Saturday, August 16, 2014

2014 eBay purchases: Go Blue or go home, part 1

Can you guys believe it?  Just two weeks until MICHIGAN FOOTBALL!

As promised, here's the start of a series of posts covering my much-teased big-time super-duper exciting eBay purchase from early July.  It's significant not just because it set me back more than $200 (my usual monthly quota) and comprised about 84% of my spending last month, but also because of how much of a boon it will be to my collection.

Over the course of this blog I've made small and large purchases (and trades) in slowly piecing together the 185 (or so) autographs in the TK Legacy M Go Blue set.  I won't rehash those for you, but today I'm here to tell you that I added another 45(!) of those for $5 apiece, or $225, which is math even I can do!  Many of the guys in the lot will be new to the football PC, which is very exciting, and better yet, this huge chunk of cards takes me a quantum leap forward in building the set.  And better BETTER yet, some of these guys are legit stars.

I'm planning on five posts each showing off nine cars.  Eschewing my usual true alphabetical sorting (by last name), I'm displaying these in order by their card numbers, which generally correspond chronologically to when each series was released (with a few exceptions).  I hope this series interests some of you whether you're fellow Wolverine fans, set-builders, autograph fiends, or simply history buffs--one of the best side-effects of collecting this set is learning about players from way, way back!

With all that said, here's today's nine:
Reggie McKenzie 2002 TK Legacy auto
Reggie was a standout G from 1969-71 and was a first-team All-American during his senior season.  The Bills took him with the first pick of the second round the following year, and he played with them for 10 seasons plus another two with the Seahawks before hanging 'em up.  McKenzie was a teammate of pre-murder trial (and Naked Weapon) O.J. Simpson and apparently did a very nice job blocking for him considering the results!  He didn't make it to Canton but can be found in College Football's Hall of Fame.  This is my first hit of his, though he does have others I'm hoping to add eventually.
Don Lund 2002 TK Legacy auto
Lund was one of those multi-sport athletes that were more common in days past.  The Wolverine RB was a first-round pick (7th overall, two selections after teammate Crazylegs Hirsch) of the Bears in '45, but he chose the diamond over the gridiron and signed with Brooklyn instead.  Over seven Major League seasons Lund also played part of one year with the St. Louis Browns before finishing his career with the Tigers.  After his playing career ended he went on to coach his alma mater's baseball team to the 1962 NCAA title, the team's second and most recent championship in the sport.  Don does have a 2003 Heritage auto I may chase, but this is my first hit of him otherwise.
Rob Lytle 2002 TK Legacy auto
Lytle was a star RB for Michigan from 1973-76.  He's among the school's all-time leading rushers with 3330 yards, 1469 of which he piled up during his senior season to go with 14 TDs as the third-place finisher in Heisman voting.  Denver took him in the second round in '77 and the Broncos were his only NFL team until he retired after '83.  During Super Bowl XII, a loss to Dallas, Rob scored the Broncs' only TD, becoming the first player to achieve that feat to go with a score in a Rose Bowl as well.  Sadly he died of a heart attack in 2010 at the age of 56.  Still, he's remember among Michigan's legends at his position.  This is my first pickup of Lytle.
Jim Mandich 2002 TK Legacy auto
Mandich was a Michigan TE from 1967-69, meaning he was part of legendary coach Bo Schembechler's first team.  A first-team All-American in '69, the Dolphins made him the third pick of the second round the following year, and he went on to play for them through the '77 campaign, winning rings with the '72 and '73 teams.  His final NFL season came with the '78 Steelers, with whom he won a third ring thanks to Super Bowl XIII.  His playing career over, he was a radio personality for his original team for several years.  Cancer claimed his life too soon in 2011, but the College Hall of Famer was well-loved by college and professional fans alike.  As with just about everyone else here, this is my first hit of him.
Don Dufek 2002 TK Legacy auto
One of several Michigan football Dufeks, Don Jr. played safety for the Wolverines from 1973-75.  His brother Bill played in Ann Arbor from '74-'78 while his dad Don Sr. was a star in the early '50s.  Don Jr. was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in 1976 and did well enough to play his entire career with that team until his career ended in '84.  Oh yeah, he was a pretty good hockey player too, lettering all four years despite playing shortened seasons due to, you know, being on the football team too.  The Wings took him in the NHL draft, and he was also selected in the WHA version, but opted for football due to wanting to hit the pros immediately.  Michigan football family guys are always welcome to the collection!
Ron Kramer 2002 TK Legacy auto
Kramer is one of Michigan's most well-known players from the 1950s, starring at "end" (or TE) (plus basketball and track!) from 1954-56.  His #87 jersey was retired, then recently opened back up as part of the Wolverines' Legends Jersey series (not-a-TE Devin Funchess has it right now).  He backed up his college honors by being selected 4th overall in 1957 by the Packers in a loaded first round, ahead of HOFers Len Dawson and Jim Brown, among others.  After being part of Green Bay's 1961 and '62 championship squads, Kramer closed out his career with the Lions, and was honored by multiple halls of fame, including those belonging to the Packers and College Football.  He passed away in 2010, but his Legends Jersey and legendary performances assure he'll be remembered in the future.  Welcome to the collection, Ron!
Bump Elliott (Player) 2002 TK Legacy auto
Good ol' Bump!  Chalmers (Super Nintendo Chalmers?) Elliott was both a player and coach for the Maize and Blue, and he's appeared on this blog once already since I picked up a '47 National Champs auto of him, again as a player.  I'll track down the coach version of his signature as well eventually.
Alvin Wistert 2002 TK Legacy auto
Alvin Wistert is not to be confused with brother Francis (a.k.a. "Whitey"), and especially not to be confused with other brother Albert (a.k.a. "Ox), who's seen in this post.  Alvin was an OT first for Boston U. at the age of 30(!) before heading to Ann Arbor for the eventful 1947-49 seasons, which included a pair of titles.  All three of the Wistert brothers wore #11 during their careers, and the number was retired before becoming another Legends Jersey, like Kramer's.  Another College Football Hall-of-Famer, Wistert never went pro, but was in insurance for many years.  He passed away at the ripe old age of 89 in 2005, but his connection with his Wolverine brothers and two championship teams earned him a special place in Michigan lore.
Tai Streets 2002 TK Legacy auto
I know just about anybody that follows along with this blog knows former WR Streets, the guy who caught a pair of TDs in Michigan's title-winning Rose Bowl victory during the '97-'98 season.  He should also be familiar to you guys because this is my fifth hit of Tai.

That's all for today's history lesson, but it was a very productive one featuring a bunch of newbies and nine more cards towards the M Go Blue set--88 cards and growing!  Don't forget to follow along as I add to the checklist here and show off new cards in the album devoted to the set.  Watch for the next post in this series soon!

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