Bates, Patrick

Card: Classic 1993
Acquired: In Person 1993, Dallas Cowboys training camp

I got Patrick’s autograph his rookie season with the Raiders when he was drafted by the then Los Angeles Raiders as a Junior in the first round of the 1993 Draft. A member of  Texas A&M with Kevin Smith and the “Wrecking Crew”, Bates was a hard hitting specimen coming out of college and from the #1 college defense.

In his first season Patrick was not allowed to start, (something that would get his ire) but would post an interception and 16 tackles. The coaches then kept playing with the lineup in 1994 when he started 9 games, recovering 2 fumbles and made 53 tackles. Bates was miserable however, (claiming it was because of he was unsatisfied with first contract, and how things were done in the organization,) and quit after the 1995 preseason, sitting out the entire season. It was reported the Cowboys and Falcons really wanted him, and so during the 1996 draft, the Raiders traded Bates to the Atlanta Falcons. He’d last one season there before a bizarre incident where he was charged with assaulting his pregnant girlfriend, kidnapping his child, and pistol whipping the mother of the baby, got him cut by the team.  Afterwards he tried a comeback in 1998 with of all teams – the Raiders, but it was short lived as he failed the physical because of a fractured dislocation of the elbow.

Patrick did have a difficult life, losing both his parents and his grandmother and a brother before he was 21, but he tried to own up to it, and was thankful for his foster family who raised him. He got homesick after he lost his grandmother and transferred from UCLA to Texas A&M to be closer to his family.  Unfortunately Patrick Bates goes down as another in a long line of drafting disasters by the Silver and Black organization and harshly in 2008 was ranked # 37 on ESPN’s greatest draft busts. At last glance, in 2006  he was living in the Houston area and was a fan of the Houston Texans, approving of the team’s signing of Gary Kubiak as head coach- however at this time where he is remains to be seen. As a fan I really wish for Patrick’s well being and the best.

Games 18    Tac  106    Sac 0     Fum 3
Int 1     Yds 0     Avg -.-      Td 0       Lg 0

Foster, Barry

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Pittsburgh Steelers

Barry Foster. Quite an interesting player and career, but first a segway. I started playing fantasy football way back in 1990, so when my friends ‘discovered it’ in 1992, they casually omitted me from the league draft for some reason. The commissioner allowed me to join the league after their draft and I quickly assembled a competent group of free agents and players that included Barry Foster and Gary Clark into a team called the ‘Pennsylvania Pinto Beans’. I would dominate the first two weeks of the league until complaints from other owners arose, and the commissioner unceremoniously disbanded my team, stating that my team was ‘stacked unfairly’- even though my team was built from street free agents and no draft choices. Whatever.

I sent off for Barry during that season, partially because of my fantasy football success, and also because I am enamored with the Action Packed series of football cards. The embossed figures and gold lines really felt- well manly, and were just exemplary cards to get autographed.  I thought that Barry’s autograph was a fake- because it is so ‘pedestrian looking’ but after researching his signature it does appear to be this simple. Barry Foster was a fullback from Arkansas drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 1990 draft.  After a rough start in a game I saw on TV where he was assigned to the kickoff team in his rookie season and let a live football bounce past him on a kickoff, Foster slowly improved and eventually find himself inserted into the starting lineup.

By 1991, Foster had become a bruising powerback and after an injury plagued year, really turned on the jets in 1992 with 390 carries, breaking Franco Harris’ team rushing record. Barry was voted to the Pro Bowl after the season and was the AFC offensive player of the year.  Unfortunately injuries limited his effectiveness the rest of his career. Barry would start off strong each season, but his body frame couldn’t sustain the 16 game schedule. In 1995 he was signed by the Carolina Panthers, but failed the physical- to which he was quickly signed by the Bengals and retired. (He appears I believe on Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition as a member of the Panthers, even though he never played a down for them.)

Barry had always been looking ahead, and loved coaching. He had been budgeting his money for retirement. At one point I had heard a rumor that he was a cop, but this turned out to be untrue. Foster would become a part of the NFL’s minority coaching fellowship and by 2003 was coaching in the NFLE for the Rhien Fire. He also participates in junior sports and football camps for kids.

G/Gs   62/44   Att 915   Yds  3943  Avg 4.3  Td 26   Lg 69 |
Rec 93   Yds 804   Avg 8.6  Td 2   Lg 42

Harlow, Pat

Cards: Action Packed 1992, Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: TTM 1992, 1993 Patriots Blitz

In a world where snail mail was the world and the internet was just a single swimming sperm, I used to camp by the mailbox waiting to see what came. An autograph kept the mail interesting, and was like receiving a present every day of the year- or whenever I got one. Case in point, I sent off bulk to the Patriots in 1992 and after a few months wait got a stack of autographs back from the team. I’d send another bulk load later that they’d go ahead and kindly fulfill the next season as well.

Originally the fourth best defensive lineman on the USC Trojans squad, Pat Harlow would make the switch to offensive tackle and make an immediate impact. At 6″7′, 295, Pat Harlow was drafted from USC by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1991 draft (which at first was a highly maligned draft, but in retrospect was obviously not on talent with the 1989 draft, rather it was ‘respectable’.) The pick was originally part of the blockbuster Herschel Walker trade. With the first two tackles off the board in Charles McRae and Antone Davis, Pat Harlow would be the third Tackle taken in the first round by New England. Offensive line however would not be where the depth was in this draft as only one lineman, (Erik Williams- Dallas, Rd.3) from this draft would ever to make the ProBowl.

An aggressive offensive lineman with the desire to finish off the block downfield, the knock on Pat was his relative lack of playing experience at the position. This was viewed by Patriots’ management actually as an advantage as his full potential hadn’t been completely tapped. Harlow went on to play respectably from 1991-1995, starting 64 games. Pat was traded to the Raiders for a second round pick in 1996, and moved to left tackle, (uncomfortably) where he ended his career prematurely in 1998 due to back injuries at the age of 29.

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