Category Archives: University of Texas

Bradley, Bill “Super Bill”

Card: Topps 1972, Upper Deck UT 2011
Acquired: In Person, 11/9/11 Card Traders of Austin UD 2011 UT Football Card Launch Party

A tried and true athlete that found his position of calling while at the University of Texas, “Super Bill” as he was dubbed (for having ambidextrous passing skills) came in originally as a quarterback to the vaunted school in 1965. Unable to crack the lineup there or at wide receiver, he found his true calling at defensive back for the Longhorns. He’d go on to become perhaps one of the best secondary personnel in the history of the school and make an SWC record 4 picks in one game.

Super Bill was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 3rd  round of the 1969 draft. The rest is history. The multi-purpose Bradley was inserted into the lineup at free safety, but along the way would play as a kick returner, punt returner, and punter for the Eagles who truly got their money’s worth out of Bradley.  Unfortunately these were also some of the leanest years of the Eagles’ storied franchise.  His 1970 and 1971 seasons stand among the best in NFL history, recording 11 picks in 1970 for 248 yards and making 2 FR leading the NFL, and then following it up in 1971 with 9 picks for 73 yards to lead the NFL again in interceptions. (No other player in history has lead the league twice in picks.) In 1973 he’d add 4 picks to the total but teams would begin to look the other way in fear of Bradley’s ball-hawking skills. For the 3 seasons, he’d be awarded AP or Pro Bowl honors. He’d again make 5 picks in 1975 before finishing out his career with Philadelphia the following year. Bill would sign with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977 playing one final season and retire. He is tied as the franchise’s all time leader in interceptions with 36.
He’s been active in coaching working with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL, crossing paths with me briefly as a defensive backs coach of the San Antonio Riders, and along the way as well with the Bills, Chargers, and Jets (in no specific order).  He also served as defensive coordinator of the Baylor Bears for 2004-2006.  As of late, Super Bill has also worked in the UFL with the Florida Tuskers and the Hartford Colonials as a secondary coach and is a member of the ‘suspended operations staff’ in Hartford.  Bradley has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and also into the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll.

I had been following Sports Cards Traders of Austin for a few weeks and it really paid off. When they posted up that Bradley was going to be appearing, I did not hesitate to call them and have the store pull a few cards of him from the racks. I grabbed a Topps 1972, and then heard that he would be in the UT set. After breaking open a few packs, I was happy to find Bradley inside one of them. I gave an extra to him which made him really happy since it was the first time he saw it. The photo that they used was from his Freshman year at UT. He knew it because he was wearing a helicopter pilot’s helmet and apparently they had run out of ones for their players. We also talked about the Riders, and he told me that Coach Riley owns a house down the street from him. Bradley also loved talking about the hail storm game with me against the Ohio Glory back in 1992. It was a great interaction with a great player who was willing to personalize my cards. Here is Super Bill’s statistics:

G 114      Tac  N/a      Sac  N/a     Fum  7    Int   34    Yds  536   Avg 15.8      Td  1    Lg 56t
KR 27      Yds 564       Avg 20.9         Td 0    Lg 42
PR 122    Yds 953       Avg 7.8         Td 0       Lg 60
P  213      Yds 8316     Avg  39.0     Lg 61


Walker, Johnny (WR)











Card: Upper Deck UT 2011, photo memorabilia
Acquired: In Person 11/9/2011, UD UT 2011 Release Party

Johnny Walker was a beast of a receiver in the dying days of the SWC playing for David McWilliams at the University of Texas. He’d team up with Oklahoma beater Peter Gardere, diminutive speedster Tony Jones, and Eric Metcalf to make high flying acrobatics. Some of my earliest memories of watching College Football on TV was when my friend Josh would come over and instead of watching cartoons, we watched Saturday football on the Raycom Sports Network. A UT All-SWC wide receiver in 1989 and 1990, Walker was also a standout baseball player and had been drafted by the Cubs in 1987 and the Braves in 1990.  After graduating from UT he’d be drafted in the 8th round of the 1991 draft by the Green Bay Packers, but would not make the team.  He currently works in sports radio out of San Antonio where he gives his no-holds barred perspective on the Longhorns and the national sports scene. He also handles Medicare work as well.

I really like this card. There are some players in the history of your favorite schools that just don’t get the national exposure after they graduate that you’d like them to. I went to the appearance with the idea in mind that Walker would not have a card, but to break open a box and find his in there along with legends like Bill Bradley and others, made it all the while for me to get the set. My only complaint was the high gloss that is insisted upon by companies like UD. When will they learn that many fans WANT to get these cards autographed and the gloss only makes it harder for the autograph to take. The backs of the cards are, -well underwhelming. Where are the stats and player information?

When I met Johnny I had an extra of his card that I immediately gave to him. He had not seen it yet so it made him very excited. There was never a card of Walker produced. I also had him sign a piece of photo memorabilia, to which he wrote across it “O Who? Johnny Walker #1 Hook em 28-24” which was the score of the infamous game they won in 1989 when Johnny caught the game winning touchdown (pictured) against the Sooners.


Babers, Rod “Kool Aid”


Cards: Upper Deck Finite 2003, Bowman 2003
Acquired: In Person, 11/9/11 Card Traders of Austin UD 2011 UT Football Card Launch Party
See also: Babers, Rod (2), Rod Babers “Black Caesar” (3)

Rod Babers is a legend for the University of Texas where he started 36 games, and returned 3 of his first 5 thefts for touchdowns. He earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors in 2002 and excelled in tight coverage. He’d finish his career at UT with 131 tackles, 4 sacks, 5 picks, 3 FF and 3 TDs, -and as a Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist.  At 5’9″, 190, Babers was undersized for the position, but made it onto the radar of NFL scouts with his career numbers and speed (4.3 40).

The New York Giants would draft him in the 4th round (123rd pick) of the 2003 draft, but he’d walk out of camp- distraught over the death of his grandfather. The Giants, unable to justify keeping him cut Roderick. He’d quickly sign with the Detroit Lions where he played the next two seasons suiting up for 7 games recording 5 tackles. In 2005, Rod was signed by the Bucs, and also played for the Broncos and Bears that season.  He’d move to Canada in 2006 to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, retiring after the season.

Babers quickly found a home working on 1300 “The Zone” in Austin, Texas as one of the crew of the Longhorn Station and you can frequently hear him on the airwaves cutting it up and talking about football and the cougars around Austin. Recently he had been doing multiple autograph appearances, so I put in an order on a few cards of his to see if I could add him to the collection, but a local card shop I had been frequenting recently had a promotion for a new set of Upper Deck Cards. Luckily I had ordered these cards a few days before from Burbank Sports Cards, and they delivered them in no time flat. (They may cost a little bit more, but BSC typically has the largest selection and variety and treat their internet customers with the same respect that they do their in person collectors.)  Overall these were pretty nice cards for the collection to get autographed. I did really hate the computer serial number coding that they used at the time to denote limited edition cards, but overall both of these cards hit their mark nicely.

Rod was impressed with my football knowledge and plugged me on the radio when he noticed that I was a Texans fan. Josh and I made lots of noise from time to time before they went out to commercial break to plug the event as though it was really happening. We all had a great laugh and Rod asked us to be sure to come out again and have a good time.