collection, Butch!

That's it for football rookies, but I'll be back shortly with more baseball PC cards and some hits!

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