Rentie, Caesar

Card: Proset WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o New York/ New Jersey Knights


For all of the football junkies out there Caesar Rentie is famous because he was the first player drafted in the WLAF.  Originally a 7th round choice of the Chicago Bears, Rentie played 5 games for the Bears in 1988, and then went Plan B to the Bills and Colts before being taken by the WLAF.  The son of deaf-mute parents, Rentie has faced adversity all his life. Playing for the Knights, Rentie provided valuable protection and excellent run blocking for Eric Wilkerson in 1991. He’d play part of the season for the Knights again in 1992, finishing up the season on the squad of the Birmingham Fire.

After the league restructured in 1992, Caesar felt a higher calling and decided to leave football where he then became an intern in pastoral care at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and as of this post is affiliated with Arcadia Park UMC in Dallas as a Senior Pastor. I sent off for Caesar’s autograph during the 1992 season to the NY/NJ Knights. I got a fairly quick response and was pleased to get his autograph on his Proset card.

Pardee, Jack (1936-2013)

Cards: Proline Portraits 1992, Pro Set 1990, Pro Set 1991, Topps 1970.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home.
Sent: 3/26    Received:  4/1    (6 days)


I went through Fanmail.biz to locate Jack’s address, putting a request up on the message board. One of the admins was kind enough to respond with his address. I wrote to Jack that night to discuss the book “Oiler Blues” and he responded in a record 6 days to my request.

Jack Pardee took over as coach of the Oilers from Jerry Glanville, and the difference in personality was night and day. While Glanville was firey and emotional, Jack, was much on par with the personality of Tom Landry. Subdued was basically an understatement of Pardee’s restraint. Jack would bring with him from the University of Houston (and the USFL,) the Run ‘N Shoot offense that the Oilers would employ full time.  Jack would pull the Oilers over the hump, as he would become the only coach in the history of the Houston franchise to take the AFC Central title, which he would take in 91 and again in 93.  The 1993 team would also grab the best record in the league at 12-4. Despite going forward, the Oilers always seemed to freeze in the playoffs, being victims of the infamous ‘Comeback’ game, and also Montana’s last playoff run. Pardee was infamously ordered by owner Bud Adams to wear a headset on the sidelines, mitigate the circus that was Buddy Ryan and the furor that ensued when the team fined David Williams for ‘Babygate’. These dramatic elements would be the end of the ‘golden age’ for me in football. In 1994 the team collapsed without Warren Moon at the helm, and after going 1-9 Jack Pardee resigned. His young defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher took over from there and within a few months owner Bud Adams was whining about a new stadium.

One of the infamous ‘Junction Boys’, Jack in addition to coaching days also played in the NFL from 1957-1973 as a linebacker conquering melanoma along the way.  He then jumped ship to head coaching for the Blazers and Fire of the WFL, and then onto the NFL as the coach of the Bears and Redskins, and as a defensive coordinator for the Chargers. Coaching continued to be in his blood as he then coached in the USFL for the Gamblers, and then over to the Cougars with a record setting offense, before coming to the Oilers in 1990. In 1995 he coached in the CFL and then entered a period of semi retirement where he runs his ranch in Gause, Tx outside of Houston.

In 2010, a wonderful article was written about him from CNNSI where it was revealed that he would jump at the opportunity to coach again even at the age of 73.

G 196  tac n/a    sac  n/a     Fum 17    Int  22    yards 305  Td  5  Lng 46
Wins   87   Losses 77   Pct .530

UPDATE- On April 1st, 2013, Jack Pardee passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.

Hennigan, Charlie (1935-2017)

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Photo memorabilia
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home.
Sent: 6/24  Received: 7/3  (9 days)


Charlie Hennigan finished his career long before I was born, however I was aware of his accomplishments early on as a fan of the Houston Oilers. After I watched the presentation of “Full Color Football” on NFL Network, I decided to start collecting some of the players from before ‘my era’ of football and in that bid to locate and get autographs of many of the original AFLers (particularly Houston Oilers from any era on cards), I got the Meisleman list in the mail and went to work. I couldn’t believe that Charlie was listed in the book. I was even more surprised when he autographed the card I sent him, plus included a piece of photo memorabilia of himself from the early years that he autographed on both sides. (I miss this form of sports photography.) I don’t mind personalization at all. I hope it proves to the player that’s signing it that I am indeed sincere in my attempts to get their autograph, and that I’m not interested in selling them. I’ve heard of players charging for personalization and frankly I think if they want to make sure that somebody won’t sell their name, just personalize it. Nobody named Joe wants to buy an autograph of a player from somebody who has it personalized to Lee.(- At least I wouldn’t.)

Charlie was an amazingly fast receiver who made the Houston Oiler air attack work during the early years of the AFL where the team won the first two championships of the AFL. A player who has never gotten the respect he has deserved, Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oiler History back in 1960 and was the main target of George Blanda‘s passes becoming the first player to go over 100 catches in a season with 101 in 1964. Hennigan would set the AFL/NFL mark for most receiving yards in a season with 1746, which would stand for 34 years. An AFL All Star for 5 of the 6 seasons he played, Hennigan kept a pay stub from his teaching career in his helmet to keep himself grounded. Hennigan still holds the record for most 200 yard receiving games in a season with 3 and most games in a season with over 100 yards at 11. Hennigan would also hold the All AFL record of 272 yards receiving (1962) and would go over 1500 yards receiving in two separate seasons averaging an incredible 124 yards a game in 1961 and 110 in 1964.  Incredible numbers considering that players in the 60s played only 14 game seasons.  Oddly Hennigan has never been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Many, (myself included) believe that this is an act of hazing from the old guard of the NFL, in barring him and other pioneers of the old AFL from obtaining entry. (I am of the camp that believes the whole AFL should be inducted all at once as league pioneers, and like other professional leagues before them a separate wing be dedicated to their accomplishments.) Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Brown was ironically cut by the Houston Oilers because he could not cover Charlie Hennigan. Charlie and Willie would meet again on the field, where Charlie needed only 9 catches to break the AFL record for catches in a season. Charlie got those 9.  Hennigan would retire in 1967, founding the Hennigan Institute after getting his Doctorate from the University of Houston. Later on he would go on to teach former prisoners and help them get their GEDs near Shreveport, LA and ran for political office in 2002 as a Democrat. Hennigan also has seven children.

G 95      Rec    410   Yds 6873    Avg   16.6      TD  51         Lg  83

* UPDATE *  On December 20th, 2017 Dr. Hennigan passed away at the age of 82.

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