Tag Archives: baltimore ravens

Harbaugh, Jim ‘Captain Comeback’

Cards: Fleer 1990, GameDay 1992
Acquired:  TTM, C/o Stanford University, 2010.
Sent: 2/3   Received: 8/13  (210 days)

Jim Harbaugh was drafted from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears, – 5 years after taking incredibly popular Jim McMahon. The Bears had a long history up to this point of being a vaunted ground attack with Walter Peyton and later Neal Anderson. Over the team’s history, (as of 2009) the Bears had only 1 quarterback repeat as a 3,000 yard passer.

Harbaugh rode the bench for the Bears through 1989, when McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers.  Jim claimed the starting role but still had to look over his shoulder with Mike Tomczak backing him up.  Jim in 1991 threw for 3121 yards (2nd in team history). In 1994, Harbaugh was traded to the Colts, after finishing second on the career yardage list for the Chicago Bears.

Jim led an improbable Colts team back from the dead, into the playoffs and one game away from the Superbowl, knocking out the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. During the 1995 season Harbaugh would have perhaps his finest moment leading the NFL in passer rating, being named AFC player of the year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and finished second in the NFL MVP race.  By 1997, the Colts fell back down to the Earth, and Harbaugh again would find himself traded, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.  He’d sign with the Chargers in 1999, but by 2000 he was splitting time with Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh then suited up briefly with the Lions and Panthers before retiring.

In retrospect over Jim’s playing career, he was a cannon armed quarterback who had to learn the minutia of the NFL game. He was a formidable rusher finishing with 2700 yards, a 5.0 average, and 18 touchdowns over his career. Jim was rough around the edges and was prone to force the ball, especially early in his career, but once surrounded with the right talent and placed in the right offense to hone his skills and check down targets properly, Harbaugh briefly became one of the most dangerous quarterbacks of his era.

Jim Harbaugh had been planning all along to go into coaching. From 1994-2001 while he was still in the NFL, Harbaugh was working as an offensive consultant and scout for Western Kentucky University. He then hopped over to the Raiders  for two seasons, and by 2004 was head coach of the University of San Diego.  In 2005 Harbaugh was named to the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor where he was dubbed ‘Captain Comeback’ by the Colts faithful during his playing days there. By 2007 he was head coach at Stanford University defeating rival USC in the what is considered to be the greatest upset in college football history (43 point favorite) and in 2009 hung a record 55 points on them, where the Cardinals were named to their first bowl game since 2001.  Jim also has pursued a variety of hobbies, including his foundations and a variety of children’s hospitals. He is also co-owner of Panther Racing in the Indianapolis Racing League. In 2011, he took over as head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh gets the ironman award for the longest response, clicking in at 210 days. Nonetheless I was quite pleased to notch this former decorated Chicago Bear in my collection.

GS 140   Att  3918   Comp 2305  Pct 58.8
Yds 26288    Td  129     Int 117    Rat 77.6

Byner, Earnest

Cards: Action Packed 1991, Action Packed 1992, Pro Set 1990.
Acquired: In Person 1993, CGA Youth Golf  Tournament

Earnest Byner is best known for being the scapegoat from the 1987 Denver/ Cleveland playoff game entitled ‘the fumble’ when Byner played for the Browns.  It is a shame because he actually was a very good player outside of this incident.

Byner was stolen in the 10th round of the 1984 draft  by the Cleveland Browns after graduating from East Carolina. A well rounded player he could play fullback or halfback, because he was a great blocker, receiver, and tenacious runner. He worked his way into the lineup and by 1985 had a breakthrough season with over 1,000 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving.

After a subpar 1988, Byner was traded for Mike Oliphant to the Washington Redskins, where the second phase of his career would begin. This would also turn into one of the most lopsided trades (Herschel Walker trade aside)  in the history of the league as Byner would lead the Redskins to the Superbowl in 1992. After his playing days with the Redskins were over, Byner returned to the Browns (1994-1995), before the franchise up and left for Baltimore where he finished his playing career in 1997.

After retiring Byner comfortably moved right into the coaching ranks and has seen stints with the Ravens, Redskins, Titans, and as of 2010 is with the Jaguars. He was also named as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins and was the first player inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2001. Earnest showed up at the CGA Youth Golf Tournament and made us chase his golf cart. He signed on the move surprisingly well and was paired up with Steve McMichael during the tourney.

Games 211/132   Att  2095         Yds  8261          Avg  3.9              Td  56           lg 54
Rec 512   Yds  4605   Avg 9.0   Td   15     lg 40

Mitchell, Scott

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Score 1990, Ultimate WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992.
Acquired: In Person, 1992. San Antonio Riders v. Orlando Thunder. TTM 2010, c/o  Springville High School, UT.
Sent:  3/12   Received: 7/10  (120 days)

Scott Mitchell was drafted by the Dolphins in the 4th round of the 1990 draft from Utah. Mitchell would ride the Dolphins bench for the next three seasons, preparing to be the heir to Dan Marino.  He was loaned to the WLAF in 1992 in an attempt by both the NFL and the WLAF to drum up the talent of the league by showcasing young and promising talent, while providing them ‘game live’ experience. (The Thunder’s drafting of Mitchell was slightly surprising because they already had a talented run ‘n shoot gunslinger in Kerwin Bell.) Mitchell played well that season and led the team to World Bowl II where they lost to the eventual champion Sacramento Surge. Scott returned to the Dolphins and saw starting duty for Miami in 1993- playing so well that he would bolt in free agency for Detroit in the off-season that year.  Initially struggling upon his arrival, Mitchell adjusted to the offense and reclaimed the starting position with a vengeance in 1995. He was with the Lions when they made the playoffs in 1994, 1995, and 1997.  Mitchell would play for the Ravens in 1999 and then finished his career in Cincinnati (2000-2001).  Scott continued to be involved in football and was hired in 2010 to coach for Springville High School in Utah.

I wandered onto the field before the game and picked up Scott’s autograph on his Action Packed 1990 and Score 1990 card. It was a lazy day, and the security didn’t care. As the team hadn’t even started warm ups, I thought it would be okay. Scott rolled his eyes at me as he signed, but then again he may have been looking down at me as he is 6″6′.

After I read his Wikipedia entry, I was able to do the rest of the research to locate Scott at Springville High School. It only took about 4 months for a response from him which was at that time during my return to collecting- quite a wait.

NFL      Games 99   Att  2346   Comp  1301  Pct  55.5
Yds  15692  TD 95  Int  81

WLAF  Games 10   Att  361      Comp  201    Pct  55.7
Yds    2213  TD 12  Int 7