Bethel, Randy

Cards: Wild Card WLAF 1992, Ultimate WLAF 1991.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Sebastian River HS.
Sent: 4/28   Received:  5/10  (12 days)

Randy played for the Glory during the infamous ‘hail storm’ game, when the San Antonio Riders hosted the Ohio Glory.  The game got weather delayed because a freak monsoon hit right before halftime and players and fans had to hide out under the stadium and in the locker room for about 30 minutes because of the hail. I make no secret that I am an immense fan of the WLAF, spending hours surfing the web looking up former players at some points.  I was able to track down Randy and sent him out a letter and these two cards. He graciously signed them and attached a very kind and personal thank you. (Really, it is guys like Randy and Dan that make me happy that I have jump started this hobby again.)

The NFL has sadly swept the history of the World League under the carpet, and much of the it is in danger of slipping away. It is difficult to locate information on it, and there are a few tribute sites on the league but little video and photographic proof of WLAF other than Ebay. I think it is a shame that these players aren’t recognized better for their contributions to the NFL, and this is part of the reason that I collect these autographs. It’s the least I can do to let them know that they are remembered and appreciated for what they’ve done.

Randy played for The U (Miami, Fl) finishing his college career 3rd in team history in receptions, 1st in yards and touchdowns from his position of TE. Randy was a strong blocker with a nose for the end zone catching a 12 yd touchdown to seal the national championship in 1991 in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.  He was drafted in the 10th round by the New England Patriots and signed with the World League’s Ohio Glory in 1992. After the WLAF decided to reorganize, Bethel would go on to coaching, eventually being hired by Sebastian River HS where he has had a successful career and has become highly respected by the college recruiting community.

Games 10      Rec  11         Yards     113          Avg  10.3     Lg 25     TD   1

Smith, Emmitt

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991.

Emmitt Smith was not my favorite Cowboy, based primarily on his elusiveness on and off the field in attaining his autograph. Going to training camp for 3 to 4 seasons, I only was able to attain his signature one time. He rarely stopped to sign and signed just a few at a time and left. In my particular case, I learned a good lesson: Never use a black sharpie on a hot day. Smith autographed my friend Josh’s card, then began to sign mine. The marker dried out mid stroke, so he said, “Sorry, your pen ran out of ink. I gotta go,” and handed my card back to me and drove off in his golf cart. I was mad. Josh jeered me. I told him, “Give me your damn marker,” and ran off to acquire the autograph. I hid in a pack of bikini clad women down near the end, where he stopped to sign all 12 of their cards and finally I got his autograph with Josh’s blue sharpie.

The NFL’s leading rusher by default with 18355 yards, (because Barry Sanders quit in his prime) Emmitt Smith was a durable slasher back that could absorb hits.  He won three Super Bowls, was MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII, set numerous NFL rushing records, was an 8 time Pro Bowler and 4 time All Pro. He played 13 seasons for the Cowboys and two for the Cardinals. Post NFL life has found Smith winning TV’s “Dancing With the Stars”, dabbling around in real estate, and in 2010 he was elected to the Pro Football HOF on his first ballot. It is also rumored that he continues to be a difficult autograph to attain…

Games  226      Att   4,409     Yds   18,355           Avg    4.2        TD 162

Landry, Tom (1924-2000)

pset90 landryCard: Pro Set 1990 HOF
Acquired: In Person, San Antonio Riders Game 1992.

Tom Landry was a part owner of the San Antonio Riders back in 1992, and Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos did not have box seats, rather Landry and Larry Benson (the primary owner and brother of Tom Benson, Saints) had seats underneath the top deck in the shade at the back of the bottom row. I snuck in behind them during halftime and Landry had no problem giving me an autograph.  He and I concurred that the team was much better in 1992 and was in store for much better things ‘in the years to come’.

Tom Landry was a Texan through and through, born in Mission,Tx, going to college at Houston and Texas, and then being coach of the Cowboys for 29 years and his stoic presence on the sidelines and signature hat were a hallmark of the team. Landry after fighting in World War II, was drafted by the old New York Yankees of the AAFC in 1949, and then played for the New York Giants from 1950-1955, marking All Pro honors in 1954 as a CB, P/ KR. Amazingly he would also be defensive coordinator of the team in 1954 and 1955 before moving on permanently to coaching thereafter. Landry was considered an amazing innovator, creating both the 4-3 defense and the ‘flex’ alignment and then reintroduced the man in motion and shotgun formations among others. Tom Landry has a particularly large tree of apostles including  Mackovic, Stallings, Ditka, Reeves,and Berry who all spent time learning under his instruction. Landry would guide the Cowboys to 20 winning seasons, 2 SuperBowl victories,  5 NFC Championships and win NFL coach of the year twice. After football Landry enjoyed a private life for the next 11 years before he passed away in 2000 (age 75) after being elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1990.

Cowboys      Seasons 29  Wins 250  Losses 162  Ties 6
Games 70    Tac N/a   Sacks N/a   Fum 10  Int  31         Yds  360       TD 3

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