Tag Archives: los angeles rams

Hill, Drew (1956-2011)

Cards: Topps 1982, Fleer 1990, Proset 1990, Proset 1991.
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1990, TTM, C/o Home 2010
Sent: 3/26    Received 4/6  (11 days)

Drew Hill is a receiver who has gotten no respect. Barely a blip went by when in the 12th round the speedster out of Georgia Tech was selected by the Rams in the 1979 draft. In the beginning of his career the LA Rams used Hill primarily as a kick returner. By his final season with LA in 1984 Drew would finally be getting some credit as a receiver pulling down a monstrous 27.9 yards per catch on 14 receptions. Hill was traded to the very bad Houston Oilers squad in 1985 and immediately started paying dividends as Warren Moon‘s primary receiver. Over the course of the next 7 years Hill grabbed 634 receptions and 7477 yards and stretched defensive secondaries to their limit, averaging an electrifying 15.5 yards per catch, including a 20.2 yard average on 49 receptions in 1987.  He went to the ProBowl in 1988 and 1990 and tied Haywood Jeffires for the AFC lead in receptions with 72 catches. In 1992 the Oilers let Drew go via free agency. The knock on him was that he was too old at 36. He signed with his homestate Falcons, being reunited with former Oiler coach Jerry Glanville and put over 1000 yards into his Falcon career, retiring after the 1993 season as an Atlanta Falcon. Hill at the time of his departure from the Oilers was the all time leader in catches and yards, and second in touchdowns. He averaged an amazing 70.5 yards per game with the Oilers. (Since then his records were broken by Haywood Jeffires and Ernest Givins.)  Among Drew Hill’s lesser known accomplishments is that he is the first person to score a touchdown in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s beating HoF member James Lofton by a game and ironically (to Bud Adams chagrin,) he was the first player to notch four 1,000 yard seasons after the age of 30.

Drew since retirement has returned to his Georgia roots where he lives in relative anonymity. I sent for his autograph TTM after locating his address on another site. I did a bit of research on him and was dismayed that somebody with the same name had been posing as him claiming to be a fine artist. When Drew wrote back, he informed me that the artist “wasn’t me.” Although slightly embarrassing to me, I hope it called attention to him that there was somebody out there usurping his good name.

I got Drew’s autograph after training camp in 1990 one day where he was thoroughly exhausted. He was a really nice guy, but of few words. His autograph felt like his personality (understated) and I really wanted to get it again when I decided to mail out to some of my favorite Oilers earlier this year.  I was really angry when the team let him go via free agency and felt when they did it exposed a chink in the team’s armor.

Games  147      Rec 634         Yds 9831           Avg 15.5          TD 60         LG  81t

FOLLOWUP:

11/25/2010

Less than two weeks after I wrote this, I was contacted by Jerry Crowe of the LA Times for an interview about ‘the real Drew Hill’. Apparently Mr. Crowe had been visiting the Men’s Central Jail poking around about ‘the artist’ Drew Hill being in jail, not knowing his fake identity. When he asked them about Mr. Hill, the corrections officers revealed to Jerry that ‘the artist’ was not the real Drew Hill, referring to my website as supplemental proof.  (Thanks corrections office! You know who you are.)

Amused, Jerry tracked me down, and contacted me for an interview since I was living locally in the area so that he could have ‘more ammo’ for his talk with the artist inmate. We discussed my brief involvement in the situation, how I had been in touch with the ‘real’ Drew Hill via the mail, and that Jerry had indeed spoken to and interviewed ‘the real’ Drew Hill in Georgia. He said that he may use my information in a further interview with the inmate and was amazed by what a small world this was with the coincidental timing of the situation, my post and the fact I lived in the greater LA area, but none of this unfortunately ever made the article and thusly I get no props for my super ‘sleuthiness’. You can read the article in its entirety here. A second article is a follow-up from the Santa Monica Daily Press, where the original call for help was issued for the impostor.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/26/sports/la-sp-crowe-20100927
http://www.smdp.com/pdf/100110.pdf

3/19/2011

On Thursday March 17th, 2011, Drew was golfing and fell ill. Although he was transported to the hospital shortly thereafter, Hill suffered two strokes and passed away on March 18th, 2011.  He was 54. It should be noted that the Associated Press even got some of his information wrong, stating not only the wrong date on his All Pro seasons, but also that he was an artist, – a claim that he disputed when I sent him mail last year.

