Category Archives: College Football HoF

Ware, Andre (3)

Card: Fleer 1990, Action Packed 1991, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 3/17 Received: 4/5 (18 days)
See Also: Andre Ware, Air Ware

Andre sure got in a lot of great cards in his short amount of time on the starting stage in the NFL. Even after this third stab at a few more autographs, there are a few more cards I could probably nab him on.

I loved Action Packed and GameDay’s sets. Action Packed 1991 was a pretty well designed set, with that simple swoosh that goes through the left side of the image- it maximized the canvas area to focus on the player image. I also really liked the flat helmet image at the end. It’s a really underrated set, and despite the slight smudging is great to get autographed. Most of the images are indeed- action packed. This Gameday image is really nice, however one of the set’s design flaws comes forward a bit when the silver blends against the gray, the image looks a bit more flat. The Fleer 90 card was one of 4 (technically) that had a college photo of Andre in it. (The others being Topps, ProSet, and Score.) We always laughed at the fact that Fleer didn’t find a shot of Andre actually throwing the ball- but instead chose to get a shot of him pitching the ball out. All of these cards were distant set needs for me in my never ending autograph quest.

About the time that Coronavirus broke loose and some stay at home notices were put into place, Andre started signing his TTM mail after a 5-6 year absence from the game. He was initially playing catchup and then started signing some newer requests. I always liked Andre, and I hadn’t TTMed him since 2012, I decided he was ripe for the picking.

As of 2020, Ware remains the steady voice as the color commentator for the Houston Texans game day radio show.

Williams, Reggie (LB)

Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990, Action Packed Whizzer White Award 1991, ProSet 1991 WLAF Inserts
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 10/5 Received: 10/17 (12 days)

Reggie Williams played college football at Dartmouth, and was a 3 time All-Ivy League selection from 1973-1975. Reggie was so dominant that he caught the attention of pro scouts, parlaying his efforts to become a 3rd round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.

Over the next 14 seasons, Reggie went on to become one of the Bengals best draft picks. He played in an unheard of 206 games (one short of Ken Riley for the franchise record), and virtually owned the entire Bengals record books at linebacker for every statistical category including: career tackles, sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. He also earned the Whizzer White Award in 1985, the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1986, and SI’s Sportsperson of the Year in 1987.

Reggie made waves next as he went on to work in the front office of the World League of American Football‘s New York-New Jersey Knights franchise in 1991, becoming one of the first African American General Managers in any pro capacity.

He’s been at the frontlines of visionary ideas leading sport and NFL initiatives and then working with Disney overseeing their recreational and sports divisions since then. In the final years of his time with the Bengals he also served as a city councilman, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Still despite all this, and being virtually an icon with Cincinnati, Reggie has been largely unheralded by his former franchise. A true warrior, he’s had over 25 knee surgeries since his career concluded, and it has taken its toll on his leg. He’s written a book about his life, ‘Resilient by Nature’, where he gives a great wealth of insight into his life, and shares his dedication and willingness to overcome whatever obstacles he faces.

I had wanted to get Reggie’s autograph for sometime. He is the epitome of who I like to get an autograph from and for whom I like to write about. He has had an interesting journey both in and out of the sport- and I feel that he is someone who doesn’t get enough accolades for all he’s done. I wrote him an email through Facebook and he was kind enough to respond to me. We talked briefly about his foray into the World League- where he told me, “He loved the travel.” I sent him some old photos of magazine clippings from Gametime magazines as well that he enjoyed very much. He was doing a book signing in the area, so I sent him a stack of extra cards for his personal collection and to hand out to fans. A man of his word, Reggie signed these cards in no time flat for me.

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McElhenny, Hugh ‘The King’

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home*
Sent: 10/28 Received: 11/7 (10 days)
* Fee of $10.00 included

One of the forgotten greats of the game, Hugh McElhenny scored a TD the first time he carried the ball after joining the 49ers in 1952, as the franchise’s #1 draft pick. He’d go on to become a member of the ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ for the franchise, and after 10 seasons in the league, had already cemented himself in NFL lore as one of the top 5 NFL rushers of all-time. An explosive halfback, McElhenny was feared not only as a rusher, but as a pass receiver and kick returner as well. In his rookie year, he’d average an incredible 7.0 yards a pop on 98 carries, carried by a career long 89 yard romp for a TD. Moonlighting as a punt returner, he also cashed in on a 94 yard return for a TD. At the time there was no Rookie of the Year Honors in the NFL, however he was recognized by his peers as the best overall rookie in the league. His best year came in 1956, when he carried the ball 185 times for 916 yards and 8 TDs- recording 1,109 yards from scrimmage.

In 1961, Hugh joined the Minnesota Vikings as an expansion selection. He’d spend two seasons there, but not before recording his final Pro Bowl effort in 1961. Age and injury began to take their toll on Hugh after that, and while he didn’t see time as a full-time starter, he’d play for the Vikings in 1962, Packers/Giants in 1963 and Lions in 1964 before retiring.

Hugh was a prolific runner in college. Transferring from Compton JC to Washington- he’d rush for over 1,000 yards in 1950, and set school marks with 296 yards rushing in a single game. He’d earn All-America Honors at fullback, but saw action on special teams as a kicker, punt returner and kick returner. Over 3 years for the Huskies, McElhenny logged 2,499 yards rushing, 122 yards passing and 2,621 yards total offense.

McElhenny after retirement, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970, the College Football Hall of Fame, and had his number retired by the San Fransisco 49ers and is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. In addition, he was a 6 time pro bowler, 5 time First team All Pro, and was named a member of the 1950’s All Decade Team. McElhenny dabbled in broadcasting working for the ‘9ers working preseason games for a few years there and was involved with a push to get an expansion team awarded to Seattle.

Hugh is a diamond in the rough frequently overlooked by fans for his autograph because he played in a bygone era when teams played 12-14 game seasons. This reflects on his statistics, and while not gaudy by current standards, they were nonetheless impressive based on their time and era. He currently remains easily obtainable TTM and signs for a very modest fee.

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