Rod Babers is a legend for the University of Texas where he started 36 games, and returned 3 of his first 5 thefts for touchdowns. He earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors in 2002 and excelled in tight coverage. He’d finish his career at UT with 131 tackles, 4 sacks, 5 picks, 3 FF and 3 TDs, -and as a Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist. At 5’9″, 190, Babers was undersized for the position, but made it onto the radar of NFL scouts with his career numbers and speed (4.3 40).
The New York Giants would draft him in the 4th round (123rd pick) of the 2003 draft, but he’d walk out of camp- distraught over the death of his grandfather. The Giants, unable to justify keeping him cut Roderick. He’d quickly sign with the Detroit Lions where he played the next two seasons suiting up for 7 games recording 5 tackles. In 2005, Rod was signed by the Bucs, and also played for the Broncos and Bears that season. He’d move to Canada in 2006 to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, retiring after the season.
Babers quickly found a home working on 1300 “The Zone” in Austin, Texas as one of the crew of the Longhorn Station and you can frequently hear him on the airwaves cutting it up and talking about football and the cougars around Austin. Recently he had been doing multiple autograph appearances, so I put in an order on a few cards of his to see if I could add him to the collection, but a local card shop I had been frequenting recently had a promotion for a new set of Upper Deck Cards. Luckily I had ordered these cards a few days before from Burbank Sports Cards, and they delivered them in no time flat. (They may cost a little bit more, but BSC typically has the largest selection and variety and treat their internet customers with the same respect that they do their in person collectors.) Overall these were pretty nice cards for the collection to get autographed. I did really hate the computer serial number coding that they used at the time to denote limited edition cards, but overall both of these cards hit their mark nicely.
Rod was impressed with my football knowledge and plugged me on the radio when he noticed that I was a Texans fan. Josh and I made lots of noise from time to time before they went out to commercial break to plug the event as though it was really happening. We all had a great laugh and Rod asked us to be sure to come out again and have a good time.