Flutie, Doug

Cards: All World CFL 1991, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM C/o CFL

Doug Flutie is a player who has seemed to have an amazing amount of luck and heart follow him to every stop along the way in football. A heartwarming story, Flutie was considered well undersized to be a quarterback in the NFL after a storied career at Boston College where he threw a hail mary against the University of Miami in 1984 and won the Heisman Trophy that year.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the NFL draft, Flutie opted to sign on with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. In 1986 he signed with the Chicago Bears and then was on board with the Patriots, where got the starting duty in 1988. Unable to keep the starting job he was cut in 1990 where he signed with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 1990. The wide open fields of the CFL allowed Flutie to flourish and polish his game. Doug was a quarterback who kept teams honest with his feet and was an avid scrambler. Flutie became the ‘Michael Jordan’ of the CFL, setting the record for yards in a season with 6619 yards, touchdowns with 48, and was named the most outstanding player of the CFL a record 6 times.  Doug won the Grey Cup MVP with the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts (twice and back to back). Returning with a vengeance to the NFL in 1998 to the Buffalo Bills, he was named comeback player of the year and took the team to the playoffs and named to the Pro Bowl, but Doug didn’t ever win the respect of management, as he was replaced by de facto starter Rob Johnson, who had returned from a season long injury. The quarterback controversy continued well into 1999, where Doug went 4-1 and Johnson went 4-7. In 2000, Doug was unceremoniously cut by the Bills and signed with the Chargers in 2001, who were reeling from the Ryan Leaf days. He would stay on board to tutor a young Drew Brees when he was drafted in 2002 and played sparingly for the team through 2005. With gas still in the tank, Flutie signed with the New England Patriots in 2005 to back up Tom Brady and retired at the beginning of the 2006 preseason.

Flutie has a variety of age related records to his accomplishment, and was the first player to drop kick an extra point since 1941. Although Doug did not find lasting success in the NFL, he has been enshrined into the CFL HoF, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the College Football Hall of Fame. He stays active playing basketball, and sponsors his own brand of breakfast cereal “Flutie Flakes” with the proceeds going to charities dealing in autism. Doug also plays drums for his family’s band, the “Flutie Brothers Band”.  Doug is an excellent commentator and also handled  color commentary for the United Football League games.

Games 136    Att 4854       Comp 2975        Pct 61.3         Yds 41355              Td  270         Int 155    Lg 106t

Pardee, Jack (1936-2013)

Cards: Proline Portraits 1992, Pro Set 1990, Pro Set 1991, Topps 1970.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home.
Sent: 3/26    Received:  4/1    (6 days)

I went through Fanmail.biz to locate Jack’s address, putting a request up on the message board. One of the admins was kind enough to respond with his address. I wrote to Jack that night to discuss the book “Oiler Blues” and he responded in a record 6 days to my request.

Jack Pardee took over as coach of the Oilers from Jerry Glanville, and the difference in personality was night and day. While Glanville was firey and emotional, Jack, was much on par with the personality of Tom Landry. Subdued was basically an understatement of Pardee’s restraint. Jack would bring with him from the University of Houston (and the USFL,) the Run ‘N Shoot offense that the Oilers would employ full time.  Jack would pull the Oilers over the hump, as he would become the only coach in the history of the Houston franchise to take the AFC Central title, which he would take in 91 and again in 93.  The 1993 team would also grab the best record in the league at 12-4. Despite going forward, the Oilers always seemed to freeze in the playoffs, being victims of the infamous ‘Comeback’ game, and also Montana’s last playoff run. Pardee was infamously ordered by owner Bud Adams to wear a headset on the sidelines, mitigate the circus that was Buddy Ryan and the furor that ensued when the team fined David Williams for ‘Babygate’. These dramatic elements would be the end of the ‘golden age’ for me in football. In 1994 the team collapsed without Warren Moon at the helm, and after going 1-9 Jack Pardee resigned. His young defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher took over from there and within a few months owner Bud Adams was whining about a new stadium.

One of the infamous ‘Junction Boys’, Jack in addition to coaching days also played in the NFL from 1957-1973 as a linebacker conquering melanoma along the way.  He then jumped ship to head coaching for the Blazers and Fire of the WFL, and then onto the NFL as the coach of the Bears and Redskins, and as a defensive coordinator for the Chargers. Coaching continued to be in his blood as he then coached in the USFL for the Gamblers, and then over to the Cougars with a record setting offense, before coming to the Oilers in 1990. In 1995 he coached in the CFL and then entered a period of semi retirement where he runs his ranch in Gause, Tx outside of Houston. In 2010, a wonderful article was written about him from CNNSI where it was revealed that he would jump at the opportunity to coach again even at the age of 73. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jeff_pearlman/01/22/pardee/index.html

Games 196  tac n/a    sac  n/a     Fum 17    Int  22    yards 305  Td  5  Lng 46
Wins   87   Losses 77   Pct .530

UPDATE: On April 1st, 2013, Jack Pardee passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.