Aikman, Troy

Card: Proset 1989
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991

Troy Aikman was the #1 pick of the phenomenal 1989 NFL Draft. His career started badly enough, with a 0-11 record as a starter in his first season. He’d have to wait till 1990 for his first win as a starting quarterback. (Steve Walsh would also be drafted in 1989 to compete against Aikman, and won the team’s only game against the Washington Redskins that season.) The team slowly grew under Aikman’s stead where Dallas finally reached the playoffs in 1991, which would coincide with the beginning of  6 consecutive ProBowl appearances. He’d earn the 1992 NFL Super Bowl MVP, and in 1997 the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.  A good manager and custodian, who learned not to turn the ball over- Aikman was probably one of the last in a line of quarterbacks who were allowed time (3 seasons or more) to grow into their job. (One could wonder about David Carr, for example, if he could’ve ever turned the corner without the bright glare of the media, fantasy football or armchair Madden experts screaming on the internet about passing mechanics even though they never played themselves.)  Troy over a 12 year career only started a full season 3 times, (which in this day and age would get you labeled as ‘injury prone’) and finished with over 20 touchdowns, (23) once in his career. He’d also never throw for over 3,500 yards. Despite his purely average 81.6 quarterback rating, Aikman was a winner, with his 90 wins being the most during the 1990s among starting quarterbacks. He also was 11-4 in the playoffs. Injuries would eventually begin to take their toll on him as he had 10 career concussions. Waived after the 2000 season, and unable to find a team, he retired after brief flirtations with the Miami Dolphins.

Aikman since football has become quite a good commentator, broadcasting for FOX and is part of the network’s premier crew. In 2005 he was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, and into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He also was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2010 also started doing commercials for Rent-A-Center.

Troy Aikman was a difficult signature to acquire at training camp. I was only able to get him once, – the first day of the second training camp, and never got him again. (The artifact lines across the card are from the plastic sleeve and are not a representation of the condition of the card.) Like Emmitt Smith,  Troy wasn’t a widespread signer and this didn’t really endear him to me, considering I went to training camp solid for 4 seasons. I guess it was hit or miss. I met kids who got 4 or 5 cards signed, and he was kind enough to sign quite a few for the handicapped, but I guess he thought I was a seller since I was there all the time. Nonetheless one does suffice, and this card was probably my favorite of his. As of late it has come to my attention that Aikman is charging now for his autograph on cards and helmets with reports going anywhere from $100-200 through the mail.

Games 165  Att  4715   Comp  2898    Pct  61.5%    Yds  32942
Td 165  Int 141   Rat 81.6

Del Greco, Al

Cards: Topps Traded 1989, Upper Deck 1992
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1992, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.

The Oilers were searching for the replacement to Tony Zendejas whom they lost in Plan B to the Los Angeles Rams. Passing by established names such as Mike Lansford and Raul Allegre, the Oilers brought Teddy Garcia into camp. Unimpressed, the Oilers sent out an APB for a replacement, and found the feel good story of the year in Ian Howfield who won the job with an impressive preseason, but after 9 games it was obvious that he was not the answer, missing 4 extra points and quite a few field goals.  The Oilers called up Al Del Greco, who had lost the kicking job in Phoenix earlier that year. He had a decent enough resume and was the starting kicker for Green Bay (after Jan Stenerud) from 1984-1987 and Phoenix from 1987-1990. (He was also ironically replaced by another Zendejas in Green Bay.)

Del Greco would win the job outright in Houston, (and at that time I wasn’t really impressed,)  providing the Oilers with the consistency and clutch kicking that the team direly needed. He played for the Oilers the next 6 seasons, two for the Tennessee Oilers and then his final two seasons with the Titans- retiring after 2000 and 17 seasons. Del Greco currently stands at number 14 on the all time scoring list with 1592 points (as of 2010).

Al has since been inducted into the Alabama sports Hall of Fame. He briefly got into coaching and was a kicking coach in the AFL for the Birmingham Steeldogs as well, and does some radio and motivational speaking on the side. Del Greco is quite the golfer I hear, and was the winner of the CGA tournament that I went to way back in 1993.

G 248    XPA  543       XPM  551       FGA 449      FGM 347    PCT 77.3%

Waymer, Dave (1958-1993)

Card: Action Packed 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, Dallas Cowboys training camp

Dave Waymer was a dynamic defensive back who was drafted originally by the New Orleans Saints in the 2nd round out of  the 1980 Draft from Notre Dame. A Saints fan through and true, he’d go on to start 10 games in his rookie season recovering 2 fumbles. As Waymer’s career continued he’d become well known as a solid ball hawk on a defense that was more recognized for its linebacking corps nicknamed “The Dome Patrol”. Occasionally injuries would creep up on Waymer, but this did not stop him from creating a turnover for 12 straight seasons.  Waymer started his career at left cornerback, and then made the conversion to free safety in his final season with New Orleans in 1989. In Dave’s career in New Orleans he was able to force 37 interceptions and had 15 fumble recoveries. He’d depart via plan B to San Fransisco where he played for two additional seasons, splitting time at both strong safety and free safety and in 1992 signed with the Raiders where I got his autograph at training camp that season when the Raiders stopped in.  Waymer finished his career with 48 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries and one ProBowl under his belt in 1987.

Dave Waymer died of a cocaine overdose in 1993. I remember when I heard the news, I was genuinely shocked. He was the first autograph of a player I had who passed away. I even had his awkward looking Starting Lineup figurine that Kenner had released a few years earlier in his Saints uniform.  A truly nice guy, I think I was the only person who recognized him and wanted his autograph.

Gs/Gp  197/155       Tac  N/a     Sac   1      Fum 18
Int   48    Yds  536     Avg  11.1          Td    0       Lg   44

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