Tag Archives: detroit lions

Babers, Rod (4)

Card: TNT UT Legends
Acquired: IP, 2014
See Also: Rod Babers

Over the years I’ve pretty much tapped out the complete card collection of Rod Babers. He’s a great local radio personality, and a really big fan and student of sports. It seems that whenever I run into him- we pick up where we left off, promise to hang out, and never get around to it. I mean maybe its the unsaid rule I follow that is basically even if a person is a D-list celebrity you should give them a lot of space. We tried to network for a Texans game in 2017, but that fell through. In the meantime he had a fallout with 1300 the Zone, but thankfully picked up right where he was at with ESPN doing what he does best.

I decided to pop in and say hi in 2018- A year after the last time I saw him at the Texans draft party when I had accurately predicted the Texans would trade up to take Deshawn Watson. We again picked up where we left off, and just started talking sport. His team thanked me for coming by and hanging out and we chatted for a bit. It was good times. We talked briefly about the AAF and the Texans but really weren’t able to get into details since he was pretty busy.

We catch up from time to time and he’s always very personable and friendly and loves to sign autographs.

Ferguson, Joe

Cards: Topps 1982, ProSet Legends 1991
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 2/2 Received: 2/9 (7 days)

Joe Ferguson was the QB for the Bills who owned nearly all the franchise record books before Jim Kelly shattered them over the next 10 years.

A Southwest Conference Alum with the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1970 to 1972, Joe competed 327 of 611 passes for 4431 yards to 24 TDs and 32 interceptions- shattering many of the passing records at the school, and earned the Liberty Bowl MVP award in 1971. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. The team pressed him into service immediately, where he posted 3 winning seasons in a row. Ferguson played ball during the dead ball era. Regardless he led the league in a variety of categories including TDs (25, 1975), attempts (1977, 457), yards (1977, 2803), and interceptions (1977, 24. 1982, 16). In 1976 he started 7 games and threw 9 touchdowns to just 1 interception for a 90 QB rating.

With the arrival of Jim Kelly in 1985, Joe began the journeyman phase of his career. He’d play 2 seasons for the Lions as a backup, starting 5 games and posting a 2-3 record. Afterwards he’d play 3 more non-descript seasons for the Bucs (1988-1989) and the Indianapolis Colts (1990).

Joe went into coaching after his playing career wrapped up and saw stints at Louisiana Tech and Arkansas.

Perhaps most intriguing was when he joined the CFL and was the QB coach for the San Antonio Goldminers in 1995. After an injury befell starting QB David Archer, head coach Kay Stephenson needed somebody who was familiar with his offensive system. Enter backup Joe Ferguson for one final season. An ironman of football, Joe started at one point 103 consecutive games, and played 16 seasons.

Joe has also been inducted into numerous Arkansas Sports Hall of Fames, All-Century Teams, and All-Decade Teams. He also has a spot in the Bills Ring of Honor.

I loved these Legends cards made by Pro Set in 1991. I had never gotten this one when I pulled packs as a kid so I was doubly surprised when I originally saw this Corning masterpiece. Joe is a great signer, so I had been kicking the can down the road the past few years before I decided to pull the trigger on this one, and he responded in no time flat.

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186/171451923692981752.419620968.4

Millen, Matt

Cards: ProSet 1989, Topps 1990, Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 8/3/18 Received: 1/17/19 (167 days)
Failure: TTM 2015, C/o Home

Matt Millen comes from a long pedigree of great linebackers to come out of Penn State- and was an All-American in 1978. He was selected in the second round of the 1980 draft by the then Oakland Raiders. He’d go on to be the Raiders leading tackler in 1981, 1982, and 1988- earning a ProBowl nomination in the latter, and All-Pro Nominations in 1984 and 1985. Over this period Matt also won SuperBowls XV and XVIII. A vicious hitter, player, and run stopper, Matt was unceremoniously cut by the Raiders right before the 1989 season began. He’d be snatched up by the San Fransisco 49ers and go on to win another Super Bowl. Two seasons later he’d round out his career with a final Super Bowl win with the Washington Redskins.

Matt moved into the broadcast booth where he honed his skills and then later joined the Detroit Lions as their General Manager. While Matt’s tenure there was rightfully much maligned- he was also placed into a difficult rebuilding situation. A tireless worker, it is said that he essentially lived at the team’s complex working non-stop for the franchise. After being dismissed from his time with the Lions, Matt was offered a job with the Oakland Raiders but he declined, and has returned to broadcasting.

A few years ago I had shot a few cards out to Matt who was a very reliable and consistent signer. At about the same time another greedy collector sent out a request- that included 23 cards. Viewing the successes on sportscollectors.net it was incredibly frustrating to see this other person get their request completely filled- while mine never was.

When I heard that he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis- the same disease as Lions LB Mike Cofer– and that he needed a heart transplant, I thought I should send Matt another letter. I didn’t really expect anything back, and I had hoped that he’d find some small comfort in what I wrote. He was really struggling and needing a heart transplant. Six months or so later I heard he had a successful heart transplant and was already recovering from the surgery. Within a few days, I got back all 3 of these cards signed.

I was genuinely shocked, but it’s quite a credit to Matt that he’d bother to send these autographed cards back out to me and I will always treasure them a bit more than I will admit.

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180/166N/A11.0N/A
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