Monday, February 1, 2016

Rookie Blue-out part 4: TEs, FBs, and a punter!

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.

So it looks like themes won't be a problem for me going forward--the remaining cards are split pretty nicely into positional groups (I did pad today's total a bit by adding in a couple FBs and a punter to balance out the numbers a bit).

John U. Bacon's fantastic book Endzone quotes a great discussion between legendary Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler and future coach Jim Harbaugh, who'd accepted his first head coaching position with San Diego:

"Soon after Harbaugh took the USD job, he got a call from Schembechler, who asked only two questions:  'Are you gonna have a tight end?'  'Yes,' Harbaugh said.  'Are you gonna have a fullback?'  'Yes.'  'Fine.  You'll do great!'"

From Bo's era to Harbaugh's, Michigan has sent a nice number of players from both positions to the pros.  You've already seen some of them in this series, and today I have a bunch more for you:
B.J. Askew (2003):  Bowman, Finest, Fleer Authentix (#1022/1250), Fleer Mystique (#335/699), Fleer Tradition (with Quentin Griffin and Artose Pinner), Leaf Rookies and Stars, Playoff Honors (#428/550), SPx (#0642/1500), Topps, Topps Chrome, Topps Total, Upper Deck, Upper Deck Pros and Prospects (with Bennie Joppru) (#1188/1800)

My scans of Askew may be a bit askew but my pursuit of his rookies has been anything but.  Today's thirteen, four of which are numbered, give me almost half of his 27 first-years.  I'll call Fleer's Authentix card the most original while giving Upper Deck the best design.  You'll see the Pros & Prospects card again in a minute as it includes a second player in this very post.
Don Bracken (1988):  Topps

Yeah, I had to put the punter somewhere.  Don played for the Wolverines in the early 80s and apparently still holds a record for the longest punt in a Rose Bowl at 73 yards.  After going undrafted--a common fate for a punter, really--he signed with Green Bay, for whom he appeared in 1985-90, followed by a pair of seasons with the (LA) Rams.  Sadly, he passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with MRSA, a scary infection that makes its way into the news from time to time.

Here he is on his lone RC, which is one of two career card appearances ('93 Pacific), and of course he had to wait until '88.  Speaking of that year, has anyone noticed that Topps' football designs absolutely murder the baseball ones from the same years in the late 80s?
Jarrod Bunch (1991):  Action Packed Rookie Update, Bowman, Pacific, Pinnacle, Score, Upper Deck

Bunch was the first player whose cards I showed off in the first post of my original feature covering a big haul of Michigan RC purchases.  A few of his cards here list him as a RB but he was considered a FB in college, so here he is.  I love that four of these are college cards, even if Score went away from convention with the airbrushing and painted Jarrod's helmet all maize.  Pacific's early 90s designs were butt-ugly, but once again Upper Deck came through with a great looking card.  By the way, these were the final six I needed to complete Bunch's 10-RC run.
Bennie Joppru (2003):  Bowman, Donruss Elite (#031/500), Finest, Fleer Mystique (#058/699), Fleer Tradition (with Domanick Davis and Dave Ragone), Score, SP Authentic (#1075/1200), SPx (#0877/1500), Topps, Topps Draft Picks and Prospects, Topps Total, Upper Deck, Upper Deck MVPUpper Deck Pros and Prospects (with B.J. Askew) (#1188/1800)

Joppru and his amazing sideburns clock in at an excellent 14 cards today, five of which are numbered and five of which are Michigan uni cards (with two including Senior Bowl jerseys).  Ordinarily I might declare something like the Elite issue as my favorite, but the easy win goes to one of my favorite all-time Topps Draft designs.  Interestingly enough the Pros & Prospects card that pairs up Joppru and Askew is the only dual-Wolverine RC I've seen, and it counts for both guys.
Eric Kattus (1989):  Pro Set

Kattus is "new" to this blog because the last time I showed off a card of him, a TK Legacy auto, it was in a TMV post that's so old the image links are broken.  Here's what I said about Kattus:  "I have to admit I knew nothing about Kattus, a TE from '82-'85 (which means he started before I was born), so I found out through Wikipedia that he was a senior captain, drafted by the Bengals and also played for the Jets briefly.  With Brady Hoke back we may see Michigan tight ends in the NFL once more."  Little did I know that we might hardly see any draft picks under Hoke.  This is Eric's lone RC.

