Card: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 Acquired: EBay, 2020
Tony Degrate was a monster at defensive tackle, for the Texas Longhorns from 1982 to 1984- and is considered one of the finest D-linemen to play at the school. In his 1984 campaign, he amassed a then school defensive lineman record 123 stops and 12 sacks to clench the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman. All together, Tony had 47 career tackles for loss and 31 sacks.
The Tampa Bay Bandits made an offer to Degrate, which he turned down, but this ruffled the feathers of the concerned NFL who thought he had all but flown the coop. In the end, Tony was selected in the 5th round of the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. After spending a season with the team, he saw time in camp with the Packers, and later the Bucs.
Tony’s story is a cautionary one, and I relate to him immensely. Degrate is a great talent who let those little nagging voices in his head get to him, and his confidence just kept slipping, and it affected him physically and mentally. Self doubt and guilt are terrible burdens to bear.
I can understand why he is a difficult autograph to get in any capacity, as he probably feels that he let a lot of people- and himself down. He went back to school and finished his art degree, but at one point I believe that he was a personal trainer in the Austin area.
Degrate’s first card came out in 2011 as part of the Upper Deck Texas set. There are 3 cards in the set of him, and he is very difficult to get an autograph from. He doesn’t sign TTM and when I attended an event at the UT Coop he was scheduled to be at, he cancelled at the last moment. I really liked this card of him leaping up and making a play, and I was more than happy to pick up this card via EBay at a reasonable price.
Card: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 Acquired: 2020, EBay
A baseball and football wonder in high school, Texas won in the derby to get quarterback Shea Morenz where he’d play for the Longhorns from 1992-1995, and also be featured in right field for the baseball team. After redshirting out 1992, Shea set season and game Texas records for most attempts by a Freshman, while leading the squad to a share of the SWC Championship. In 1994, he’d split time in a two headed rotation with QB James Brown, but still managed to throw 12 TDs to 5 interceptions.
On his UT career, Shea was 312 of 579 for 3774 yards and 25 TDs to 24 int. After graduating from UT, Shea was selected in the first round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He’d spend 4 years in their farm system and a year with the San Diego Padres before retiring.
Morenz returned to school where he got his Masters in Business Administration, and is currently the President of a Mineral Holding Group. He is also a very active University of Texas alum.
Card: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 4/10 Received: 4/29 (19 days)
Charlie Talbert was a 2 way star for the Texas Longhorns from 1961 -1963, winning the National Championship in his final year at the school. He played both Defensive End and oddly- Wide Receiver, finishing with 14 catches for 188 yards and a TD leading the team. (Keep in mind this is during an era where the forward pass was rarely used.) As a defensive end he had an interception, and scored a TD on defense. His brothers Don (1959-1961) and Diron (1963-1966) also played for the school.
After graduating from UT, joined the Navy for three years. He then moved to Houston and got involved with real estate, and hotel development in Austin and Houston.
Charlie signed his UT card for me and wrote me a nice note sending greetings from him and his brothers.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.