Tag Archives: proset 1991

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

Ervins, Ricky (2) ‘Pinball Wizard’


Cards: Star Pics 1991, Score 1991, Score Supplemental 1991, ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent: 4/7/16  Received: 7/8/16   (92 days)
See Also: Ricky Ervins

I had wondered at some points if I had walked on the same streets where Ricky  grew up in Pasadena, CA and then later went to college at USC.  He has a stack of really nice cards from during the heyday of my collecting years, and Ricky is a really kind and reliable signer through the mail, so I thought I’d dig out the best and revisit him.

I really liked Ricky’s photo from his Score 1991 entry. It showcases him making a quick, low to the ground cut. He had a lot of power in a small package, and was likened to a pinball due to Ricky’s strong sense of balance and ability to bounce off of tacklers and stay upright.  Ervin’s Pro Set entry was sort of a gimme- since the company still had some really exceptional action shots. This one was from a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Score’s Supplemental set photo was equally as good, with him charging forward, in the shadow of his own endzone. Although his football career was punctuated by injury, Ervin’s short time in the league saw some great highlights, including helping the Redskins win SuperBowl XXVI. He runs Xtreme Xplosion, a sports facility in Fairfax, VA that focuses adult and youth players on guided training, and improving  conditioning,  speed, strength and agility.

 

Word, Barry

pset90 bword pset91 bword cpotyCards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991 CPotY, Score Supplemental 1990, GameDay 1992, Action Packed 1991.
Acquired: 2016, Philadelphia Exchange Paid Signing

Barry Word was a surprising comeback story. Out of football for over a year and working for a telephone company in Virginia, Word was called up by the Chiefs to attend camp in 1990. He not only made the squad, Word made a potent one two punch with Christian Okoye. Possessing a similar downhill running style to the Nigerian Nightmare, Barry had 204 carries for 1015 yards and 4 TDs- netting himself NFL Comeback Player of the Year Honors.

sco90sup bwordBarry was originally a 3rd round pick by the New Orleans Saints out of Virginia in 1985. Over his 4 year career for the Cavaliers, Word rushed 405 times for 2257 yards, and 17 TDs. The problem is that Barry tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. The Saints didn’t have a problem with that. They had a problem with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine that he got busted for. The Saints let him go, but retained his rights, while Barry bode his time in ap91 bwordprison.

Word returned to the Saints in 1987.  He suited up for 12 games, and started 1 contest rushing 36 times for 133 yards and 2 TDs.  The Saints were knee deep at runningback however, and in 1988, Barry just suited up for only 2 games. He’d spend the entire 1989 season out of football.

With Barry’s comeback complete, he’d play for Kansas City in 1991 gday92 bwordand 1992. He’d be an excellent insurance policy for Okoye in the meantime. In 1993, Barry was traded to the Vikings.  He’d start 8 games for Minnesota, rushing for 458 yards and 2 TDs on 142 carries. Word then signed with the Arizona Cardinals for the ’94 season, but did not see any action.

He’d retire and has been a difficult find through the mail. I decided to do a paid signing for the enigmatic back through the Philadelphia Connection. The price was so reasonable I was able to get 5 cards signed by him. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Barry Word’s autograph is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. It’s up there with George Zimmer from Men’s Wearhouse with just the ‘B’ and the ‘W’ being legible. The rest is well- there at least. Some great cards however of Barry graced his short lived career. Of them the ProSet 1990 is quite dynamic, and briefly during the short lived heyday of the card boom, along with its Score counterpart were valuable cards. It’s a shame that speculation and over production killed the market so badly its never completely recovered.

G/GS 72/26     Rush 705      Yds 2897     Avg 4.1      Td 16     Lg 53
Rec 30        Yds 280        Avg 9.3        Td 0       Lg 27