Tag Archives: proset 1991 wlaf

Valerio, Joe (2)

CARDS: Pro Set 1991, Pro Set 1991 WL Helmet Collectible
ACQUIRED: TTM 2021, C/o Home



I had to loop back to Joe since I had this nice Pro Set 91 card, but also because he was one of the more successful members of the Birmingham Fire (post World League). He wrote me a nice note, thanked me for being a fan all these years, and that those were indeed good times.

Williams, Reggie (LB)

Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990, Action Packed Whizzer White Award 1991, ProSet 1991 WLAF Inserts
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 10/5 Received: 10/17 (12 days)

Reggie Williams played college football at Dartmouth, and was a 3 time All-Ivy League selection from 1973-1975. Reggie was so dominant that he caught the attention of pro scouts, parlaying his efforts to become a 3rd round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.

Over the next 14 seasons, Reggie went on to become one of the Bengals best draft picks. He played in an unheard of 206 games (one short of Ken Riley for the franchise record), and virtually owned the entire Bengals record books at linebacker for every statistical category including: career tackles, sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. He also earned the Whizzer White Award in 1985, the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1986, and SI’s Sportsperson of the Year in 1987.

Reggie made waves next as he went on to work in the front office of the World League of American Football‘s New York-New Jersey Knights franchise in 1991, becoming one of the first African American General Managers in any pro capacity.

He’s been at the frontlines of visionary ideas leading sport and NFL initiatives and then working with Disney overseeing their recreational and sports divisions since then. In the final years of his time with the Bengals he also served as a city councilman, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Still despite all this, and being virtually an icon with Cincinnati, Reggie has been largely unheralded by his former franchise. A true warrior, he’s had over 25 knee surgeries since his career concluded, and it has taken its toll on his leg. He’s written a book about his life, ‘Resilient by Nature’, where he gives a great wealth of insight into his life, and shares his dedication and willingness to overcome whatever obstacles he faces.

I had wanted to get Reggie’s autograph for sometime. He is the epitome of who I like to get an autograph from and for whom I like to write about. He has had an interesting journey both in and out of the sport- and I feel that he is someone who doesn’t get enough accolades for all he’s done. I wrote him an email through Facebook and he was kind enough to respond to me. We talked briefly about his foray into the World League- where he told me, “He loved the travel.” I sent him some old photos of magazine clippings from Gametime magazines as well that he enjoyed very much. He was doing a book signing in the area, so I sent him a stack of extra cards for his personal collection and to hand out to fans. A man of his word, Reggie signed these cards in no time flat for me.


Lynn, Mike (1936-2012)

pset91_mlynnCard: ProSet 1991 WLAF insert
Acquired: 2016,  EBay
Failure: TTM 2012, C/o Home

Mike Lynn had passed literally within a few days of me sending him a request for an autograph. I received back my letter with the card unsigned with a note stating that he had passed away shortly thereafter. It took me some 4 years to track down this card on EBay. It is hard to imagine why anyone would forge this autograph, being that Lynn was not an in demand player, so I am fairly safe to assume that this autograph is probably authentic.

Mike Lynn was a member of the NFL Board that oversaw the WLAF when it first got off the ground.  He took over as President/CEO from Tex Schramm in 1990 and served as a de facto commissioner of sorts (parallel to what Paul Tagliabue was in the NFL) through the 1991 season. Lynn presided over the league during the first WLAF Draft, and subsequent season. Initially there was much buzz surrounding the league, and there was a gentle understanding from the NFL that it was going to take time to grow the fanbase and talent pool.  After the first broadcast games, things seemed good. There were even press releases touting that the league was going to expand by possibly 2-4 teams after the season, but like with many leagues there were growing pains to be encountered. The WLAF’s luster wore off quickly, as the league’s attendance levels and TV ratings slid. Internally the NFL’s 26 owners and the WLAF’s chief funder, expected a quicker turn around on profit.  Lynn did a good job riding out the quiet storm and kept the WLAF ship steady through the full season. A month after World Bowl I, Mike resigned to focus more on the internal power struggle that was occurring within the Minnesota Vikings.

Lynn is recognized by longtime Vikings fans as the General Manager and trading partner that was fleeced by the Cowboys during the Herschel Walker trade.  Believing that the Vikings were merely a blue chip runningback away from winning the SuperBowl, he sent a bevvy of picks and players to Dallas in 1990 for Walker. While Walker didn’t pan out the way the Vikings hoped, the Cowboys used the ammo acquired from the trade to propel them into the Super Bowl spotlight for roughly the next 10 years. It is unfortunate that Lynn is remembered for the Walker trade, when he was such an influential and intelligent power broker and sports negotiator, which included putting down an internal revolt in the Vikings power structure by buying out feuding owners shares.

Lynn had retired from the power structure of the Vikings in 1992 and lived quietly in Memphis before he passed away in 2012.