Tag Archives: score 1989

Hoge, Merril

Cards: Score 1989, Score 1990, Action Packed 1991, Fleer 1990
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20   Received: 10/27      (7 days)
Failure: 2011, C/o Home

Merril Hoge. Few players angered me more than Merril Hoge during the Red Gun/ Run ‘N Shoot era of the Houston Oilers. I considered him an ‘arch’ and he loved saying nasty things about the upstart Oilers, who by 1987 had started becoming bullies in the AFC Central under head coach Jerry Glanville. The Steelers had finally gone into a deep depression, and the Oilers were eager to take the stick to their rivals. Nobody expected much of the Steelers in 1989 as they had just come off of a 5-11 record from the previous year. Despite this they rallied down the stretch and put together a 9-7 record. The Oilers had thumped the Steelers twice during the regular season, but they’d be denied in the playoffs losing 26-23, causing Jerry to lose his job. I want to even say that Hoge said something to the media nasty about the Oilers, and it just stuck with me all those years.

I remember opening up my first packs of cards, and in a lot of cases, there was a Merril Hoge card to twist the knife just a little more. Even when I played Tecmo Super Bowl, I was reticent to use Merril because of the fact that he epitomized that Steelers working man mantra and the upset that made me so sore. Then after his playing days concluded, he became a commentator, and the Oilers left Houston even- I still got a furrowed brow when he’d come on ESPN. 


Dependable fullback Merril Hoge played for the Idaho State Bengals (a fact often repeated by national commentators almost every time he touched the ball) from 1983 to 1986. He finished his 4 years there with almost 5500 all-purpose yards, but more importantly the Big Sky Conference despite its trappings, prepared him for the rigors of pro level offenses.

After being selected in the 10th round of the 1987 draft, Merril played 7 seasons for the Steelers at fullback.  A versatile player out of the backfield, Merril was an excellent receiver and blocker who was rarely missed an assignment.  He had a career high 772 yards rushing in 1990, and a career high 487 yards receiving in 1988.

In 1994, Merril signed with the Chicago Bears, but suffered a terrible neck injury ending his career. Merril is also a cancer survivor beating non-hodskin’s lymphoma. 

Merril had a great selection of cards, so it was tough to even settle on just these 4. His Score 1990 is one of my favorite, and was from a rain soaked affair versus the Miami Dolphins that year. (Sammie Smith has a corresponding card from that game, and Mike Mularkey has been immortalized in a sports photo from that game that ProSet did.)  His Action Packed 1991 card does everything right in this one, and the determination on Merril’s face really makes you feel as though you are a part of the action.

G/GSRUSHYDSAVGTDLG
114/8482531393.82141
RECYDSAVGTDLG
25421338.41340

Carson, Carlos ‘Speedy’

Cards: ProSet 1989, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 8/23     Received: 10/13   (51 days)

Another in a quiet, long line of receiving talent from Louisiana State University, Carlos Carson played for the Tigers from 1977-1979. He had an improbable 10 touchdown catches on 23 receptions in 1977, displaying fleet speed averaging 24 yards a catch. Selected in the 5th round of the 1980 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Carlos had to initially cut his teeth at the pro level on special teams.

Carlos caught his first professional touchdown- a 53 yard barn burner on the opening weekend of 1981 in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His production slowly ramped up over the years. In 1983 Carson earned his first Pro Bowl appearance when he had 80 receptions for 1351 yards and 7 TDs to lead the AFC. He had an equally impressive 1984 catching 57 passes for 1078 yards and 4 TDs. In 1987 Carlos logged 55 catches for 1044 yards and 7 TDs during a strike shortened season, earning his second and final Pro Bowl berth.

Carlos continued his career through 1989, splitting time with the Chiefs and Eagles in his final season. His 6360 receiving yards with the Chiefs over 10 seasons is no small matter, and his career 18.1 yards per catch is a franchise record. Carson played for a Chiefs franchise at the advent of the modern era passing game. Kansas City was caught flat footed, and frequently was undermanned at quarterback during his whole career.

KC doesn’t have a long line of wide receivers in their Ring of Honor, with just Chris Buford (1975) and Otis Taylor (1982) in it, so when Carlos was inducted in 2017- it was a great and long overdue honor. Carson is also a member of the Chiefs 40th Anniversary Team.
 

G/GSRECYDSAVGTDLG
120/92353637218.13381t
KRYDSAVGTDLG
57124621.9048

Green, Gaston

Cards: GameDay 1992, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 12/31/17 Received: 1/12/18 (12 days)

At the time of his graduation from UCLA, Gaston Green stood atop the Bruins’ career rushing charts with 3,731 yards. After trading Eric Dickerson, John Robinson was looking to reload the Rams offense. The Rams had other needs as well, but when the #1 back in the draft plops in your lap at #14, you take him. There were quite a few recognizable names in the 1988 NFL Draft. The most notable name was Thurman Thomas, selected near the top of Round 2. John Stephens, taken a few picks after Gaston, won the 1988 Rookie of the Year Honors. Other names that rounded out this group were: Lorenzo White, Ickey Woods, Brad Muster, Craig Heyward, and Lars Tate. With the surprise emergence of afterthought Greg Bell in LA, Gaston played sparingly for the Rams, biding his time primarily on special teams. After 3 seasons behind Bell, Cleveland Gary, Robert Delpino, and Marcus Dupree– Gaston was traded by the Rams to Denver in 1991.

The Broncos were a run first squad as well. It was good timing as starter Bobby Humphrey was holding out. Gaston took over as starter and didn’t look back. He had his best season as a pro posting 1,037 yards on 261 carries, and 4 touchdowns, earning Green his only Pro Bowl appearance. In 1992, he had 648 yards on 161 carries. After the season he signed with the Los Angeles Raiders, but opted to retire instead. It really worked out best this way for Gaston, as he retired before he was 30 with his health still intact.

Great cards of Gaston. In fact, nearly all the card images of Green from his playing days are amazing. It was really tough to choose between his GameDay, Action Packed, Score, and ProSet entries, but these two were among my favorites. I have a box that I keep of players that I really want and when Gaston popped up, I dashed a letter out the door to him the next day.

G/GS 58/28       Rush 551      Yds 2136      Avg 3.9      TD 6      LG 67t
Rec 32      Yds 232      Avg 7.3       Td 1      Lg 33
Kr 47      Yds 981       Avg 20.9      Td 1      Lg 99t