All posts by Lee Bolton

Largent, Steve

Cards: Score 1989, Action Packed 1990.
Acquired: In Person 1993, CAC conference, Austin, Tx.
See Also: Steve Largent (2)

Josh and I got wind of a Christian Athletes for Christ conference at a hotel in Austin where Largent was the keynote speaker. We went into the hotel and cased the joint like professional paparazzi and then found a spot out of the way but near the event banquet that we could stake out. It was probably the most boring hour and a half we spent in our lives sitting out there, but once the doors kicked open to the hall and people started leaving, Josh and I bum rushed the entrance towards the podium. You could almost put a camera above us as we went into that room full of circular tables with us dodging around them and the people up to the front. I would swear that Largent looked at us both dumbfounded, but to our glee he autographed both of my cards and Josh’s as well. I realized that at this time after that happened, I had passed up Josh in my obsession with the hobby, as I was ecstatic to add such a player of prestige to my collection and he was just… okay.

Steve Largent was originally a 4th round choice of the Houston Oilers in 1976 who found himself traded to the expansion Seattle Seahawks for an 8th round draft choice.  Largent was neither the fastest or biggest receiver in the league but he made up for it with great hands and precision route running.  After retiring in 1989 Largent held many of the league records including career receptions, yards, touchdowns and consecutive games with a catch. A 7 time Pro-bowler, and member of the 1980’s decade team, Steve was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1995.  He then began his career in politics serving the State of Oklahoma and then moving onto Congress representing the 1st district.

Games  200        Rec  819          Yds  13,039         Avg  16.0              TD  100

Blake, Ricky

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1991, Proset World League 1991.
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1992.

Ricky Blake was an All-Pro WLAF Prospect when he made the jump from the San Antonio Riders to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL after he ranked third in the league with 554 yards. A bruising fullback with deceptive speed Blake was not drafted out of Alabama A&M. Instead he did some time in the CFL and then took a year off before being drafted by San Antonio.  (Ricky also wore one of the WLAF’s experimental helmet cameras against the London Monarchs that year.) Blake made the transition to the NFL shortly thereafter being signed by the Dallas Cowboys where I got his autograph that next year in 1992, signing with his Dallas #(46).  (It is commonly mistaken that he returned to the Riders in 1992 but Ivory Lee Brown had taken over for him in SA.) Ricky started out with a bang in ’91, then was injured after 2 games on a long run against Phoenix and never played again for the Cowboys, sustaining a hip pointer much like the one that ended Bo Jackson’s career.

Blake however would return to play for the Fort Worth Arena league team in 1994, notching 12 yards on 4 carries and one tackle that year.  Later then he was picked up by the Barcelona Dragons of the newly reconstituted NLFE in 1995, playing for one season, rushing for 398 yards on 98 carries before retiring.

WLAF Games  10     Att   120         Yds   554        Avg     4.6            TD  5
Rec 16      Yds 107       Avg 6.7      Lg 24      Td 1

Jeffires, Haywood

Cards: Score 1990, Fleer 1993 LL, Action Packed 1991 Braille, Skybox 1992-1993
Acquired: In Person 1991, 1992. TTM courtesy Houston Oilers 1993.
See Also: Jeffires, Haywood (2) , Jeffries, Haywood “Freakwood” (3)

Outside of Warren Moon, Jeffires was probably my favorite player as we both shared the same birthday. I got his autograph the first time at training camp in San Antonio in 1991 where he autographed my Score 1990. We exchanged pleasantries and it turned out that he knew somebody who was standing next to me and had to go. I got him again in 1992 and mailed off  an additional 2 cards in 1993,  with a drawing I had done for him from his Pacific 91 card.  Jeffires stood head and shoulders above the rest of the “Fab Four” and I felt on more than one occasion they should have been called “Jeffires and the Smurfs” playing with smallish receivers Drew Hill, Ernest Givins, Curtis Duncan, and Webster Slaughter.  An emotional receiver who tried to motivate his teammates, Jeffires had a penchant for making sideline catches and ran patterns extremely well. I remember the game against the Chiefs when Haywood caught this pass and rolled off the back of a DB then ran 87 yards for a touchdown. It was on that day when they went on the road and played a team that they lost to 30-0 a year earlier, and socked them solidly in the mouth. I knew the Oilers had turned a corner at that exact moment.

Haywood Jeffires or ‘Jeffries’ as it is pronounced, but incorrectly spelled, was the number one rated receiver off the board in the 1987 draft to the Oilers out of NC State at 6′ 2, 200 and is considered a by product of the Jim Everett Trade. It would take Haywood time to work his way into the lineup, but once given a fair chance to flourish in the Red Gun and Run and Shoot, he’d go on to notch 60 or more catches in 6 straight seasons, cracking the 1,000 yd mark in 90 and 91 and grab 100 catches in 1991 and 90 1992, which led the AFC in all 3 seasons. He was a  3 time Pro bowler and 2 time AP but his contributions are largely dismissed because people feel he played in a gimmick offense.  After diminishing statistics and playing time took their toll on his career, Jeffires would play one final season in 1995 for the New Orleans Saints.

Jeffires from what I’ve learned is now considered quite an elusive autograph to attain TTM. Unfortunately I only found this out after sending 4 more cards to him.  At last glance Jeffires is a consultant for the Bay Area Pearland Gamblers, a minor league team near Houston.

Games 123         Rec 535      Yds  6,334       Avg   11.8      TD 50     LG 87T