Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rookie Blue-out part 7: WolveRines

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.

Ok.  Three posts left in this series, time to finish these up.  I can do it!  Today's post features what I believe is the largest bunch of cards I'll be showing off at a time in the Rookie Blue-out feature, and everyone seen below was a WR for Michigan:
Derrick Alexander (1994):  Action Packed, Collector's Choice, GameDay, Pinnacle, Playoff, Playoff Contenders, Pro Line Live, Score, Select, Skybox Impact, Skybox Premium, SP, Sportflics, Ultra, Upper Deck

Here you see all 15 of former #1 Derrick Alexander's first-years.  A healthy eight of those feature some level of Michigan uniform-ness, and despite the airbrushing I'm going with the Sportflics card as my favorite; I'm pretty happy with how that one scanned as well.  A close second is the high end SP entry, definitely the best of the pro uniform cards.
Jason Avant (2006):  Bowman Chrome, Donruss Classics (#0918/1499), Finest, Playoff NFL Playoffs, Playoff Prestige, Score, Sweet Spot (#218/699), Topps Chrome, Topps Draft Picks and Prospects, Topps Heritage, Topps Total, Ultra, Upper Deck

I was fortunate to add a lucky 13 Avants to my collection of his rookies.  The journeyman receiver has 22 cards for me to chase, and these put me up to 17, with a couple more on the way.  Topps' design in 2006 Draft isn't one of my favorites, but there's a couple other nice college options thanks to Prestige, and my ultimate favorite here, Ultra.  The full-bleed design and a great college photo make that one a winner.  I believe it was taken during Michigan's home loss to Minnesota in 2005--former Gophers coach Glen Mason looks to be the coach with the headset on to Avant's right.
Ronald Bellamy (2003):  Bowman, SPx (#0347/1500), Topps Chrome, Topps Draft Picks and Prospects, Topps Total, Upper Deck

Bellamy may have inspired the long-defunct blog "Ronald Bellamy's Underachieving All-Stars" but I haven't underachieved in collecting his RCs by any means--these six give me a total of seven out of his eight (and I might just be showing off that final card before you know it!).  While the East/West Game photo on Upper Deck's card was a nice touch, one of my favorite Topps Draft designs laps the field easily here.  And that SPx design has always been one of UD's stranger entries.
Steve Breaston (2007):  Donruss Gridiron Gear (#572/599), Donruss Threads (#315/999), Finest, Leaf Rookies and Stars (#446/999), Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity (#022/999), Playoff Prestige, SPx (#631/899), Topps Co-Signers (#2239/2249), Topps TX Exclusive (#0248/599), Upper Deck, Upper Deck First Edition

Multi-talented WR/return man Steve Breaston has some 26 rookies for me to track down, but these 11 go a long way towards that number, giving me 16 total.  Seven are serial-numbered, meaning they carried a bit of a price premium, but nothing here killed my wallet, fortunately.  Of the college cards, SPx went with another somewhat strange design, and Prestige has my favorite overall look (they really did a nice job between 2005 and 2008), but come on, that 2007 Rose Bowl photo on the Upper Deck First Edition card never had anything to fear (despite the game being forgettable for Michigan fans). 
Jack Clancy (1968):  Topps

Clancy was another of those multi-positional guys from a different era of college football (the 60s), and played a bit of QB and RB with the team before settling in as an "end" (which I'm assuming equates to TE) and "flanker," which we'll just call receiver.  He put up some big numbers for his time, including numerous school records, and an All-American '66 campaign, oddly after the Cardinals chose him with the 5th round of that year's draft.  Miami also selected him that year, in the third round, and he'd play out the '67 and '69 seasons with the Dolphins, then finish his career in 1970 with Green Bay after injuries took their toll.  I'll admit previously being ignorant of Clancy as such a prolific receiver before getting this card, so history lesson achieved!
Glenn Doughty (1974):  Topps

Doughty is another guy I didn't really know anything about until landing this '74 Topps card; for example, his nickname was apparently "Shake & Bake."  I like this guy already.  He's listed as a WR here, but in college he was actually more of a receiving RB, with more than 300 career rushing attempts and 41 receptions during his 1969-71 run in Ann Arbor.  Those numbers largely flipped after Baltimore took him in the second round of 1972, and from then until his career ended after the '79 season, he put up more than 200 catches to go with 24 TDs.
Braylon Edwards (2005):  Bazooka, Bowman, Donruss Gridiron Gear (#054/399), Playoff Prestige, Score, Topps Chrome, Topps Heritage, Topps Turkey Red, UD Mini Jersey Collection, Upper Deck, Upper Deck Kickoff

