CARDS: Pacific 1991, ProSet 1990 ACQUIRED: Autographs Inked Private Group, 2021 FAILURE: 2020, C/o Home SEE ALSO: William Fuller
I’ve always wanted to get William Fuller on a few cards, since I sorta didn’t like the others I had gotten him on way back during Oilers training camp. You fail 100% of the shots you don’t take, so I figured I might as well give him another shot during the pandemic.
Waiting over a year and getting no response, I thought I might as well cash in a few chips. Since I missed out on them I went ahead and invested in these two cards that I had wanted to get signed sometime ago. (This represents one of the few times I’ve actually purchased autographs through my private Facebook group.) I remember carrying that Pacific 91 in camp and squiggling blue Sharpie on the back of it by accident. Still I’m left with 2-3 more cards I’d love to add to the collection. He does a fairly affordable private signing once or twice a year. I might look into that in the future.
Card: SkyBox Impact 1992
Acquired: In Person 1993, Houston Oilers Training Camp
Defensive end William Fuller would leap to the NFL after playing two note worthy seasons for the Baltimore Stars of the USFL. After leaving the USFL he would report to the Rams, but they subsequently traded his rights to the Houston Oilers as part of the trade that sent Jim Everett to Los Angeles. At first it appeared that the Rams got the better end of the deal, as while Jim Everett passed for good numbers and established himself as a top end quarterback Fuller’s sack numbers were slow to increase. Despite his slow production by 1988, Fuller tied for a team high with 8.5 sacks under coach Jerry Glanville. His 1989 and 1990 seasons would also show marked improvement. 1991 would be his best season as a pro as Fuller would finish 2nd in the NFL in sacks with 15, and be named to the ProBowl for the first time. After a down year in 1992, Fuller would return to double digit form again in 1993 making 10 sacks but Bud Adams made good on breaking up the Oilers, and let the venerable defensive lineman go via free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994.
William would pick up where he left off, making 35.5 and 7 fumble recoveries over the next 3 seasons for the Eagles. Each season he’d also be named to the Pro Bowl, but after 1996 he’d leave via free agency again for the San Diego Chargers, and retire after the 1998 season. At the time of his retirement his 100.5 sacks ranked him top 25 all time.
Since retirement Fuller has been named to UNC’s sports HoF, the 50th Anniversiary team, and has is active in programs to help prevent diabetes. He has donated time to coach at the local high school in Virginia Beach and is a real estate developer.
SkyBox too attempted to create a premium line of football cards in 1992. While Stadium Club was impressive, and Fleer was lowering the bar, Skybox’s Impact was just- well confusing. You just didn’t get which brand was actually the premium brand of SkyBox’s football line with a Primetime and Impact line that were both pretty nice looking. The real problem was Skybox didn’t trade for a year or two before they came out with a the premium line, so the market just got muddled down. While their team MVP cards and special mini poster insert cards were amazing, Skybox’s general design for their Primetime cards left much to be desired- much as in the William Fuller card above. It’s strictly okay by design standards with a generic shadow on a gray-silver plane, but what is up with the | | | | in the background? Skybox also had this penchant for gigantically displaying their logo on their cards, which was equally distracting, especially with the background isolated in a single color. The team name “Oilers” goes up the side on the right which is a complete design gaffe. Take one moment to look at your DVD collection. Do you notice on the spine of every DVD the type goes down the right? It’s just easier to read that way and it has always been sort of an unspoken standard for many years. I like how they added the number, but it’s turned into a disastrous tangent with his fist slightly obscuring the 9 on the 95. William’s name is tracked out, which is maybe a bit much, but the other tangent as his name almost taps the top of his helmet is equally annoying. I wasn’t a big fan of this line of Skybox cards in the end, but the “Impact” series that they debuted earlier that year was cutting edge at the time.
G/Gs 194/160 Tac 483 Sac 100.5 Fum 19 Int 2 Yds 9 Avg 4.5 Lg 9 Td 0
Cards: Proset 1989, Proset 1990, Pinnacle 1992 Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home. Sent: 1/13 Received: 3/12 (42 days) See Also: Anthony Carter (2)
An elite, hard- working speedster allowed to wear the hallowed #1 jersey while in college at Michigan, Anthony Carter is the Wolverines all-time receptions leader and was nicknamed “AC” and “the Darter”. The Michigan Panthers of the USFL drafted Carter where he elected to play over the NFL counterpart Dolphins. With quarterback (and Autograph HoF member) Bobby Herbert at the helm, Carter had a nice rookie season with 60 receptions for 1081 yards in 1983. AC would be named to the All-USFL team as a punt returner after the season. An injury would sideline Carter in 1984 after only 6 games, but he’d rebound in 1985 with the Oakland Invaders with 70 receptions for 1323 yards and 14 touchdowns, which would earn him All USFL team honors.
As a member of a USFL team, Carter’s rights were locked in by the Dolphins who drafted him back in 1983 (so he was not subject to the USFL CFL talent dispersal draft that the NFL later held). He would be traded away to the Minnesota Vikings who were still looking for a solid receiving force to replace Ahmad Rashad. AC would fit right in with the Vikings, plus it kept him close to Michigan where he went to college and played the majority of his time in the USFL. He would be a great asset to the Vikings and would demoralize opposing defensive backs with his speed averaging 19.1 yards a reception his rookie season on 43 receptions. In 1987 he earned his first Pro Bowl honor with a jaw dropping 24.3 yards per catch on 38 receptions. He’d hit paydirt 7 times that season including a career long 73 yard bomb for a touchdown. 1988 would see career highs again in receptions (72) and yards (1225) for the USFL speedster. Carter would follow this up again in 1989 and 1990 going over 1000 yards both seasons. He’d also have an incredible playoff game where he burned the San Fransisco defense for 10 receptions and 227 yards. As the 1991 season approached, Cris Carter arrived in Minnesota effectively halving AC’s production, but Anthony would continue playing for the Vikings over the next 3 seasons providing the team solid veteran leadership. Anthony would be left exposed during the free agent purge of 1993 by the Vikings and signed with the Lions, however injuries and time had caught up with the former Wolverine and he’d play only 4 games with the Lions and retire in 1995.
A college football hall of fame inductee, Carter has amassed a fair amount of accolades since retirement. Like many former USFL greats, one has to wonder how Carter’s legacy would figure into the football landscape if he had declared for the NFL draft or been paired up with Dan Marino in Miami. He is considered one of the 50 greatest Minnesota Vikings players of all time and was named the the USFL All Time team as first team wide receiver and second team punt returner. In 2011 he was also named the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
After the stranglehold by Topps was loosened on the football card industry by Score and ProSet, the market was flooded with companies trying to cash in on the frenzy. Carter’s Topps cards really never did him justice, but Pro Set never failed to hit its mark. Since the implosion of the former card giant, I have gained a new found respect for how it revolutionized the industry and the 89 and 90 cards of Carter are excellent examples of this. Pinnacle was late to the party, and by that point I was sporadically collecting. They were revolutionary cards with a nice design at the time with a profile and action shot on the front.
With an average team on offense, AC was about ALL the Vikin– I mean ‘Monsters’ had in the original Tecmo Bowl. I also had Carter’s Starting Lineup action figure, which was a very plain action pose that Kenner used in that mold at the time.