Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1990 Score #631 Lamar Lathon

Lamar Lathon was an absolute beast of a linebacker for the University of Houston playing from 1987 to 1989.

1988 was his best season. The Cougars went 9-3 and Lathon was an AP All American Honorable Mention and second team All Southwest Conference.

1989 was supposed to be a huge year. Unfortunately he was injured in a car wreck in the offseason. He played one game and then suffered a season ending knee injury.

He was granted a medical hardship, but decided to forego his final year of eligibility (along with Andre Ware) and entered the 1990 NFL draft. The Houston Oilers drafted him with the 15th pick of the first round.

He played for the Oilers from 1990-1994 and for the Carolina Panthers from 1995-1998. In 1996, he was selected for the Pro Bowl.

Today's card is the 1990 Score #631. There are several reasons I love this card. Reason #1 is because he's in his UH uniform. Cougars in their college uniform on cards always are higher on my list. Reason #2 is because of the picture. I don't know if he's in the middle of a play or running to the sidelines, but he looks so intimidating. The back of the card has descriptions of Lathon as a player and of his career at UH.

No, this is not an autographed card from a pack like you can get today. This autograph was obtained in person in 1990. Note to Donnie Avery and Anthony Alridge: This is what an autograph should look like, not just a few squiggles that resemble initials.

Friday, September 26, 2008

1963 Fleer #65 Dalva Allen

Dalva Allen was one of the Cougar greats in the early days of University of Houston football. He played at UH from 1954-1956. In his senior year, he helped lead his team to a 7-2-1 record and UH's second Missouri Valley Conference championship.

His play in the 1956 season also led to individual honors. He was selected All Missouri Valley Conference first team and in 1957 was drafted in the 23rd round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams were not in his pro career future though. He played for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League in 1957. He finally made his American Football League debut for the Houston Oilers in 1960. He played for Houston from 1960-1961 winning two AFL titles. He later played for the Oakland Raiders from 1962-1964.

Today's card is the 1963 Fleer #63. This is Allen's rookie card. The photograph isn't great, but that's not uncommon for cards from the 50s and early 60s. The best part of the card is the colors. It's fate that the border and lettering on the front and back are Cougar red and white. On the back, not only does it mention his All Conference play at UH, but it also says that he ran hurdles. What an amazing athlete.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

1955 Bowman #264 Bill Henry

Today's card is the 1955 Bowman #264. This is Bill Henry's rookie card. It is also the first mainstream trading card featuring a University of Houston player.

This is an interesting card that would fit in with the gimmicky designs of today. The card is designed to look like an old school color television screen complete with screen border and fine wood grain cabinet.

I find it very funny that the card has the words "Color TV" in the border. I guess Bowman didn't think that color TVs were prevalent enough that buyers would recognize the design.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2007 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Emerald Materials #220 Kevin Kolb

I'm not one to get excited because a card is the rarest, most expensive card out there. I can get very excited about a base card worth basically nothing especially when it has a great picture of a player in his University of Houston uniform. With that said, I still love to go on eBay and sort by price.

Today's card is the most expensive Kevin Kolb card currently on eBay requesting $360. It is the 2007 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Emerald Materials #220. This card is very cool. It has a head and shoulders shot of Kolb in his Eagles uniform. It also has Kevin's autograph.

The most interesting thing on the card is the materials. The materials are event used. We've discussed previously the difference between event and game used relics so we don't need to cover that again. The variety of materials on this card exceeds the normal relic card. You have the normal jersey piece, but you also have a piece from a shoe, helmet, and football. The different materials provides a unique texture and look that most cards don't have.

Only 5 of these were made and the price is out of my range so I'm betting I never own one, but it's a nice card to look at.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

1973 Topps #523 Jim Strong

It's football season! So let's go Cougar old school and look at running back Jim Strong.

Strong lettered at the University of Houston in 1968 and 1969. He had an outstanding 1969 season. With two 200+ yard games, he rushed for 1,293 yards, good enough for fourth best season in UH history. It was also good enough to be the fourth leading rusher in the entire NCAA that season.

He topped off the 1969 with an incredible bowl game. At the Bluebonnet Bowl versus Auburn, he rushed for 184 yards which is still a Houston bowl record. That performance was good enough for him to be named bowl MVP as he led the Coogs to a 36-7 victory.

UH finished the season with a 9-2 record and ranked 12th in the AP and 16th in the Coaches poll. Jim Strong was named second team All American.

Strong is tenth in career rushing yards at UH with 1,936 and tied for eighth in career rushing touchdowns with 19.

He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1970 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played one season in San Francisco and two years for the New Orleans Saints.

Today's card is the 1973 Topps #523. This is Strong's only mainstream company football card. I don't believe Topps had an NFL contract that year because none of the cards I've seen have a helmet logo or team name in any of the photos, staged or action shots. The front of this card is no exception. Strong is posed in a three point stance, no helmet on and no team name on the jersey.

The back of the card includes 1972 and total career statistics. In a text description of his career, it states that he was the Saints leading ground gainer in 1972 with 404 yards. How bad was the Saints offense if the leading rusher only had 404 yards? The back also has a trivia question and cartoon unrelated to Strong.

I know the football cards from the early '70s look amateurish and cartoonish compared to the cards of today, but there's a charm to these cards that I still love.