Tag Archives: New York Giants

Baker, Stephen ‘The Touchdown Maker’

Cards: ProSet 1991 SBXXV, ProSet 1991, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 2/6   Received: 2/24     (22 days)

Stephen Baker the Touchdown Maker. Back in the Stone Ages of Giants football, before they developed an aerial attack of note (well except for that fluke season when Simms passed for 5,000 yards) the Giants just had no… panache to their wide receiver corps. They had lunch pail guys like Lionel Manuel and Odessa Turner, but relied heavily on a plodding ground game and Mark Bavaro to make the offense click.  In stepped Stephen Baker, a dangerous speedster out of none other than Fresno State.

Fresno State provided a wonderful wide receiver pipeline to the NFL during the 80s. A JC transfer, Stephen saw two years of action with the Bulldogs, posting gaudy numbers with 29 receptions for 844 yards, a 29.1 average, and 3 TDs in 1985, and 33 receptions for 785 yards and 7 TDs in 1986.  The Touchdown Maker was selected in the 3rd round of the 1987 Draft by the New York Giants.  Baker did not disappoint in his long range antics. Over his 6 seasons in the NFL he posted no less than 16 yards per reception, including a career high 20.8 YPR in 1990. The season also marked his most impressionable under the gun, as he scored a TD in the Giants 20-19 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.  (The game to me is considered one of the most exciting Super Bowls in league history.)

Baker went on to play for the Gaints for two more additional seasons after the Super Bowl.

The Giants had gone through some coaching changes after the Super Bowl win. Bill Parcells left the team in Ray Handley’s hands. The Giants slipped in both seasons and by 1993 Dan Reeves was coaching the team.  Baker was released. He toyed with the idea of signing with the Browns and reuniting with Bill Belichick, but completely blew out his back. He consulted many doctors, but they advised him to retire.

As of 2017, the Touchdown Maker enjoys fan meet-and-greets for the Giants, and spending his spare time in photography. He also avidly flies radio controlled helicopters, planes, and quads.

The Score 1989 card of Stephen Baker is one of the reasons Topps got clobbered in the market that year. It’s a high quality photo of Baker in action about to make the catch and the shadows and color really pop.  Stephen Baker signed these 3 cards for me, and included a really nice note encouraging me to connect with him through social media.

G/Gs 90/52     Rec 141      Yds 2587       Avg 18.3      TD 21    LG 85t

Thomas, Pete

sage15 pthomasCard: Sage 2015
Acquired: 2016, Hobby Box Breaker

Pete Thomas is an intriguing quarterback prospect with a history reminiscent of former pocket passer- Pitt QB Tom Savage. A rare 2 school transfer, Thomas’ long march originally started with the Colorado State in 2010.  He’d spend two years with the Rams and play in 21 games.  Pete put up a decent statline, going 414/652, for 9117 yards, with 36 TDs to 36 picks.  Sitting out a year, Thomas played in 9 games in 2013 for the NC State Wolfpack.  He’d throw 9 TDs, and complete 149 of 247 attempts.

Thomas again changed gears after the 2013 campaign, and transferred to Louisiana-Monroe.  Pete had a good year with the Warhawks, with 301 completions on 501 attempts, 3181 yards and 14 touchdowns. Going undrafted in 2015, Pete was an early mini-camp arm for the San Diego Chargers and New York Giants, but was unable to stick.

Eventually Pete signed with the Minnesota Havok of the Indoor Football League, but the team folded before it even took the field.  Released from his contract he was assigned by the Arena Football League in 2016 to the LA KISS.  Thomas came in during the first game of the 2016 season and didn’t relinquish the starting job all season, leading the team into the playoffs. Pete for the record completed 166 of 294 attempts for 2094 yards, 42 TDs and 8 INT. As the Arena Football League went through a massive reorganization the LA Kiss bowed out of the league. Thomas had his rookie option exercised  by the Tampa Bay Storm for 2017.

