Tag Archives: shreveport pirates

Pawlawski, Mike

Cards: Topps XFL 2001, Classic Blister 1992, Gameday 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent:  3/17     Received:  4/10  (24  days)

Mike Pawlawski has enjoyed nothing but one of the more curious professional football careers. It all started back in 1992 when the highly decorated signal caller from Cal was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 8th round. He spent one year with the team and the next two out of football.

Mike reignited his football career when he joined the Arena Football League. First with the SabreCats, and then later with the Miami Hooters in 1995. (- Yes named after the Hooters restaurant franchise.) He played one season with the team (66/133, 674 yards, and 6 TDs) in primarily relief duty. He also spent time in the CFL with their USA invasion as a member of the Shreveport Pirates. Mike jumped to the Albany Firebirds the following year- and really impressed (22/35, 296 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT) in limited play.  It’d be in 1997 that Pawlawski came into his own as a starter. He’d throw for 4,272 yards and 69 TDs on 509 attempts. For the next 3 seasons he’d be the unquestioned starter of the Firebirds and threw for at least 70 touchdowns in each year.

He heard the siren call of the XFL in 2001 and joined the fledgling league and be the starting quarterback for the San Fransisco Demons. In the lone season for the league Pawlawski finished second to only Tommy Maddox in passing, while leading the team to the Million Dollar Game. With the XFL hemorrhaging money and with bad TV ratings, the league shut down after the lone season.

Mike retired due to injuries and followed his passions for the outdoors, working on the show Gridiron Outdoors. He also does color commentating for Cal games for a variety of networks.

Mike was kind enough to sign these three cards in about a month’s time, however I wish he actually had a sharpie handy as his autograph gets lost on these canvases.

ARENA    ATT 2045   CPD 1351   YDS  16673
TD  303    INT 45   RAT 118.98
R 93    YDS 181    TD 19

XFL   ATT  297    CPD  186   YDS 1659    TD 12   INT  4

Fenerty, Gill “Gill the Thrill”

Cards: Topps 1992, GameDay 1992, ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent: 5/10   Received: 10/26   (169 days*)
*Slight delay. Forwarded from old address.

One of my longer waits this season, Gill Fenerty responded in roughly 6 months to my autograph request. I had given up on this one, so to get it back, especially when I had newer stakes in the fire, and on top of the problems with my forwarded mail, it was a nice charge to my slower than normal month. I like guys like Gill- a real blast from the past. I love his Topps card. Even though he’s in a two point stance, Gill looks ready to launch off the line like an armored tank.

It’s safe to say that Gill Fenerty is probably tiny Catholic College Holy Cross’ most famed football graduate. The Crusaders’ do it all runningback would be drafted out of college in 1986 in the 7th round by his hometown Saints, after finishing as the school’s all-time leading rusher but opted to play in Italy of all places instead. He’d sign with the Argonauts of the CFL in 1987, and tear it up North of the border posting 625 carries for 3094 yards, a 5.0 average and 32 touchdowns over the next 3 season. Gill also contributed 140 receptions for 1190 yards and 7 touchdowns. With a short career in the CFL, he left a lasting legacy by setting team marks for rushing yards in a season (1247), in a game (215),  CFL Rookie of the Year Honors, in addition to CFL All Star Honors for every season he played in the gridiron league.

In 1990, The Thrill would return home to his native New Orleans Saints. Raised in NO, Fenerty came into a runningback corps that had proven 1,000 yard talents Reuben Mayes and Dalton Hilliard in the backfield. -Even the fullback, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward could’ve been a featured starter on many squads. Undaunted, Gill joined the squad and quickly endeared himself to fans as a hometown favorite that did it all for the Saints rushing, receiving, and kick returning.

With Bobby Hebert sitting out the 1990 season, the team went to bat with Steve Walsh and John Fourcade as starters at quarterback. Both Reuben Mayes and Dalton Hilliard suffered season ending injuries allowing Fenerty to step into the lineup as a key contributor for the team.  He’d finish with 355 yards rushing, 209 yards receiving, and 572 on kick returns.  In 1991, Thrill started 12 games for the team, as Hebert would return to the starting lineup and guide the team to its first division title. Fenerty had excellent hands. He’d lead all runningbacks out of the backfield with 26 receptions in 1991 but was not retained by the squad for 1992.  After his playing time with the Saints, Fennerty signed with the Shreveport Pirates and played one season for the expansion CFLUSA franchise before retiring.  Most notably Gill is immortalized as one of the better return men in Tecmo Super Bowl.  He currently lives in the Atlanta area and is a successful CPA.

G/Gs 31/12     Rush 212     Yds  832        Avg 3.9        Td 5      Lg 60t      |
Rec  44   Yds 444    Avg 10.1    Td 2    Lg  50
KR   30    Yds 600    Avg 20.0    Td 0     Lg  58



Johnson, Mike (2)

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, WildCard WLAF 1992
Acquired: In Person 2011, UCLA Fall Scrimmage
Failure: TTM 1994, 2010, C/o The BC Lions, C/o The San Fransisco 49ers
See Also: Mike Johnson

Finally, it’s over. I’ve been after Mike Johnson for years now. I’ve sent off for him twice: First in 1994 when he was on the roster of the BC Lions in the CFL and second in 2010 when he was offensive coordinator of the San Fransisco 49ers.  Last year after Mike Singeltary‘s staff was blown up, Mike traveled down the coast and was hired by the UCLA staff to run the offense, putting him literally 10 miles from me. I emailed him a few months ago trying to see if I could get his autograph that way. No response.  I then thought about showing up at UCLA and wandering around until I found him, but in the end learned of UCLAs Fall Scrimmage at Drake Stadium and planned around that instead.

The scrimmage was a lot of fun. I drug my girlfriend around with me to the event and was able to corner him, after Jerry Rice (whose son Jerry Rice Jr, plays for the Bruins) refused to sign cards for anybody. I was perfectly happy with getting his Mike’s autograph as he was really who I wanted the most. He signed the Wild Card and then had to do an interview. Afterwards he signed the additional Ultimate WLAF cards and took a photo with me.

He was surprised that I was a big fan of the Riders and told me that he remembered the infamous ‘hail storm’ game down in San Marcos. I gave him the extras I had, but I think I scared him because I let my geek hang out way too much.  Still that knocks off an elusive WLAF player that I had been after for some time.