Tag Archives: ttm autograph

Patterson, Melvin

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  5/11           Received:  5/22   (11 days)

Melvin Patterson was quite the find. Since his time in the WLAF he’s tread a very unique life.  After a lot of cross referencing his football card to a variety of other sources I found an old post on the web imploring users of the designer drug Kratom to contact Patterson at the DEA. After a few months of soul searching, I decided to reach out to Melvin. It had taken me sometime because I was intimidated to be calling the D-E-A. Furthermore, what would his reaction be? Finally, for me it breaks a long standing rule and tradition of TTM requests to never contact the player directly. Mail is direct enough, but by phone- that is a higher level of communication and it could be construed as something alarming. Nonetheless, I went ahead nervously and gave it a shot.

Initially it was a rough call. I could read easily that Patterson’s tone was skeptical, but after stumbling through formalities and explaining the purpose of my call, my link to him through the WLAF, and how it had positively impacted my life, he opened up to me and we had a long and interesting conversation about the league. It was really enlightening for me, as most of my discussions with former players usually is through snail mail, and I could get knee jerk, honest answers immediately about Melvin’s time playing for the league from him. I also was able to reassure him of my purpose by being able to discuss these things at length with him, especially the infamous ‘Hail Storm Game’ that occurred between Ohio and San Antonio.  He shared with me that the game held significant importance for him as both his mother (who frowned upon him playing football because she was afraid he’d get hurt) and his future wife were in attendance at the game.

Melvin also shared with me the background behind his 99 yard TD grab against the Knights- the longest in league history.  Apparently they had tried the same play on the previous down, and it hadn’t worked. While in the huddle, Melvin was chirping in QB Pat O’Hara‘s ear about how open he had been for most of the game.  They decided to attempt the same play again, but flip it. O’Hara went back to pass and Melvin found the seam between the corner and the safety and before he knew it, the ball was in his hands. He split the defensive backs and stepped on the gas to take the ball to pay dirt.  Patterson also reminded me of the SFA connection and that many players including Patrick Action Jackson and Todd Hammel had made their ways through the WLAF. He was very curious in how his teammates and college players had been doing.  Melvin said he’d even put in a good word for me if I could track down Todd.   Like many players, he agreed that the NFL gave up on the WLAF (and its other incarnations) too soon, as we rattled off the lineage of players that went on to greater glory or have become coaches in their own right, thanks in part to time honing their skills in the league. In addition he told me he had been assigned to the Austin field office for a few years during his tenure at the DEA, and this was quite a charge to me, just reinforcing what a small world it is.

In 1987, Melvin led SFA with 31 receptions for 472 yards and 2 TDs. Melvin signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a Free Agent in 1988 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1989.

He joined the WLAF in 1991 as a 5th round pick of the Birmingham Fire.  Based on archival information, it appears that Melvin was a member of the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks at the end of 1991, finishing with 4 catches for 126 yards and a 72 yard long.  Patterson was signed by the Eagles and allocated back to the WLAF for 1992. He was selected by the Ohio Glory in the supplemental player draft.

To say that the Glory suffered an identity crisis on offense is an understatement. Not only was there problems at quarterback, the coaches argued over the philosophical offensive strength of the team. Still, Melvin managed to haul in 21 receptions for 395 yards and 2 TDs as a long bomb threat.  I’m sure that his mom shuddered every time the defense forced a punt,  as Melvin was the team’s primary returner with 25 returns for 173 yards.

These are some great cards of Melvin.  The photography for the Ultimate set was uneven, but with this action shot of Melvin was pretty solid. Even though he doesn’t have the ball, the photo is at the right distance and the framing is just right to make this shot stand out from the ordinary. The second image from the Wild Card set is a nice one. You can feel the ball hitting Patterson in the bread basket. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their design however.  I thought the stamp logo and the bright numbers down the side really took away from the main composition of the card.

Melvin has pretty much been a career man in DEA since football and is nearing retirement.  He wrote me a really nice note with the autographs he sent back to me and said that he gets requests every once in a while from fans for autographs.  Of note, Melvin’s gaudy receiving average of 20.8 ranks 4th in league history.

WLAF    REC  25    YDS  521    AVG  20.8     TD  2      LG 99T
PR  25      YDS 173     AVG  6.9       TD 0

Wilson, Curtis

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 3/6/15   Received: 3/16/15  (10 days)

Curtis Wilson was a difficult player to track down- but with a bit of effort I was able to find him connecting a few dots. Wilson’s son plays football in Curtis’ footsteps. This gave me a tip leading me to a small town in Oklahoma. Cross referencing that information to Curtis’ data on his ProSet WLAF card cinched the deal. Curtis was the last player from the original ProSet WLAF 1991 set that I needed from the Sacramento Surge.

Curtis Wilson was originally drafted out of Missou by the New England Patriots in 1989. At Missouri, Curtis distinguished himself as a leader on the line when he was voted co-offensive captain as a Senior. His skillset, speed (4.95 40) and size (6’3″, 273) allowed him to play a variety of positions on the line. After being cut by New England shortly before the start of the ’89 season, he’d be selected in the 3rd round of the WLAF positional draft by the Sacramento Surge.

While the Surge had a difficult 1991 season finishing a dismal 2-8, Wilson was one of the up and coming stars of the offense. He’d help pave the way for Sacramento’s rushing attack from the Center position as both Paul Frazier and Victor Floyd averaged over 4 yards a carry in 1991.  He’d earn second team All-World Honors from the league.

Before the 1992 WLAF draft began, the Surge traded draft positions with the Ohio Glory to move up to the #1 overall spot. Sacramento traded the Glory Curtis in the exchange. The move represented the first trade in league history.  Unfortunately Curtis was injured during training camp and was lost for a good portion of the 1992 season.

Curtis included a nice note with his autographed card and wrote “God Bless You!”, on the back of his card next to his player profile picture.

Woodson, Darren (2)


C
ards: Topps Finest Hitmen 1996, Fleer 1995, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent: 6/16     Received: 6/27   (11 days)
Failure: 2015, C/o Home
See Also: Darren Woodson

I had gotten Darren Woodson just once at training camp way back at St Edwards in 1992. It was the last year I’d enjoy going to training camps full time during the summer as school, girls, and work took more of priority after High School. Looking back, it was just perfect timing for me to go to camp during those years in the early 90s, as not only was I in that transitional point moving into being a young adult, but also the Cowboys were building their dynasty, multiple great cards were appearing on the market, and players were still relatively eager to sign for free.

I always wanted to get Darren’s GameDay 1992 entry signed. The one I had made it back to camp the following years, but it never made it into his hands. It’s a great rookie card technically- one of the first to picture him in his Cowboys uniform.  The other two here, are really just filler from sets that I liked after the fact. Although I liked the gaudyness of the Topps Hitmen cards, I think the luster of Darren’s uniform is lost in all the gloss and metal sheen.  The Fleer 1995 was audacious as ProSet 1992 in its design, and as such it was just as disastrous in my mind. The chaotic design which varies per team, really can be a negative on the presentation on the card itself. This one for example breaks multiple design rules. The most annoying among them being Darren’s position listed quarter circling the star. I don’t know what is up with the fingerprint effect either. (It also didn’t help that the Cowboys joined in the ugly trend during the mid-90s of plastering the team logo on the shoulder of the uniform.) Still for many of the rest of the teams in this set outside of the Cowboys and a few outliers, the design is clever and daring with the player information displayed on the front.

I had failed previously to get Darren’s autograph back in 2015. I fired out another attempt in 2016 when he started popping up on the scene around Dallas events. I was really surprised to see this back in 11 days flat.