Tag Archives: Birmingham Fire

Phillips, Darrell

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 12/9   Received:  12/29   (20 days)

Darrell Phillips was a stud in the middle of LSU’s defense during his time playing for the Tigers during the mid-late 80s. In his Junior year, he had 100 tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 TFL. A versatile player, he also blocked 3 kicks on special teams and was named the team’s most valuable defensive player. In 1988 he was a First-Team All-SEC selection with 76 tackles and 3 sacks.

He wasn’t drafted but saw time in the camps of both the New Orleans Saints (1989) and British Columbia Lions (1990) before being selected in the first round of the WLAF positional draft by the Birmingham Fire in 1991. Phillips helped pace the stingy Birmingham Fire defense with 38 tackles and 2 sacks, which earned him second team All-World League Honors.  He returned to the team for the 1992 season and again notched another 2 sacks.

Darrell was one of the few members of the Birmingham Fire that escaped me when I was trying to get autographs back in 1992 during that humid night game against the Riders.  After some sleuthing, I was able to track him down on Facebook, where he was displaying his LSU pride.  He kindly responded to my message and agreed to sign this card for a few extras that he could keep.  Phillips has split his time between the US and Canada for the past few years.

WLAF     Tac N/a    Sac 4.0    Fum 0   Int 0   Yds 0   Avg -.-   TD 0   Lg -.-

Miller, John (2)

wcwlaf92 jmiller ultwlaf92 jmiller
C
ards: Wild Card WLAF 1992, Ultimate WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Work
Sent:  12/9/15       Received: 1/7/16   (29 days)
See Also:  John Miller

Okay- John took a lot of work to track down, because John Miller is a pretty common name. Eventually using the power of Google, cross referenced with the data off of Miller’s 3 cards, I was able to locate leads off of a networking site and sent these cards out. John was kind enough to respond, personalizing these cards, including a small note, and his business card. John apparently still keeps in touch with many of his Birmingham Fire from his days in the WLAF.  His son carries on his legacy playing at John’s Alma Mater, Michigan State.

Harris, Elroy

ultwlaf92 eharrisCards: ProSet WLAF 1991, Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent: 2/15    Received:  3/5    (18 days)

At the time of his departure from EKU (Eastern Kentucky University) fireplug Elroy Harris was the All-time leading rusher in school history with 4,555 yards in 3 years, a whopping 5.9 yards per carry, and scored an Ohio Valley Conference Record 58 career total touchdowns. Among Elroy’s accolades was being named the Conference player of the year in 1988 after accumulating 1,543 yards, which led all Division I-AA schools.

Elroy was a 3rd round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the jam packed 1989 NFL super draft.  Looking for a change of pace in the backfield the Seahawks were stuffed with talent at RB with guys like Curt Warner, John L. Williams, James Jones, Derrick Fenner, and Kevin Harmon. Thankfully Chuck Knox and his infamous ‘Ground Chuck’ offense required so many backs to share the load. Elroy did what it took to make the roster and was utilized primarily on special teams. As a returnman he made appearances in 14 games for Seattle, returning 18 kicks for 334 yards.

wcwlaf92 eharrisElroy was not retained for the 1990 season, but with the WLAF on the horizon, he made an excellent candidate for the league. Originally a draft pick of the Montreal Machine, Harris had a speedy debut against the Birmingham Fire.  Elroy managed to squeeze out 250 yards and 2 TDs, but found himself cut after Week 4. It’s always been a mystery to me as to why it happened, but regardless, the Machine were content with Ricky Johnson taking the lionshare of the workload to go along with Broderick Sargent.

Elroy did not go unemployed for long. He quickly was picked up by a familiar foe- the Birmingham Fire, whose coach, Chan Gailey is a mastermind (even today) of squeezing the most out of players that he can in his offensive systems. Harris stepped into the lineup and contributed another 290 yards and a TD, finishing 4th in the league in rushing, and helping the Fire make the playoffs.

Elroy returned to the Birmingham Fire for the 1992 season, and put up a respectable 470 yards on the ground and 5 TDs, sharing the backfield with Jim Bell as the Fire returned to the playoffs.

psetwlaf91 eharrisWhy looking for Elroy Harris for 7 years sticks out in my mind is because he has a card in each set that’s very nice looking.  I thought that finding him was going to be much easier than this, but who would’ve thought there were hundreds of Elroy Harris’s across the United States? It took a bit of extra effort cross referencing cards and public data to finally track down the elusive Fire runningback. While I just threw a prayer to the wind, I had a gnawing feeling that this address was the one. I was just surprised to get a response so quickly, and a nice note to boot. Elroy is currently a head mechanic and a coach at his local high school. Apparently he gets little fanmail, as he was really happy to receive this treat letter from me and wished my father and me all the best.

NFL  14/0     RUSH 8   YDS 23   AVG 2.9    TD 0   LG 8
REC 3   YDS 26    AVG 8.7   TD 0   LG 11
KR  18    YDS 334     AVG 18.6     TD 0   LG 25

WLAF   RUSH 271    YDS 1010   AVG 3.7    TD 8  LG 41
REC  17     YDS 83     AVG 4.9      TD 1     LG 16