Tag Archives: topps 1978

Leaks, Roosevelt “Rosey”

to78 leaksto77 leaks
Cards: Topps 1977, Topps 1978
Acquired: 2/16/2013, Longhorn Neighborhood Foundation Bowling Tournament
See also: Roosevelt Leaks

After having success getting Roosevelt Leaks through the mail back in 2012, I thought I’d pull a few more cards just in case I ran into him at a Longhorn function. Rosey had also done a Longhorn Legends luncheon at Fogo De Chao later on that I wasn’t able to attend, but I only had to wait a few months more, as he was at the Longhorn Neighborhood Foundation Bowling Tournament at Highland Lanes. He signed these 2 cards, which match the Longhorn cards I sent him back in 2012 exactly. While he was signing these two cards I asked him if he’d ever grow his lambchops back. He chuckled at me and said that “No, those days are long gone.”

Pastorini, Dante ‘Dan’

Card: Topps 1977
Acquired: In Person 6/11/2012 610 Houston Fan Fest III
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

Yeah! When I think of the old Oiler players- legends, I think of guys of both the late 70s and late 80s. Before Warren Moon, Dan Pastorini was a legend in his own light, with the Midwest swagger of Joe Namath, a pretty boy face, and a cannon for an arm. He went to tiny Santa Clara college because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brother. There he set passing records and became a thing of legend at the tiny school.

The hungry Oilers, who were starving for wins, grabbed Dante with the 3rd overall pick of the 1971 draft.  (This draft is notable as it was the first time quarterbacks went 1,2,3, overall in a draft with Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning coming off the board before Dan.) It’s tough being hailed as the team’s savior, little less one for a team that hadn’t won since the days of George Blanda and Charlie Hennigan. The years were rough on Dan. Dan was a gunslinging wounded warrior with a cannon for an arm and a killer leg for punting, -but not all his injuries came from playing, which irked his coaches. Over his career Pastorini cracked ribs, separated shoulders, blew out a knee, and broke more fingers than he could remember.  He became quite the celebrity and also was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1975. During this time he’d help pioneer the flak jacket for the NFL, and only miss 5 games due to injury. Amazing considering the era it was. Fans loved him, and fans- well- hated him.  Still Dan was a darling of Hollywood, and Las Vegas, where the Oilers were known as winners, because of their penchant to beat the spread despite their losing ways.

In 1978 the team drafted Earl Campbell, and with that, teams began to fear the Tyler Rose more than the gunslinger from Sonora. Pastorini responded by having one of his best professional seasons throwing for 16 touchdowns and 2473 yards. A guy who called the plays at the line of scrimmage, Pastorini guided the Oilers to the playoffs 3 times over his career. The Oilers were truly the only team that could challenge the Steel Curtain Dynasty of the 70s.

In 1980, he requested to be traded to anywhere on the West Coast. Bum Phillips honored his wishes, and Pastorini was traded to the Oakland Raiders for Ken Stabler, but things went from bad to worse for Dan. He won his first Super Bowl title that year, standing on the sidelines in a drunken stupor sitting behind Jim Plunkett, not unable to play, but because the team went with the hot hand, and Al Davis had made it personal. Blackballed out of the organization, he’d spend one year in limbo with the Los Angeles Rams. Thinking his career was over, Dick Vermeil gave Pastorini a call in 1982 and gave him another shot because, well, Vermeil didn’t like how things turned out for Dan. It was a year of healing for Pastorini as he was reunited with the coach that drafted him, -Sid Gillman. While 1982 gave him a lot of closure and redemption on his playing days, 1983 brought in a new coach, and Pastorini hung up his cleats after the season.

Dan has passionately pursued his hobbies since retirement. He’s spent a lot of time drag racing, and dabbled in acting. He currently lives in Houston. I met him at the 610 Fan Fest this year, and he signed everything for fans. Dan was also selling his book, which he did like he always does and loves to do as a hands on kind of guy. I had no problem buying his book in exchange for an extra autograph inside the book. When he asked me what he should pen, I jokingly quipped, “To my illegitimate son, Lee,” which got a great smile out of him. He then suggested “Luv ya blue?”, and I nodded appreciatively.  Dan also markets a brand of bbq sauces and currently lives in Houston.

