Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rookie Blue-out part 3: 1997-98 champs!

Over the last couple months of 2015 I made a big push to acquire lots of cards for my Michigan Football RC PC, and between Sportlots and COMC I made a ton of progress.  Now I'm slowly but surely showing them off in various bunches.  Hit the link above to see the album or have a look at my checklist here.  (You can also use the links in the "Rookie Blue: Michigan Football rookies collection" section on the right sidebar)  Click here for all posts in the series.

Anything formatted in this style indicates what I consider to be a Michigan uniform photo, regardless of airbrushing, etc.

I managed to come up with another fun theme for today's post:  all 10 of today's players were part of the 1997-98 team that won Michigan's last NCAA title.  Wikipedia says that a crazy 31 guys on that team went on to at least some playing time in the NFL, and naturally many of those guys appear on at least one rookie card.  Speaking of that, three guys I already covered in the first post in this series were also '97 champs:   James Hall, Tommy Hendricks, and Andre Weathers.

As a matter of fact, of the 23 of those guys with NFL RCs, I have rookies of 13 of them (and am currently chasing cards of Jeff Backus, Jay Feely, Chris Howard, Jon Jansen, Dhani Jones, William Peterson, Josh Williams, and Maurice Williams).

And now, on to today's players:
Mark Campbell (1999):  Score Supplemental

Campbell, who hails from Clawson (about an hour northeast of Ann Arbor), was a FB/TE for the Wolverines in the mid-to-late 90s.  He appeared in 46 games for Michigan, though he didn't earn a ton of playing time, but did manage one TD catch during the title-winning campaign.  Mark signed with Cleveland as a UDFA and also appeared with Buffalo and New Orleans over his eight-year career, during which he compiled 146 receptions and 12 TDs--not bad for a guy that went undrafted!

Campbell is one of two players in this post who appeared in the 1999 Score Supplemental set, which was purple for some reason but looks great otherwise.  I still need to track down his two other RCs from Fleer Focus and Leaf Rookies & Stars.
Chris Floyd (1998):  Absolute Hobby, Absolute Retail, Collector's Edge First Place, Playoff Prestige Retail

FB Chris Floyd has been mentioned here a couple times before as I have a couple of his autographs by way of the fantastic TK Legacy product (see this post for more on him).  Because he was drafted in 1998 he appears in a few of the same products as other guys in this post such as Brian Griese and Charles Woodson, including each set shown here.  I'm glad that I'm able to show off both the hobby and retail versions of '98 Absolute since it's crazy how different they are when you consider exclusive versions don't vary quite so much these days.  I'll go with the Prestige card as my favorite here--big surprise, I'm sure!  These four comprise my entire Floyd RC collection, so I'm five short of his run for now.
Brian Griese (1998):  Absolute Retail, Aurora, Black Diamond Rookies, Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Collector's Edge Masters (#4120/5000), Collector's Edge Odyssey, Crown Royale, E-X2001, Pacific, Pacific Omega, Skybox Premium, Topps Chrome, Topps Gold Label Class 1, Topps Season Opener, Topps Stars (#7097/8799). UD3, Ultra

Like Floyd, Griese went in 1998's third round (one pick before the Steelers selected Hines Ward, as it turns out), but since he was the QB of the team that won it all the previous year he appeared on a few more RCs--39 by my count.  Not bad for a former walk-on and third-round pick!  Here's a crazy 18(!) of those, giving me a new count of 28 for the quality journeyman NFL signal-caller.  There's a ton to like here, from the lone Michigan uni card (Omega) to some really nice looking stuff, especially Gold Label and Ultra.  Thanks to the multitude of manufacturers from that era there's simply a ton of variety to enjoy!
Steve Hutchinson (2001):  Upper Deck Vintage (with Ken Lucas and Orlando Huff)
Future HOF OG Steve Hutchinson probably got about as much hobby love as an O-lineman could, all of it more than deserved.  I actually hadn't realized that Seattle chose him with a first-round pick sent to them along with solid QB Matt Hasselbeck by Green Bay that year; sure seems like that deal worked out for the Seahawks!

