Wilson, Curtis

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 3/6/15   Received: 3/16/15  (10 days)

Curtis Wilson was a difficult player to track down- but with a bit of effort I was able to find him connecting a few dots. Wilson’s son plays football in Curtis’ footsteps. This gave me a tip leading me to a small town in Oklahoma. Cross referencing that information to Curtis’ data on his ProSet WLAF card cinched the deal. Curtis was the last player from the original ProSet WLAF 1991 set that I needed from the Sacramento Surge.

Curtis Wilson was originally drafted out of Missou by the New England Patriots in 1989. At Missouri, Curtis distinguished himself as a leader on the line when he was voted co-offensive captain as a Senior. His skillset, speed (4.95 40) and size (6’3″, 273) allowed him to play a variety of positions on the line. After being cut by New England shortly before the start of the ’89 season, he’d be selected in the 3rd round of the WLAF positional draft by the Sacramento Surge.

While the Surge had a difficult 1991 season finishing a dismal 2-8, Wilson was one of the up and coming stars of the offense. He’d help pave the way for Sacramento’s rushing attack from the Center position as both Paul Frazier and Victor Floyd averaged over 4 yards a carry in 1991.  He’d earn second team All-World Honors from the league.

Before the 1992 WLAF draft began, the Surge traded draft positions with the Ohio Glory to move up to the #1 overall spot. Sacramento traded the Glory Curtis in the exchange. The move represented the first trade in league history.  Unfortunately Curtis was injured during training camp and was lost for a good portion of the 1992 season.

Curtis included a nice note with his autographed card and wrote “God Bless You!”, on the back of his card next to his player profile picture.

Woodson, Darren (2)


C
ards: Topps Finest Hitmen 1996, Fleer 1995, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent: 6/16     Received: 6/27   (11 days)
Failure: 2015, C/o Home
See Also: Darren Woodson

I had gotten Darren Woodson just once at training camp way back at St Edwards in 1992. It was the last year I’d enjoy going to training camps full time during the summer as school, girls, and work took more of priority after High School. Looking back, it was just perfect timing for me to go to camp during those years in the early 90s, as not only was I in that transitional point moving into being a young adult, but also the Cowboys were building their dynasty, multiple great cards were appearing on the market, and players were still relatively eager to sign for free.

I always wanted to get Darren’s GameDay 1992 entry signed. The one I had made it back to camp the following years, but it never made it into his hands. It’s a great rookie card technically- one of the first to picture him in his Cowboys uniform.  The other two here, are really just filler from sets that I liked after the fact. Although I liked the gaudyness of the Topps Hitmen cards, I think the luster of Darren’s uniform is lost in all the gloss and metal sheen.  The Fleer 1995 was audacious as ProSet 1992 in its design, and as such it was just as disastrous in my mind. The chaotic design which varies per team, really can be a negative on the presentation on the card itself. This one for example breaks multiple design rules. The most annoying among them being Darren’s position listed quarter circling the star. I don’t know what is up with the fingerprint effect either. (It also didn’t help that the Cowboys joined in the ugly trend during the mid-90s of plastering the team logo on the shoulder of the uniform.) Still for many of the rest of the teams in this set outside of the Cowboys and a few outliers, the design is clever and daring with the player information displayed on the front.

I had failed previously to get Darren’s autograph back in 2015. I fired out another attempt in 2016 when he started popping up on the scene around Dallas events. I was really surprised to see this back in 11 days flat.

Pruitt, Greg

Card: Topps 1978
Acquired: 2016, Future Considerations

An elusive and explosive back out of the backfield at the University of Oklahoma, Greg Pruitt finished 3rd in Heisman voting in 1971 and 2nd in 1972. The All-American rushed for 3,122 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Sooners over his time there.  Measuring up at 5’10”, 190 Pruitt was lucky not to take a pounding, because defenders rarely got squared up on him.

The Cleveland Browns were intrigued by the diminutive back,  and selected Greg with their second round pick of the 1973 draft slotting him behind their future HOF runningback Leroy Kelly. Pruitt was as advertised and immediately added an extra charge to the Browns offense primarily as a kick returner and punt returner. In 4 of his first 5 seasons, Greg earned Pro Bowl honors. It’d be in 1975 that he’d really hit his stride as a runningback, cranking out 3 straight 1,000+ yard seasons in a row as well as demonstrating a knack as a reliable receiving option out of the backfield.  In 1974 and 1975, Pruitt had nearly 1,800 all purpose yards, and achieved at least 1,100 all purpose yards 6 times over 12 seasons.  He’d enjoy career highs at receptions in 1980 (50) and then 1981 (65), before taking his show to Oakland to join the Raiders as their return man. In 1983 he’d lead the NFL in punt returns, putting together a whopping 58 returns for 666 yards and a 97 yard TD, earning his final pro bowl berth. The 58 returns and 97 yard TD were second in NFL history, while the 666 yards was an NFL record (all since surpassed).  He’d win a Superbowl XVIII ring and retire after the 1984 season.

Greg Pruitt had some amazing highlight film of him running through defenders hands as they literally tore his jerseys off his pads. The problem was he intentionally wore those tear away jerseys so he could shake off those pesky tacklers.  In response the NFL enacted the ‘Greg Pruitt Rule’ preventing any player from wearing tear away jerseys in 1979.

Greg was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Cleveland Browns Legends Class of 2001.  Many of his records still stand tall on the Browns records lists, both single season and career. He currently lives in the Cleveland area where he owns a construction company.

DeadHorse went to a nearby signing to him in Ohio and came up with a few signatures for me from old Browns runningback greats Earnest Byner, Kevin Mack, and Greg Pruitt.  Thankfully DeadHorse was paying attention as I got Greg and Mike Pruitt confused. He switched out my Mike Pruitt card and came through with a nice autograph for the collection.

G/GS  158/82     RUSH   1196    YDS  5672    AVG 4.7    TD 27   LG 78t
REC 328     YDS 3069    AVG 9.4    TD 18    LG 60t
KR  106    YDS 2514   AVG 23.7    TD 1    LG 88t
PR  194    YDS 2007  AVG 10.3    TD 1   LG 97t

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.