Former Montreal Expos infielder Brad Mills played in the Big Leagues for just 106 games over four seasons but has enjoyed a long coaching career since. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the most memorable thing to come from his playing career is this 1982 Fleer baseball card, capturing him in what was probably a common position. I don't know if you could consider Mills to have been an integral part of the Expos' improbably run to the 1981 NLCS, but thanks to him no gum went unchewed.
Since it’s the off-season I thought I’d start a fun project involving NFL history. So I’m going to go division by division and post galleries of football cards (when available) featuring all NFL players who have had their jersey numbers retired by their teams. This week it’s the four squads of the AFC West — the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. Previous galleries: AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, NFC North, AFC South, NFC South Denver Broncos (3) #7 -- John Elway #18 -- Frank Tripucka #44 -- Floyd Little Kansas City Chiefs (10) #3 -- Jan Stenerud #16 -- Len Dawson #18 -- Emmitt Thomas #28 -- Abner Haynes #33 -- Stone Johnson On August 30, 1963, rookie RB/KR Stone Johnson suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck duri
After a lengthy break, it's time for another retro football card designed by yours truly. I didn't intend for this series to be so quarterback-heavy, but I can't overlook the great performance turned in by rookie Colts QB Andrew Luck last weekend. Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, Luck passed for an NFL rookie record 433 yards. It was his fourth 300-yard-plus passing performance this season, only the second time a rookie QB has done that. The first? Peyton Manning. So yeah, I think #12 deserves this. This card is based on a 1989 Pro Set card for former Colts quarterback Chris Chandler. I picked '89 since Luck was born that year. I had some trouble finding the right typeface for the name, and ended up using Haettenschweiler. If anyone reading this can think of a better choice, le
Former NFL great and all-around media star Alex Karras died earlier this week from complications due to kidney failure. He had been in extremely poor health the last few years of his life. While most of my generation knows him best as Mongo in Blazing Saddles or George Papadapolis from Webster, Karras was first and foremost an outstanding defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. Karras racked up four Pro Bowl selections in his Detroit career (1958 - 1970) -- which was interrupted by a season-long suspension for gambling in 1963 -- and was later named to the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team at defensive tackle. As a small tribute to Karras, here is a gallery of football cards representing nearly each of his 12 NFL seasons. (more…)
Fredi González, Atlanta Braves -- González played for six years in the minors, and made it as far as the AA level. This is Fredi in 1983 as a member of the Greensboro Hornets, the New York Yankees AA affiliate in North Carolina. Ozzie Guillén, Miami Marlins -- Guillen enjoyed a long and productive Major League career, including 13 seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1985 - 1997). He was the American League Rookie of the Year for 1985, won a Gold Glove in 1990, and was a three-time All-Star. Terry Collins, New York Mets -- I wasn't able to find any cards from Collins' days as a minor league ballplayer, so here's a card from his early coaching days with the AAA Albuquerque Dukes. Collins managed a .255 batting average for his playing career, which never advanced to the Majo
Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles -- Buck never made it to the majors, but did play AAA ball briefly. This is a card from his time with the New Haven Yankees (AA), dated either 1978 or 1979. Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox -- No fake mustache needed here. This is Bobby as a member of the California Angels, from a Topps 1975 card. Valentine played for five big league squads during his ten-year career. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees -- While he won three World Series as a Yankee, Joe Girardi spent most of his career playing backstop for the Cubs. Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays -- Maddon spent just four seasons in the minors, and never played higher than A ball for affiliates of the Angels and Padres. I couldn't find any photos from that era, but there are some neat images o
(For all my retro cards, click here.) OK, now that we're through the farce that is the Pro Bowl, it's almost zero hour for the 2011 NFL season. So I thought it only proper to bust out a pair of Super Bowl-related retro cards. Up first is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, as grafted onto a 1956 Topps card. And for the AFC's New England Patriots it's Pro Bowl tight end Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski, on a 1984 Topps. Of the two, the Manning was the easier to produce. I used a '56 Charley Conerly card. Conerly was the QB of the Giants during the 1956 championship season, which is why I went with it. The stroke/halo effect is present on that '56 set so I reproduced it as close as I could. Like with the Drew Brees card, I had a hard time finding a good helmetless pic so I just w...
I had so much fun designing my retro Drew Brees card, I got started on my next one right away. So here's Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian "All Day" Peterson. I used a 1975 Chuck Foreman Topps card as the template. I used a headshot of Peterson as Topps still relied mainly on them in the mid-'70s. Astute fans will notice that the Vikings patch on the jersey chest is missing. I removed it to maintain consistency, as Topps did not have the right to use team logos throughout the 1970s. Logos returned starting with the 1982 set. All Day failed to reach 1,000 for the first time in his pro career, but that's only due to injures. He is poised to become the Vikings' all-time leading rusher within the first game or two of the 2012 NFL season, surpassing Robert Smith's 6,818 yards. For
My American Football League Program project has had me in an even more retro mood than normal. And as I wind down the bulk of the work (programs and media guides through the 1966 season are up now), I'm already looking for a new project. And so I struck upon the idea of retro football cards. So what's that mean, you ask? Simply put these are actual football cards from yesteryear, modified to show modern players. I haven't collected football cards for years, as it stopped being a fun hobby when I saw it turning into big business. But when I was into it, I amassed a pretty decent collection. I still have most of them, in fact, and treasure them more than any of the baseball cards I collected. So this project is a way for me to reconnect with the joy of collecting, as well as a way to k...