Hutch actually appears on five RCs--again, not bad for an OL.  Here he shares a first-year card with fellow 2001 draftees Ken Lucas (2nd round) and Orlando Huff (4th), but despite the third billing he easily had the best career of the trio.  Fortunately he gets to fly solo on his other cards.
Marcus Knight (2000):  Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Metal, Pacific, Skybox Dominion, Ultimate Victory (#0895/2000)

Knight's RCs hail from 2000, the same year as Tom Brady's, but the latter isn't in today's posts because his cards mostly cost more than boxes of Topps' latest execrable "high-end" products.  The undrafted WR (whom I didn't realize was coaching up at Northern Michigan) appears on 15 first-years, and I've got six to show off here.  The Michigan uni cards aren't the 100% versions I love, with the Pacific card having just his winged helmet (those still count!) and the Dominion card enjoying some airbrushing, but they're still great.  Meanwhile the Bowman cards feature a great photo, and the Ultimate Victory card makes me sad because I'll have to sell my first-born for enough money to buy Brady's rookie from the set!
Aaron Shea (2000):  Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Finest (#1712/2400), Upper Deck Encore

Yes, Mr. Substitute Teacher, A-A-Ron is present!  Like Knight and Brady, Shea's RCs came out in the year 2000 (two youtube clips in two sentences?!), so there's a small overlap between Shea's cards and Knight's today in the form of the Bowman/Chrome duo.  The Finest card and its crazy background is my favorite, and the numbering portends the explosion of that trend in the years to come.  Shea has a healthy 15 rookies to pick up, and for now, these four are it as far as my collection goes, with lots of numbered stuff remaining.
Tai Streets (1999):  Collector's Edge Advantage, Pacific, ParamountPlayoff Prestige SSD

Streets was one of the stars of the '98 Rose Bowl thanks to his 127 receiving yards and pair of TDs, then he went off in 1998 with 11 more scores, good enough to get drafted by the 49ers.  He only got nine RCs, though, which was possibly a function of being a 6th-rounder.  This bunch represents four of my five Streets RCs, and to my great satisfaction all are Michigan uni cards with zero airbrushing, and each looks great, especially the Paramount card, a set that features a design I've always admired.
Anthony Thomas (2001):  Bowman, E-X (#0871/1250), Fleer Tradition Glossy (#0550/2001), Leaf Rookies and Stars, Pacific, Quantum Leaf

And now we hop aboard the A-Train.  Despite being a freshman RB, Thomas was a key contributor in 1997 before putting up double-digit scores his final three seasons.  Thanks to his eye-popping numbers and second-round pedigree he appeared on 50 (yes 50!) RCs in 2001, second only to his forever linked counterpart David Terrell as the only two Wolverines to garner that many to-date.  Adding this sextet to what I already had puts me at a paltry nine, so I have lots to go, but at least three of today's cards feature Michigan unis, with the Fleer card looking great minus the airbrushed helmet.  Quantum Leaf gets the "Super Shiny" award while Rookies & Stars wins best photo for the "multi-sport athlete" theme.

Jerame Tuman (1999):  Fleer Focus (#2288/3850), Fleer Tradition, Leaf Rookies and Stars, Score Supplemental, Ultra

Tuman was a pretty good TE for the Wolverines that contributed to the NCAA champs during his junior year, then got drafted by the Steelers in '99; he'd return to the area for Super Bowl XL in 2006 to win a Super Bowl ring to go with the one he earned in college.  These five cards give me six of his manageable eight, and two of those feature excellent college shots, with Ultra the clear winner (as it often is when college photos are involved).  Pacific Revolution and Skybox Dominion cards loom before I can cross another player off the list.
Charles Woodson (1998):  Absolute Hobby, Absolute Retail, Collector's Edge Advantage, Collector's Edge First Place, Crown Royale, E-X2001, Fleer Brilliants, Playoff Momentum Hobby

Woodson is pretty much the reason we're here today--last year I began to make a conscious effort to collect all of his rookies, and that eventually led me to being the project to do so for all Michigan players.  That probably explains why, despite the fact he has 43 RCs to chase, some of them fairly rare and/or pricey, I'm now up to a very respectable 36.  I don't think any of the eight I'm showing off today set me back more than $2 or $3 at the most, and a few were even closer to a buck.  Chuck's another example of the '98 Absolute Hobby/Retail disparity, and he gives us a look at a few other brands as well.  Hopefully I'll have the remaining seven to show off before long!

That's it for today's bunch, so stay tuned for whatever theme I do or don't come up with for next time.

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