Demps, Quintin

Cards:  SP Authentics 2008 (351/1399), Playoff Contenders 2008, Bowman 2008, TNT UFL 2011
Acquired:  In Person 2016, Houston Texans Battle Red Stampede Tour

What a long, strange, windy road its been for Quintin Demps.  A ballhawk at safety, Demps punctuated his career with the rare accomplishment of two 100 yard interception returns for touchdowns. He also recorded a total of 17 career interceptions while playing at Texas-El Paso.  His combine numbers were encouraging enough, and again he proved that he had the wheels to be in the pros with a 4.39 40 combine showing.  Scouts scrutinized his tape and did not like his fundamentals. They thought he was a sloppy tackler, didn’t have the size (5’11”) to play safety, and despite his 40 showing, scouts were doubtful he could transition to cornerback because of a perceived lack of speed at the second level. Demps was selected in the 4th round of the 2008 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

He set out to prove scouts wrong, and as a kick returner Quintin had a solid debut with 52 returns for 1314 yards, a 25.3 yard average, and a TD on a 100 yard return.  He did not see any playing time as a starter, but recorded his first sack and forced fumble playing sparingly on defense during his rookie season.  Quintin didn’t see much time playing for the Eagles in 2009 either. He’d be released among the final cut downs in 2010.

Unable to find a team, Quintin signed with the Hartford Colonials of the fledgling United Football League mid-season and made an immediate impact. He recorded 8 tackles, and a spectacular interception against the Las Vegas Locos, returning it 73 yards to paydirt.  The Texans liked what they saw and took a flyer on the young defensive back, stashing him behind  Bernard Pollard, Eugene Wilson, and Troy Nolan as a special teamer.

In the off-season the Texans fired defensive coordinator Frank Bush. In came Wade Phillips to retool everything. After releasing Pollard and Wilson, Houston made many free agent moves, including bringing in Danieal Manning. They also drafted Brandon Harris and Shiloh Keo.  By the end of camp Demps was the odd man out, but soon thereafter was resigned by the Texans as Manning suffered a fibula injury.  He’d see more action on defense than ever before, recording 2 interceptions for 47 yards and 20 tackles in 2011. Although he missed some time in 2012 with a broken forearm, he still contributed another 21 tackles.

Left unprotected, Quintin signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. In 6 starts, he put up 4 interceptions for 61 yards and 25 tackles.  He also had his most extensive playtime since his rookie year returning kicks with 33 returns for 992 yards and a 95 yard TD. Demps then played in 2014 for the New York Giants. Demps started 9 games for the Giants, and recorded 4 interceptions for 19 yards and 41 tackles.

Demps returned ‘home’ to the Texans in 2015 and is seen in the show Hard Knocks on HBO talking to general manager Rick Smith. He was brought in to compete with veterans Stevie Brown and Rahim Moore in the safety rotation, but in the end became the starter at strong safety over Eddie Pleasant.  Demps started 13 games for the Texans hauling in an interception, 1 FF, 35 tackles, and .5 sacks. Happy with how Demps had matured like a fine wine over time, the Texans signed him again for the 2016 season.  Quintin responded with his best season as a pro, starting 13 games and pacing the team by intercepting 6 passes for 54 yards and 38 tackles. The Texans finished first in total defense for the first time after the 2016 season, largely due to the coheasive secondary play, led by Jackson, Bouye, Joseph, Hal, and Demps. Quintin gets no respect. Even though he was first at his position in interceptions on the #1 defense in the league, he didn’t earn a Pro Bowl berth. After the season, the Texans once again allowed Demps to leave for greener pastures. In March of 2017, he signed a multiyear contract with the Chicago Bears.

With one of my friends visiting from out of town, she got to see how geeky I could get about these sorts of things.  Quintin was a really cool guy at the Academy Battle Red Stampede Tour with fellow player Jonathan Grimes. Demps really liked the custom I did of him from back in the UFL days. He was amazed that I had gotten a photograph of him after he returned that interception for a TD against the Locos.  I was very proud of that find as I actually got a high resolution screen shot from the video feed of the game.  He kindly signed 4 cards for me during the event.