Tag Archives: ttm autograph

McNair, Fred ‘Air’

Card: Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Alcorn State
Sent: 12/19       Received: 2/5    (42 days)

Fred McNair finished his career at Alcorn State as the 5th leading passer in NCAA -1A football after completing 119 of 214 passes for 1,898 yards and 14 TDs. After not being drafted in 1990, Fred was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to compete in camp against Babe Laufenberg– where I’m sure Fred passed me walking down autograph alley at St. Edwards in Austin.  After being cut, McNair played for the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL where he was a member of the 79th Grey Cup Championship team.

Fred made the move to the WLAF in 1992, signing with the London Monarchs.   Although McNair was incumbent starting QB Stan Gelbaugh‘s backup, Fred did see significant playing time for the Monarchs. He’d throw for 668 yards and 3 TDs during his brief stint in the league. After the season, McNair returned stateside and began a solid career in the Arena leagues playing for the Albany Firebirds (1993-1995), Florida Bobcats (1996-2000), Carolina Cobras (2000-2001), and the Buffalo Destroyers (2002).  He also helped tutor his younger brother Steve for the rigors of the pro level.

Football hasn’t really stopped being a part of Fred McNair’s life. He spent some time at Millsaps University honing his skills as a coach, then jumped in at the OC level working with Mount Olive, (MS) helping the Pirates earn two State titles. After that he was head coach at Collins High School (MS), returning to Alcorn State in 2012 to serve as offensive coordinator.  In 2016 Fred became head coach of his Alma Mater, where he led Alcorn State to a 1st place finish at 5-4.

I had been meaning to get Fred on his Wild Card for some time, but I wasn’t sure if he signed TTM. I finally gave him a shot and was pleasantly surprised to get him in about 40 days.

WLAF
ATT 105   CPD 55   YDS 668   PCT 52.4    TD 3   INT 4   RAT 65.9

ARENA
ATT 2626  CPD 1504   YDS 19352   TD 340  INT 71  RAT 101.6

DeBerg, Steve


Cards: Score 1989 Supplemental, Action Packed 1991, Score 1991 Leader
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  1/9   Received: 1/20    (11 days)

Steve DeBerg is a warrior of old. Over his career, Steve played from 1978-1993, and 1998. He played some 17 seasons in the NFL and almost pulled off one of the rarest of feats of appearing in 4 different decades of football.  DeBerg is considered one of the great masters of play action, which served him well during his revival in the late 80s and early 90s for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Originally a 10th round choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 1978 out of San Jose State (and thought to be Roger Staubach‘s heir), Steve was traded to the 49ers before the regular season began. He’d start 11 games his rookie year in the NFL, but his numbers were atrocious (8 TD, 22 INT), and his win/loss record reflected it (1-10).  In 1979, DeBerg was allowed to spread his wings and led the NFL in Attempts (578) and completions (347), but young rookie QB Joe Montana was chomping at the bit.  In 1981, Deberg was traded to the Broncos, and he’d play there for through 1983, (when Denver got a hold of… John Elway).

In 1984, Steve was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’d throw for a career high 3554 yards that season and throw 19 TDs to 18 picks. In 1986 he’d back up future NFL HoF QB Steve Young, and then in 1987, back up Heisman Trophy Winner Vinny Testaverde.  After his 4 year stint with the Bucs concluded, DeBerg signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988.

It’d be in 1989 that DeBerg was introduced to ‘Marty Ball’, and after fighting off Ron Jaworski, Steve Pelluer, and rookie Mike Elkins, posted a 6-4 record and almost led the Chiefs to the playoffs. It was a huge turnaround for the franchise- one that had been a doormat of the AFC West for most of the 80s. DeBerg continued his magical reinvention in 1990.  During that era of NFL football, only throwing 4 interceptions in 444 pass attempts was almost unheard of- but DeBerg did just that, leading the NFL with only .9 % of all his passes intercepted that season. He also had the highest adjusted average yards per completion at 7.58, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs. He played one more season with the Chiefs before being replaced in 1992 by Joe Montana (again).

Steve signed with the Bucs again in 1993. He’d be the backup QB for them for a few games over 2 seasons. Cut during 1994, DeBerg found his way onto the roster of the Dolphins and backed up Scott Mitchell after Dan Marino was injured.

DeBerg was long thought retired after that and was hired by Dan Reeves to be a QB coach with the Giants in 1995. Later when Reeves moved to Atlanta, he hired DeBerg as his QB Coach in 1996, however in 1998 they’d decided it’d be best if DeBerg backed up starter Chris Chandler. Steve finally reached the Superbowl with the Falcons- a game that they lost to the Broncos and… John Elway.

Truly, in the football universe for a while there, everything was six degrees of Steve DeBerg, with him being connected to so many great quarterbacks. A true competitor, Steve always left it out on the field. I remember during one season, he played a few weeks with a cast on his non-throwing hand during his time with the Chiefs.

Steve’s a signer who does so in random spurts, so it was somewhat difficult to peg down when I should send out to him. Along the way, Steve’s modern era cards (let’s say post 1988) were pretty nice, and it was hard for me to trim it down to under 3 of them. Sadly the Score 1991 Leader card that I liked the most got smudged- Usually a by-product of rushing signatures before they dry back into a sleeve or envelope. Still one can’t complain. I liked all 3 of these a lot. They really stood out among the sets to choose from. The simplicity of the Action Packed 91 almost couldn’t be touched, and the Score 1989 card is vibrant.

G/GS  206/140    ATT  5024    CPD 2874    YDS 34241    PCT 57.2
TD 196      INT 204        RAT  74.2

RUSH 204     YDS 200     AVG 1.0       TD 7       LG 15

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