Tag Archives: baltimore stars

Rozier, Mike (2)

Cards: Score 1990, Action Packed 1990, Upper Deck Legends 1997, Panini Contenders 2018
Acquired: 2012 Akron Acquisition, TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 1/15/19 Received: 1/22/19 (7 days)
See Also: Mike Rozier

Slowly I had been working my way back around to Mike after about a 9 year layoff or so. I had been sold the Score 1990 card as part of a big lot of cards from the Akron Acquisition- so I needed a few more to fill out the ranks. Mike is another one of these players I didn’t want to see in his other NFL uniform (Falcons in this case). He still had some great Oilers cards I wanted to get signed- and once I got the Upper Deck 1997 card -in 2018, I made the decision to write him again. To seal the deal I also pulled this Panini Contenders card of him and put it aside for send out since I’ve gotten a few autographs recently around that set.

High grades for his Legends card from Upper Deck. Love the sports photography and how its got that nice action blur in the background. Far too often I’ve noticed photos where the people in the background are clear as day and distract from the player. In this case- this photo feels like a training or mini camp shot. I think the bushy trees give it away. Still, it’s a nice piece.

Mike’s Action Packed 1990 card is okay. I think it’s typical of AP at that time with that distance of framing images, but in this case, I feel like the image should’ve been pulled back a bit. Was Mike diving for a TD? Reaching out from a pile? Struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage? The design like all AP from 90 was simple and elegant however.

The Score 1990 set was a letdown from 89. I mean nothing could top what they did in that first set. The design here is nice, but the bordering with the logo is a bit heavy. The neon green marquee feels a bit unnecessary and forced. I kept wondering, “What does purple have to do with the Oilers?” It’s a decent action shot but I question Mike’s sense of dress as his thermal shirt sleeves are quite dated.

No question the Panini Contenders Draft Picks set has grown on me over the last… year or so. While I find it a bit over designed it’s a set that has a good selection of names in it. This shot however of Mike is terrible. He just looks like he’s jogging off the field to the sidelines.

Johnson, Mike (LB)

Cards: Score 1990, Fleer Ultra 1991, Action Packed 1990, ProSet 1990, Score 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20   Received: 11/9     (20 days) 

Despite playing alongside future defensive hall of famer Bruce Smith at Virginia Tech, linebacker Mike Johnson ended up in the upstart USFL playing for the Philadelphia Stars (1984) and the Baltimore Stars (1985). NFL teams took notice, and after finishing a stellar career in the USFL, Mike was selected in the USFL player dispersal draft with the 19th pick. Mike joined a host of other USFL castaways (Mack, Minnefield, and McNeil) on the Browns, helping solidify the nucleus of a powerful playoff opponent. 

Johnson was a rare talent. A versatile, durable inside linebacker, who could cover runningbacks and tight ends in the flat in Cleveland’s defensive alignment. Mike earned two Pro Bowl appearances in 1989 and 1990 both as a middle linebacker. During the 1990 season he’d record a 64 yard interception return against the Chargers (Billy Joe Tolliver).  In 7 of his 10 years in the NFL, Mike recorded over 100 tackles, and 6 of those, he’d manage over 130. Johnson’s best season came in 1993 when he pulled down 181 ball carriers. 

In 1994 Mike was allowed to depart for Detroit where he finished his career in 1995. Rejuvenated, he’d start 32 of 32 games and have 250 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions for 71 yards and a TD.

Mike Johnson is the Browns 1980s TTM version of Ernest Givins! 

-Deadhorse

A sure friend to the TTM community, Mike’s responses are of legend. He takes the time to respond to letters that ask questions, signs everything and includes extras. I only dropped 4 cards in, but he included an extra two for my trouble, giving me an extra signed ProSet 1990 and including the Fleer Ultra 1991 card. 

I was surprised that I couldn’t find Mike’s Pro Bowl 1990 card, but whatever- I was still happy to get this bevvy of cards signed. Both his Score cards and his ProSet base cards are very nice action images. His Fleer Ultra 1991 leaves a lot to be desired. I really hated this set from a design standpoint. It was just lazy, and his silhouette is partially obscured by a Bills player’s butt. Action Packed took what they could get sometimes, even if the action shot was from behind (as is the case with Johnny Holland and Mark Carrier’s (S) cards- respectively). I wasn’t really a fan of it, but since I had gotten this card in every other pack of Action Packed that I first bought for a while there, it made sense to send one up to see if I could get it autographed.  

USFLTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
N/A5.5N/A22914.51N/A
NFLTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDNFL
144/125122414.5261321716.6264t

Fuller, William

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