Cards: Topps 1985, ProSet World League 1991, Wild Card WL 1992 Acquired: TTM 2020, 2021 C/o Home Sent: 9/9 Received: 9/25 (16 days) Failure: TTM 2012, C/o Home
Bruce Clark was a consensus All-American defensive end for the Penn State Nittany Lions posting 19 sacks over his college career, winning the first Lombardi Award as a Junior in 1978. Originally a linebacker who converted to defensive tackle, Bruce was not only still extremely quick after packing on the extra bulk, he was incredibly strong.
He was selected in the first round (4th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, but opted in a shocker to play in Canada instead with the Toronto Argonauts. You see, Bruce was fine playing DT or DE, but with the Packers switching to a 3-4 alignment, they had this idea that at 6’2″, 260, Clark was going to play nose. He didn’t want that, and he didn’t like how the Pack was being run from an organizational standpoint.
After two stellar seasons in the CFL, Bruce decided to play in the NFL. Reiterating his desire to play somewhere else than the ‘Siberia’ of the NFL or nose tackle, the Packers traded Bruce to the Saints for their #1 pick in the 1983 draft.
Much maligned for his surgically repaired knee coming out of Penn State, Bruce started 88 consecutive games for the Saints and was an anchor for the Saints defense at left defensive end. His best season came in 1984 when he earned his only pro bowl appearance, racking up 10.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and his only career interception. He’d join the Chiefs in 1989 for his final season, dressing for 11 contests.
Bruce opted to play in the World League of American Football in 1991 and declared for the league’s supplemental pool of eligible players and was selected in the first round by the Barcelona Dragons. As one of the oldest players in the WLAF, Bruce’s leadership and experience was appreciated by the Dragons’ defense, as he paced their solid team with 7 sacks. He opted to retire after the 1991 season.
Bruce has been on my long short list for a while, and his name popped up recently, so I was ecstatic to shoot something out to him. He signed these two cards quickly, but I had to try him again, since the sharpie quality is poor, his autograph look like it smudged slightly, and he switched out my Wild Card WL 92 for a Topps 85. Early in 2021, I decided to try again, and he graciously signed the Wild Card WL I still needed for the set.
Cards: Topps 1983, Topps 1985
Acquired: 2012, Akron Acquisition
See Also: Neil Lomax
I think I’m just going to refer to it as ‘The Neil Lomax Curse’. Since Lomax led the lowly Cardinals back to some semblance of respectability in the mid-1980s the franchise has been for the most part (outside of a few seasons here and there with Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, and Jake Plummer) has never really had a consistent franchise QB at the helm. You know, that consistent leader that they could lean on for 5-7 years? – Amazingly it just hasn’t happened. While it is shocking how many QBs Cleveland has gone through, Arizona has done in many QBs in its own right. In fact, statistically speaking, I could make an argument for Neil being the greatest quarterback the Cardinals have ever had.
As far as cards go, Topps 1985 was so different than what Topps had ever done that people still today see it as a pinnacle of card design. I think it really epitomized the 80s with large bold type set on its side fighting with the photo for command of the canvas. Like the 80s it screamed, “Larger than life.” While this Topps 1983 just bored my pants off initially, it was a step in a different direction for Topps than in previous years. The marquee is minimally invasive and the team name placed eloquently on the image- in an era well before Photoshop, this took a fair amount of work.
One of the Akron Acquisition, I got these autographs off of a friend who was exiting the hobby. I paid a few extra bucks as a premium to help him out, and I hope that he has been able to put his life back together.
Cards: Topps 1985, Topps 1987, Pro Set WLAF 1991 Update
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 5/31 Received: 6/14 (15 days)
See Also: Bobby Humphery
Bobby Humphery was an enforcer for the San Antonio Riders during their 1992 season. Selected in the 11th round of the WLAF draft, he really provided veteran leadership to the young defensive backs. The Riders pass defense was ranked first in the league that year, and they were one of the few teams that could go toe to toe with the eventual World League Champion Sacramento Surge and a key reason for that was Bobby.
It was a shame that Pro Set pulled the plug on their WLAF set for the 1992 season. While Ultimate and Wild Card filled the vacancy as best as they could peppering their sets with veterans and rookies, for some reason they both omitted the highly decorated Humphery. I had to look hard to find any photography of Hump from his days in the WLAF.
Apparently he noticed that too, so when Bobby received the custom card I created he wrote me an extremely nice thank-you note.
Thank you Lee, for the Rider cards. I always wanted these cards but I could never find them. I will honor these.” – Bobby Humphery
The custom WLAF 1991 entry that I made of him was based off of a Gameday Magazine I had from that 1992 that was sold during the season finale. In the team notes, frequently they’d have a photo or small blurb about a player who has really made a difference on the team. The last one had this grainy black and white shot of Bobby. Although I have found other images on the web, I have not been able to find a suitable enough image, so I decided to go ahead and work with this image in Photoshop. It came out decently enough for a colorized and fuzz adjusted image. While I wasn’t entirely happy with my printer, it was satisfactory enough that I thought Bobby would appreciate it. He also included a signed copy of his Topps 1985 rookie card as well as thanks for the additional copies of the Riders cards I gave him.
Among Bobby’s greatest NFL accomplishments is that he led the NFL in 1984 with 22 kick returns for 675 yards and a 97 yard touchdown. He also had 8 kick returns for 234 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals during the season finale in 1986.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.