His book: “Taking Flak” is a wonderful read if you are a fan of the Oilers from any era. It really is an honest account from the man who was right at the center of it for nearly 10 years. It also chronicles the multiple deaths and rebirths of Pastorini, searching to find his place in society through his competitive nature and dueling with the demons of our days.  I really recommend it.

I had a second card for the event, but gave it away to another fan. He came up and begged me for the card since he forgot to pack something and offered me anything that he had to get it. I looked through and told him he had nothing, and told him just to take it. He gave me a bunch of Cowboys cards…

G/Gs     Att 3055    Comp 1556    Yds 18515    Pct 50.9       Td  103      Int   161    Rat 59.1
Rush 216    Yds 685     Avg 3.8     Td 8  Lg 27
P 316     Yds  12530    Avg 39.7    Lg 70   Blk 1

Culp, Curley (1946-2021)

Cards: Topps 1978, Topps 1976, Topps 1974
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent: 11/16    Received: 11/23   (7 days)

Curley Culp is another great example of a player that if they inducted a player at every position into the HoF, – Culp would be inducted at the inglorious, in the trenches position of nose tackle. When people talk about players who redefine a position, I think of Culp defining one all by himself. He not only was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL Superbowl victory, he also reinvigorated a sad sack Houston franchise on defense by being the final cog in challenging the supremacy of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 70s.

After graduating from Arizona State in 1969, the Denver Broncos drafted Culp with their second round pick of the common NFL draft. Unable to make the squad, Culp was considered undersized and too slow to play linebacker or defensive end, but had some great advantages in his strength, quickness off the line, and technique. He was an enigma.

Moving on to the Kansas City Chiefs, Curley played defensive tackle and was inserted into the lineup and played directly over the center, creating one on one situations, and opening up interior lanes for rushers. This heralded the birth of the 3-4 defense and the nose tackle position. While with the Chiefs, Culp appeared in 82 contests, the 1969 All Star Game, the 1972 Pro Bowl, and was a key cog in Kansas City’s Super Bowl IV victory.

In 1974, the NFL began to feel pressure from a new upstart league: The WFL.  At the same time as Culp began to make rumblings about leaving for the other league to play for the California Sun, defensive coordinator Bum Phillips of the Houston Oilers, had convinced head coach Sid Gillman that the 3-4 could be run full time in the NFL. He insisted that the main piece that he needed to begin a defensive renaissance in Houston was Curley Culp. Pulling the trigger in exchange for John Matuszak, the Oilers struck gold and immediately saw dividends on their investment into Culp as in 1975, he was named AP defensive player of the year after recording 11.5 sacks for the Oilers.  Culp would remain a stalwart member of the Houston defensive front, but as injuries mounted, he would be cut midway through the 1980 season, sign with the Lions and retire after the 1981 season.

Culp somehow ended up down the street from me in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville. When I learned of this, I quickly shot him a letter and a few cards to sign. I love his Topps 1975 card.  He looks like a hungry, angry hobo with that grizzly beard.  A 5 time Pro Bowler, a member of the Kansas City Chiefs 35th anniversary team, the Chiefs All-Century team, the Oilers All-Century team and inducted into the Chiefs HoF, Culp certainly has the credentials, but lacks the glamour and tracked statistics to be in the HoF.

G  179      Tac  N/a    Sac 68     Fum 13     Int   1    Yds   25   Avg   25.0     Td 0      lg 25

UPDATE 11/27/21- On November 16th, Curley Culp announced he had Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and asked that his friends, family and followers donate to foundations to help eradicate this disease. His family announced his passing on social media on November 27th.

In 2013, Curley got the long awaited invitation and the gold jacket he should’ve been awarded so long ago, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.