Jurasin, Bobby

Cards: All World 1991.
Acquired: TTM 1993, (CFL Blitz) C/o CFL headquarters.

I got a box of All-World CFL cards in 1991 from a local card dealer and decided to send out a bunch of them after the league confirmed it’s North American expansion plans when the WLAF folded in North America. Not finding the team offices, I blitzed the headquarters, who then sent it around to a variety of teams for me and included many of their own. They included many future hall of famers and Doug Flutie.

Bobby Jurasin went undrafted in the 1986 NFL draft after attending Northern Michigan University and joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a free agent that year.  Despite only starting 8 games his rookie year, he was an immediate force on the field for the Roughriders garnering the team’s rookie of the year award nomination at linebacker and defensive end. (He also played spot tight end duty.) Jurasin over the next 12 seasons would wreck havoc on opposing teams, and would be a West All Star in 1989 and 1994, CFL All Star in 1987, 1988, 1992, and 1997, winning a Grey Cup in 1989. He’d play for the Argonauts in 1998, and then the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena league where he retired due to a neck injury. At retirement he was number 3 on the CFL all time list in sacks.

Of note, Jurasin was a trend setter, wearing a rising sun bandana underneath his helmet that fans picked up on and wear to this day. Bobby was inducted into the CFL HoF in 2006 and currently is coaching at the college level.

Games  197       Tac  411        Sac  142         FF   22
Int  2         Yds  38          Avg  19.0         Td  0

Smith, Al

Cards: Proset 1991, Fleer 1995, Score 1991, Score 1992, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: In Person, Highland Mall 1992. Oilers Training Camp 1995. TTM, 2010 C/o home.
Sent:  6/24        Received: 7/10   (16 days)

In 1992 the Oilers were doing a media and fan blitz outside of their normal home territory and were appearing at a local mall sending in coach Jim Eddy, Jeff Alm and Al Smith. It was one of my first memorable face to face interactions with players and Al and Jeff cracked jokes with me while they set up the tables in front of the food court. Al signed my Pro Set 1991 and then jokingly told me I could have probably carried in the table for them. It was a kind and cherished moment at an emotional time of my life. I would later get his autograph at my last time at Houston Oiler training camp in 1995 on the Fleer 95 card. In 2010, when I was tracking down former Oilers I found Al’s address and sent out for his autograph.

Al Smith was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 6th round of the 1986 draft from Utah. Smith would go on to lead the team in tackles his rookie season, as an inside linebacker for the 3-4 defense.  In 1990 he officially became the team’s starting middle linebacker and held down the starting job through 1994, garnering Pro Bowl honors twice and All-Pro once finally retiring in 1997.  Probably the Oiler’s best kept secret, Al Smith came up with big plays for the Oilers, including 2 goal line stops in a row to seal victory against the Jets in the playoffs. Smith after football would serve as a scout for the  Tennessee Titans and currently lives in Franklin, TN.

G  125      Tac  833        Sac  5.5         FF   8
Int  2        Yds 42      Avg 21.0      TD 0

Bartkowski, Steve

Cards: Topps 1978, Topps 1983
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf  Tournament 1993.

I got to the Golf Tournament early in the morning (before 8am) and was able to catch the early birds on the course before the crowds got there. The first three I got were the trio of quarterbacks, Steve Bartkowski, Billy Joe Tolliver and Browning Nagle. Bartkowski and the others were extremely nice and even let me ride around in a golf cart for a hole or two with them. They were more than happy to sign any cards I had, and Steve signed these two cards for me after I gave him and the others the drawings I did for them.

Steve was the #1 pick of the NFL draft of 1975 for the Atlanta Falcons, and garnered NFL Rookie of the Year Honors that year. Bartkowski lead the Falcons from 1975 to 1985 (and Rams in 1986).  He still owns many of the Falcons passing records to this day. Bartkowski’s career got off to an extremely rough start but blossomed as his career continued under center leading the team to division championships in 1980 and 1982. (You see in those days #1 choices and quarterbacks were given 5 or 6 years to blossom.) Steve was a two time Pro Bowler and threw 22 touchdowns to 5 picks in 1983. (He is also notable for being Leigh Steinberg’s first client and for being taken ahead of HoF runningback Walter Payton.)  After retirement Steve has continued to live and work in the Atlanta area, working for contractual commercial building firms, in sports broadcasting and television as a color analyst, sits on the board of directors for the Atlanta Falcons and is an avid golfer with a scratch handicap.

G 129    Att  1932    Comp 3456      Pct 55.9      Yds  24124
Td  156       Int  144       Rat  75.4

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