Getting back to some more modern players, here's 11 new rookies of Bray-Bray, another guy that wore the #1 on a maize & blue jersey.  I'm a bit surprised that you only see one serial-numbered card here, and unfortunately only one college uni card, which is naturally my favorite, though I've often said that I love those mid-to-late Prestige designs.  Thanks to these cards I'm now over halfway to Edwards' 23 RCs with 13, and I'll soon have one more to show off.
Devin Funchess (2015):  Bowman, Panini Prizm Draft Picks

Football cards are apparently bizarro baseball cards:  here, Topps is forced to airbrush (a college uni, but still) while the Panini brand pops with all the logos and colors money can buy.  It's just as well since the Bowman design is as lackluster as the image while the Prizm design is appealing.  Either way, they're both college cards, so that's a plus.  I now own five of Funch's 24 RCs, though that number could possibly still grow with sets I haven't added to the checklist yet.
Junior Hemingway (2012):  SPx (#238/750)

He's no Griffey--notice he's not wearing #24 either--but this Junior did his jersey number, along with the Desmond Howard Legends Patch, proud over the course of his college career.  This is the third and final card I needed to complete Hemingway's first-year collection, and all three are UD brands featuring college shots, though he went on to some solid NFL playing time with KC.
Greg McMurtry (1990):  Action Packed Rookie Update, Fleer Update

With just four total cards to chase it was only a matter of time before I scored the other two I needed to finish up McMurtry's run.  I give Action Packed credit for thinking outside of the box, but those thick, embossed-type cards never did anything for me.  The Fleer design isn't a whole lot better, but it's solid.  They both pale in comparison to his Pro Set and Score (college uni!) cards anyway.

Bo Rather (1977):  Topps

Rather was with Michigan from 1970-72, and after a season as a DB he moved to WR where he stuck for his final two seasons.  His college stats were fairly pedestrian, but that can be chalked up to Bo Schembechler's run-heavy, conservative offenses, not lack of skill.  The Dolphins grabbed him in 1973's fourth round, and his Miami tenures (also part of '78) bookended 4.5 seasons with the Bears, with whom he's pictured on his '77 Topps RC, some four years after he debuted.  He went on to a solid if unspectacular pro career, scoring 7 TDs in his six seasons.
Jim Smith (1978):  Topps

I wrote a blurb about Smith, a two-time Super Bowl champ with his pictured Steelers, in this TK Legacy autograph roundup post.  The seven-year vet was good enough to appear on this rookie card for Topps just a year after his NFL debut, and he went on to post a reasonable 25 TDs in his seven-year career.
David Terrell (2001):  Fleer Premium (#0779/2001), Fleer Tradition Glossy (#0327/2001), Pacific Invincible, Upper Deck Vintage

David Terrell without Anthony Thomas?!  Yeah, sometimes it happens.  The former #1 appears on four cards today, and that gives me 17 of his--jeez, 53?!  Yeah, I've got a ways to go for Terrell and A-Train, with more than 100 rookies between them.  In a close race between the Fleer and Pacific cards, I give the Glossy card the slight not despite the airbrushing, but kudos to the latter for the cool translucent inset photo.
Amani Toomer (1996):  Absolute, Bowman's Best, Collector's Choice Update, Collector's Edge Advantage, Crown Royale, Fleer, Leaf, Playoff Illusions, Playoff Prime, Pro Line, Pro Line Intense, Skybox Impact, Skybox Impact Rookies, Skybox Premium, Stadium Club, Summit, Ultra Sensations

After peeping these seventeen Toomer rookies from 1996, you probably think I've finished his run, right?  Not so fast, my friend!  I now stand three short of the 22 I needed to track down; fortunately one of those three is on its way.  In terms of this bounty, without a clear-cut winner among the college cards I'll give the nod here to the die-cut decadence of Crown Royale.
Marquise Walker (2002):  Bowman, Fleer Authentix RC (#1069/1250), Fleer Focus JE RC (#0025/1850), 2002 Fleer Tradition RC (with Ron Johnson), Leaf Rookies and Stars, Pacific Adrenaline, Pacific Exclusive, Score, Topps, Topps Chrome, Topps Gallery

Last but certainly not least--he does have a crazy 48 rookies to collect--is former star WR Marquise Walker.  Although he never appeared in an NFL game, he made plenty of appearances on cardboard, and I can lay claim to 13 of those for now.  I think Walker represents the best variety of brands and designs of any player today, from the oddball ticket motif of Authentix to the understated Fleer Tradition and on up to the gaudy Pacific Exclusive.  I find myself debating between the artful Gallery issue and the Refractory Topps Chrome look, and for me Gallery's class wins by a nose because this maize & blue fan has nothing good to say about green!

Just two more posts to go, and maybe I'll even try to knock them out before I get back to everything else I've been teasing, we'll see!

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