Tag Archives: proset 1991

Friesz, John ‘Deep Freeze’ (2)

Cards: Score 1990, ProSet 1991, Topps Stadium Club Members Choice 1992, GameDay 1992, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/10   Received: 10/29    (19 days)
See Also: John Friesz 

I had gotten John way, way back through the Chargers back in 1992, and always had hoped to come back around and get these remaining cards signed by him. He had some really nice and unique images and canvases to work with over the years, and he had a bunch of them. 

His GameDay card was something I didn’t even know that really existed. I bought a box of the set in 2017, and was really charmed by this card. It was really what set me into action to go ahead and seek him out for a second pass at some autographs. It’s a pretty well framed shot, despite the slight blur on his left hand.

For some reason, his Score 1990 rookie was somewhat of a rare find initially. I think between myself and my friend Josh we opened 2 or 3 boxes and I just ran across one of these cards. So few players can get away with wearing yellow like this, but John looks pretty solid in that action shot, which represented his earliest rookie card. John’s Stadium Club and Pro Set cards make me feel like I should understand why he won the starting QB job over Billy Joe Tolliver in SD. They both seem to convey this sense of leadership that he has on his almost strained face.

I wasn’t too big a fan of Topps Stadium Club. Their 1991 set had a soft entry into the market, but they really played it up for 1992, and while I sparingly get them autographed, I really liked this card- even the hokey ‘Members Choice’ banner. It’s a really clear, high resolution image, and even John barking out an audible at the line of scrimmage looks impressive.

His Pro Set 1991 card was a part of the update set that was done later, and back then I was just too nervous to risk sending out his ProSet rookie card- little less from the 1991 update set. It’s a great picture, even if Friesz’s throwing motion looks a bit awkward in this image.

As a set I really liked Skybox 1992. It was a well designed and exciting foray into an already burgeoning football card market. (Skybox was able to weather the market longer, and was later purchased by Marvel if I’m correct, and then eventually dissolved when the market completely came apart.) This was one of the few Skybox cards however that didn’t really excite me. The framing of John just seems too perfect while the image itself at just the right distance. Note that neither of his hands or feet are visible, making this shot somewhat unappealing.

John turned around my greedy request in less than 30 days. A friend to the TTM community, John is a solid responder through the mail from Idaho, and graciously signed these 5 cards for me.

Lee, Carl

Cards: ProSet 1991 All NFC Team, ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 1/7/19 Received: 2/9/19 (31 days)

Carl Lee played defensive back for the Marshall Thundering Herd where he was primarily known as a speed merchant. He recorded 3 interceptions over his time at Marshall and was selected in the 7th round of the 1983 NFL Draft. It is notable as Carl was the 35th DB off the board, but would go on to have a stellar NFL career.

In 84 he’d notch a career high 100 tackles playing at free safety, before making the transition to corner where he’d play for the remainder of his career. Carl’s best season came in 1988 when he finished second in the league with 8 interceptions for 118 yards and a league leading 2 touchdowns. He’d earn his first of 3 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances for the Vikings top rated defense and play with the franchise through 1993. He’d play one final season in 1994 for the New Orleans Saints and retire.

Since that time, Carl has spent time coaching at the college level and was head coach for West Virginia State from 1996-2005. He was also inducted into the Thundering Herd Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 for his contributions in both football and track.

Carl signed these 3 cards for me in roughly 30 days. A dependable signer, Carl has a very good autograph, that is encapsulated well on all 3 of these canvases. Pro Set for once fell on its face with their contribution. It’s a good action shot on their 1989 entry but it feels notably dated with the artifacts floating around on top of the photo shot. His 91 Pro Set All-NFC card illustration is top notch however and the black autograph over the white canvas is striking. I really liked this Action Packed 1990 card. The lighting is excellent on this photo and it has the right amount of pop.

G/GSTACSACFUM
181/15280107
INTYDSAVGTDLG
3135211.3258T

Burns, Jerry

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 11/21 Received: 12/23 (32 days)

Jerry Burns played quarterback at Michigan from 1947-1950. He quietly ascended the college ranks, including a head coaching stop at Iowa. In 1967, Burns joined Vince Lombardi’s staff at Green Bay. He’d serve on Lombardi’s staff for the Packers Super Bowl I and II victories before Jerry was poached by division rival Minnesota, to serve as head coach Bud Grant’s offensive coordinator.

Jerry was forward thinking for the time. Arguably he can be considered one of the pioneers of what was later popularized as the West Coast Offense, as his team’s short to intermediate passing game, supported by runningbacks predated the Walsh era by a few years with Fran Tarkenton. Jerry served as offensive coordinator for 18 years- eventually succeeding Grant as head coach in 1986.

As head coach, Burns guided the Vikings to the playoffs from 1987 to 1989, losing to the Redskins in the 1987 NFL Championship Game, and then the 49ers in the divisional round in both 1988 and 1989. His teams were actually known more for stacked defensive talent than anything else, and he posted a 52-43 record over 6 seasons. Burns retired after the 1991 season, after posting an 8-8 record.

I love writing players who share with me history and information about their lives, and I had heard that Jerry loves getting fan mail, so I thought it was worth the shot. About a month later I received this very nice letter in the mail from his daughter, Kelly. Jerry is in his 90s now, and getting him to recall these memories makes him feel great. She kindly paraphrased and wrote down Jerry’s responses to my questions.

What was your favorite moment as a coach?

“He’s had so many wonderful moments but finally becoming the Vikings Head Coach!”

________________________________________________________________

Did you have a signature Bread and Butter play you liked to call?

Of course- being an offensive guy- the pass was his favorite- short pass and run!!

________________________________________________________________

Who was your favorite player to coach over the years?

Ricky Young and my Dad have always been close- and to this day!! They are super close!!

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What is your secret to longevity?

My beautiful wife who has always been my best friend and who has always cared for me- and my family.

Kelly and the Burns family humbled me by thanking me for my letter and letting me know that they very much enjoyed it.