Kevin Koger (2012):  SP AuthenticSPx (#493/750)

Koger is the type of TE that I think could have been a beast in Jim Harbaugh's offense and maybe even an NFL draft pick.  He was a grad assistant at Michigan for a couple years and is now in the same role at Tennessee, so I hope he continues to further his coaching career!  Here's a pair of cards to remind him of his playing days, both of which are from UD since they tend to be the best at covering the college guys.  I consider these a toss-up as they're both great in their own right as the sum total of Koger's first-years.
Jim Mandich (1975):  Topps

College Football Hall-of-Fame TE Jim Mandich played one of Bo's favorite positions on his very first Michigan team.  I talked about him a bit more in this post after picking up a TK Legacy signature of Mandich.  This classic '75 card is his only first-year, naturally, and also fits in nicely in my vintage collection.
Doug Marsh (1981):  Topps

I'll admit to being ignorant of Marsh's career before writing this post (one reason this project is so great!), but found out a bit more on him after some research.  Marsh appeared in 35 college games, collecting 57 receptions and 10 TDs.  The St. Louis Cardinals took him 33rd overall in '81 and he went on to appear in 92 games over seven seasons with the Cards, compiling 167 catches and 19 scores.  Here he is catching a breather on the bench in his lone rookie from '81 Topps.
Tony McGee (1993):  Action Packed, Bowman, Gameday, Pro Line Live, Pro Set, Skybox Impact, Skybox Premium, SP, Stadium Club, Ultra

McGee is a somewhat more recent tight end, even if he last played more than a decade ago.  He played sparingly in 1991 and '92 before turning a 38 catch/six TD season into a second-round (#37 overall) selection by the Bengals, with whom he spent the bulk of his career (nine season).  After stints with Dallas and the Giants he finished his career with 322 catches and 21 scores.

His selection in the second round caught the attention of card companies enough that he appeared on the 10 RCs you see above, in a huge mix of styles.  From the low-end (Pro Line) to high (SP), from premium (Stadium Club and Ultra) to oddball (the oddly-sized Gameday), there's a ton of variation here, including a trio of college unis!
Jay Riemersma (1997):  Crown Royale, Revolution, Ultra

Riemersma, who'll make another appearance in a soon-to-be-posted COMC recap, appeared on just three RCs in '97, but they were anything but boring.  First is a pair of Pacific entries, with the classy Crown Royale and the gaudy Revolution.  Thankfully Fleer brings things back to normal with one of my favorite Ultra designs (which looks just like the baseball version).  Like the original Star Trek movies and Windows releases, every other one is pretty good!

Paul Seal (1976):  Topps

Seal is a native Detroiter who was with Michigan from '71-'73 and scored six TDs (three each in his final two seasons) out of 33 receptions.  Like a few other guys in this post he was chosen in the second round, in this case by the Saints in '74 (and yet he had to wait two years for his RC!).  His NFL career saw him split six seasons down the middle with New Orleans and San Francisco, and he scored seven times on 106 catches in 85 games.  His '76 Topps rookie is his only regular issue card, but he does have a TK Legacy auto for me to chase down.
Paul Seymour (1974):  Topps

I mentioned Seymour in this 2014 post covering more TK Legacy pickups, and in that post I mentioned that he was actually a college tackle that converted to TE.  Looking at him in that photo compared to players today makes me wonder if he'd even be big enough to play DB much less anywhere on a line.  His '74 Topps rookie includes an image featuring a classic hand-in-the-dirt pose and is the third and final vintage (70s and earlier) entry from today's post.
Derrick Walker (1991):  Upper Deck

I only have one rookie of Walker to show off today, but that's because I already had his other two first-years (Fleer, Pro Set).  While I think the Pro Set is the best looking of the bunch due to its fantastic photo, the '91 UD design is still top-notch, especially compared to the horror show that was '91 Fleer!

That's all for today's post, but stay tuned for other non-rookie stuff coming up soon!

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