Cards: Topps 1985, ProSet World League 1991, Wild Card WL 1992 Acquired: TTM 2020, 2021 C/o Home Sent: 9/9 Received: 9/25 (16 days) Failure: TTM 2012, C/o Home
Bruce Clark was a consensus All-American defensive end for the Penn State Nittany Lions posting 19 sacks over his college career, winning the first Lombardi Award as a Junior in 1978. Originally a linebacker who converted to defensive tackle, Bruce was not only still extremely quick after packing on the extra bulk, he was incredibly strong.
He was selected in the first round (4th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, but opted in a shocker to play in Canada instead with the Toronto Argonauts. You see, Bruce was fine playing DT or DE, but with the Packers switching to a 3-4 alignment, they had this idea that at 6’2″, 260, Clark was going to play nose. He didn’t want that, and he didn’t like how the Pack was being run from an organizational standpoint.
After two stellar seasons in the CFL, Bruce decided to play in the NFL. Reiterating his desire to play somewhere else than the ‘Siberia’ of the NFL or nose tackle, the Packers traded Bruce to the Saints for their #1 pick in the 1983 draft.
Much maligned for his surgically repaired knee coming out of Penn State, Bruce started 88 consecutive games for the Saints and was an anchor for the Saints defense at left defensive end. His best season came in 1984 when he earned his only pro bowl appearance, racking up 10.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and his only career interception. He’d join the Chiefs in 1989 for his final season, dressing for 11 contests.
Bruce opted to play in the World League of American Football in 1991 and declared for the league’s supplemental pool of eligible players and was selected in the first round by the Barcelona Dragons. As one of the oldest players in the WLAF, Bruce’s leadership and experience was appreciated by the Dragons’ defense, as he paced their solid team with 7 sacks. He opted to retire after the 1991 season.
Bruce has been on my long short list for a while, and his name popped up recently, so I was ecstatic to shoot something out to him. He signed these two cards quickly, but I had to try him again, since the sharpie quality is poor, his autograph look like it smudged slightly, and he switched out my Wild Card WL 92 for a Topps 85. Early in 2021, I decided to try again, and he graciously signed the Wild Card WL I still needed for the set.
Card: Ultimate World League 1992 Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 9/11 Received: 9/22 (11 days) Failure: TTM 2019, C/o Home
A 4th round selection of the Barcelona Dragons in 1991 out of Delaware State, TE had a brief 4 game stint with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 1990, after being in camp with the Cincinnati Bengals. A dangerous and shifty return man and receiver, Tim led Delaware State 3 years running from 1987 through 1989. His best year came in 1989, when he caught 34 passes for 525 yards and 5 TDs. On special teams, he carved up opponents to the tune of 59 career punt returns for 951 yards and FIVE… count em… 5 TDs… snapping fellow alum John Taylor’s record. Among his returns for touchdowns, he had 3 greater than 67 yards.
While playing for the Barcelona Dragons in ’91 Tim had 27 catches for 336 yards and a 57 yard long, and 10 punt returns for 91 yards. He joined the Cleveland Thunderbolts of the Arena Football League in 1993 and recorded 5 catches for 94 yards and 2 TDs, while seeing action also on defense, with 9.5 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup.
As I round the final turn here on the Ultimate set, now with well over 100 of the base 180 signed, I’m starting to refocus on some names that I may have missed over the years. I doubled down on Tim and had a decent feeling that the mail may have gotten lost. He has a great looking action card and was a key contributor to the Dragons’ offense. He responded in a short 11 days and thanked me and said he’d be honored to sign my card, signing on both the front and back.
As a local from Spain, Xisco Marcos became the Barcelona Dragons unofficial mascot and was undeniably fans’ favorite player. He also provided tour guide services to other players and educated them about the area and the culture as well.
An Operation Discovery product, Xisco played football in Spain’s American Football League reaching the league’s equivalent of their Super Bowl, and was known in that league for making tough grabs and having sticky fingers. With a pretty deep roster at WR, Xisco didn’t see much action on the field for the Dragons, playing for the franchise in 1991, 1992, and 1995. He’d catch one pass over his career in the World League for 5 yards.
Xisco had become a white whale for me, and after much research I found him in Mallorca- a city on the Balearic Islands of Spain. (You can barely see it creeping up off the top of the bottom of the interior of the facemask.) Eventually I dropped these two cards to him in the mail where I quickly got an RTS because the local PO didn’t know where the Balearic Islands were… So after waiting a few months I was sure to go into the PO and discuss with them that the Balearic Islands of Spain were a real place.
Xisco responded to me in about 3 months time writing me an incredibly nice note.
“I remember very fondly the trip to San Antonio, as I could see, Texas charmed me, and I’m sure Austin must be a beautiful place to live.”
With Xisco’s autograph, I now only have remaining the two deceased players from the franchise card set, Demetrius Davis and Barry Voorhess. While Xisco’s response isn’t the furthest I’ve corresponded with a player, it certainly wins the prize for the most exotic return.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.