Tag Archives: all world 1991

Gray, Michael

Card: CFL All-World 1991
Acquired: IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders vs Salt Lake City Stallions

A few days before the game I looked over the coaching roster of the Stallions again, and with that I found the veritable gem in Michael Gray. Packing his card into my stash to take to the game, I figured I could lure him over and nab him either after the half or the game. I identified him early on when he was on the field in pre-game warmups and as SLC battled SA to a standstill at the half, I was able to get his attention and flashed the card and pen. His eyebrows lifted and he mouthed to me that he’d sign after the game. After the game concluded, Gray was the last to leave and lumbered over to sign my card. He was in a hurry, but he was really nice. I told him that if SLC had half the crowd we did, with the way that defensive line he was coaching was playing, that the Stallions will beat us in Salt Lake in a few weeks. He smiled and thanked me for being a fan and left.

Mike Gray joined the BC Lions of the CFL in 1984 after he had tryouts with the Seattle Seahawks in both 83 and 84. He took the league by storm in 1985, earning All-Star Honors and CFL Most Outstanding Rookie Award that year, racking up 13 sacks and 2 interceptions. The following year (1986) Mike added another 6 sacks to his name, before being snatched up by the Ottawa Rough Riders in the league’s equalization draft for 1987. Before the 87 season began, Mike was cut, but was picked up by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Much to both Ottawa and BC’s chagrin, Mike turned it up a notch for the Blue Bombers. From 1987 through 1989 he’d be one of the league’s most dominant defenders at defensive end averaging over 10 sacks and about 40 tackles a season. Gray played through the 1993 season, helping the Bombers to the 76th and 78th Grey Cups. During the 76th Grey Cup Mike came up with the game saving interception against his old team- the BC Lions- netting him Defensive Player of the Game Honors.

Mike has gone into coaching since his playing years ended, seeing stints in the CFL (BC Lions 1993-1994), the NFL (St. Louis Rams 1996-1997), and at the college level (Weber St. 1995, Oregon St 1997-2002, Kentucky 2003-2004, Oregon 2005-2008, UNLV 2010-2014). He was inducted into the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame in 2006, and in 2019 was the Defensive Line coach of the impressive Salt Lake City Stallions front.

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Ismail, Raghib ‘Rocket’ (2)

Cards: Fleer 1996, All World Promo 1991, Classic 1991, Atomic 2001
Acquired: TTM, 2018
Sent: 1/2       Received: 1/8   (6 days)
See Also: Rocket Ismail

Shortly after attending one of the Dallas Cowboys Rally Days where I met Rocket and got his autograph on a handful of cards, he started signing TTM again. I thought initially, “Oh well,” but knew I needed to double back to him to get a few more cards signed. So rolling over to 2018, what better way to kick it off by getting Rocket again as my first autograph of the year?

These cards really offer a cross section of his career starting at Notre Dame on this Classic 1991 promo card. Hand it to Classic trying to be edgy out of the gate, but the name line feels right aligned because the weight is tied to WR. I also wasn’t too big a fan of the brushed granite look, but it beats the cheetah pattern they later used. Overall, it’s a great photo of Rocket and there were quite a few of them to choose from.

From there we move on to the terrible All World CFL series, which tries to emulate the ProSet 1989 design by just angling the lines. There’s also the terrible color choices as the red and blue just feel like they clash a bit too much. It does not help that the Argonaut helmet just sort of -sits there arbitrarily on the canvas. As a promo however it sells what it is: The first set to have Ismail in his professional debut threads.

After his time in the CFL, Rocket jumped back to the NFL courtesy of the Los Angeles Raiders. It seemed to make sense. I mean the only other place with as bright stars and marketing would be Dallas, right? I liked this card. Fleer 1995 was all.. over.. the.. place.. design wise from team to team. It embodied everything I liked and hated in the 1990s sets as the companies started really embracing Photoshop. This one for example has a very unnecessary grain. I like the fearlessness of the design on the front, but it is a bit too much.

After his time with the Raiders, a stop in Dallas was next. It took me a while to come around to the sets of the early 2000s as I didn’t collect any while I was on my football hiatus. Among them I liked the die cut Atomic. I have a soft spot for gimmicky cards, and these certainly look better once you see one.

Elgaard, Ray

Card:  All World 1991
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  3/17  Received: 3/21  (7 days)

After playing at Utah on scholarship as a tight end, Ray Elgaard returned to Canada to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A second round pick in the 1983 draft, Elgaard was 6’3″, 220, which made him a mismatch for many of the defensive backs that were currently playing in the league. He not only had soft hands and the speed to play slotback in the league, Ray also could just bowl over defenders en route to the endzone.

He’d have a pretty soft rookie season, but after that, the rest is stuff made of legend, as he recorded 8 1,000+ yard seasons over a 14 season stand with the Roughriders. His best season came in 1990, when he recorded 94 receptions for 1,494 yards and 11 TDs. He’d also pull down 11 TD receptions in both 1991 and 1992.  Ray retired after the 1996 season.

Over his career Elgaard was named an All-Canadian 3 times, and the Outstanding Canadian in the CFL in 1988, 1992, and 1993. At the time of his retirement, Ray was the career league leader in receptions and yards. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Roughriders Plaza of Honor and into the CFL HoF in 2002.  Elgaard also was named one of the CFL’s top 50 Players in 2006.

Retired, Ray lives in Las Vegas and works for a brokerage firm.

All-World 1991 was quite an ugly card set. They looked like they were trying to spoof the ProSet 1989 set hard. They just put diagonal pinstriping on the cards. Yes, the red was hard to read on the blue cards, and the CFL logo was easier to read than the team logos that just looked sort of stuck on there after the fact. It also didn’t help that the photos were not always action shots, which left a curious speculative collector such as myself really confused.

REC 830        YDS 13,198       AVG 15.9        TD 78          TD 81