Saturday, July 31, 2010

1988-89 Trail Blazers Franz #6 Rolando Ferreira

Rolando Ferreira played center for the University of Houston basketball team for two seasons, 1986-87 and 1987-88. He was co-captain with Richard Hollis of the 1987-88 team that was an NIT participant.

Ferriera was a very solid defensive player for the Cougars:
#9 in UH career blocked shots average (1.6)
Led team in rebounds (6.8) and blocked shots (1.6) in 1987-88
Led team in free throw percentage (.735) in 1986-87

For his efforts, he was named to the 1998 Southwest Conference All-Defensive Team.

After his college career, Rolando was selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2nd round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He played 12 games for the Blazers in the 1988-89 season. He was the first Brazilian to play in the NBA.

He was also an outstanding international player. He played for the Brazilian national team for 12 years. He played for Brazil in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and in 3 FIBA World Championships. He was a member of the 1987 team that won the 1987 Pan American Games over the USA team.

Today's card is the 1988-89 Trail Blazers Franz #6. This set was produced by Fleer for Franz Bread. The backs are printed in pink and red on white card stock.

Friday, July 30, 2010

1989 Pro Set #101 Simon Fletcher

Simon Fletcher was a defensive end for the University of Houston from 1982 to 1984. That 1984 Cougar team was co-champion of the Southwest Conference.

After his college career, he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round of the 1985 NFL Draft. He played for the Broncos from 1985 to 1995. Fletcher is tied with DeMarcus Ware for the NFL record for most games in a row with a sack (10). He also holds the Broncos' record for career sacks (97.5)

Today's card is the 1989 Pro Set #101. I know Pro Set cards were ridiculously overproduced so they have little monetary value, but I still love their look.

Another thing I like about Pro Set cards is the size of the sets. This 1989 set had a total of 561 cards. The 1990 set had 801 cards. Because of the size of these sets, pretty much every starter, some of the backups, and the coaches were all featured on cards.

Today's cards are so focused on stars that positional players like linemen and non-stars in other positions like defensive back are rarely featured. If you like to collect only stars, the current format is great. If you have other collecting goals like players from a certain college or all of the active players on a pro roster, you may be out of luck.

I understand the economics of this. Cards have become so expensive that a collector may feel cheated if the monetary value of a card is too low because of the player featured. It's just a shame that this is the case. But manufacturers generally try to give the public what they want, so we have only ourselves to blame.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1990 Topps #495 James Dixon

The University of Houston has a long history of great wide receivers. One of those Cougar greats is James Dixon who played at UH from 1987 to 1988 after coming from Cisco Junior College.

Dixon teamed up with Jason Phillips to form one of the greatest wide receiving duos in NCAA history. They were the first two wide receivers to have 1,000 yards receiving on the same team. They also were the first teammates to be 1st and 2nd in receptions per game.

He has some amazing statistics as a receiver:
#7 in game receptions (15 vs Rice 11/26/88)
#6 in season receptions (102 in 1988)
#9 in season receiving yards (1,103 in 1988)
Tied for 6th in season receiving TDs (11 in 1988)
#7 in career receptions 161

He was also a great kick returner:
#8 in longest kickoff return (94 yards vs SHSU 9/26/87)
#6 in season kickoff return average (27.4 in 1987)
#4 in career kickoff return average 25.3

He was named 2nd Team All American in 1988 as well as 1st Team All Southwest Conference.

He was not drafted in the NFL. In 1988, he played for the Fort Worth Cavalry in the Arena Football League. But he did get a chance to play in the NFL after that, playing for the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 to 1991.

Today's card is the 1990 Topps #495. This is one of the last old school low end card styles. Looking at the card back, you can see why cards are called cardboard even though the stock has greatly improved since then. As we continue to move backwards through the years, you'll see more and more of this style and less diversity of design.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1991 Star Pics #19 Alvaro Teheran

After playing at Houston Baptist, Alvaro Teheran played basketball for the University of Houston in 19989-90 and 1990-91. In those 2 seasons he scored 591 points as a Cougar. He also led the team in blocked shots in 1990-91 with 1.8 per game.

For his efforts, Alvaro was named 2nd Team All Southwest Conference and SWC All-Defensive Team in 1991

He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 1991 NBA Draft, but did not play in the NBA.

Today's card is the 1991 Star Pics #19. It is also available in autographed and medallion variations.

Several new companies and products featuring only draft picks and prospects hit the stores around this time. I love these products because I'm a bigger fan of college sports than pro sports, but I understand that I'm in the minority.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1992 Pro Set - UH Golfers

The University of Houston golf program is one of the most successful sports programs in collegiate history. The Cougars have won 16 team national championships and 8 individual national championships. UH has also had 44 All Americans.

Today I'm just going to overload a post with players and cards. This is just a sampling of the greats who have gone to UH. Not all of the players spent their entire collegiate careers at UH, but they all spent some time there.

All of the cards are from the 1992 Pro Set.

1992 Pro Set #11 Billy Ray Brown

1992 Pro Set #31 Steve Elkington

1992 Pro Set #90 Brad Fabel

1992 Pro Set #92 Blaine McCallister

1992 Pro Set #228 Phil Rodgers

1992 Pro Set #18 Mike Smith

1992 Pro Set #137 Mike Standly

1992 Pro Set #215 Rocky Thompson

1992 Pro Set #161 Tray Tyner

1992 Pro Set #56 Bobby Wadkins

1992 Pro Set #259 Kermit Zarley

Monday, July 26, 2010

1993 JOGO #218 Manny Hazard

In my opinion, today's player is one of the most underrated and forgotten football players in University of Houston history, Emannuel "Manny" Hazard. He only played 2 seasons at UH, but one of those years was one of the greatest in NCAA history.

In 1989, he caught 142 passes. That was an NCAA record until last year when Bowling Green's Freddie Barnes caught 155 passes. Of course, Barnes took 13 games to do it while Hazard only took 11. So Manny caught 12.9 receptions per game while Barnes had 11.9 per game.

His name is all over the UH and NCAA record books.

NCAA records
#3 season TD receptions (22 in 1989)
#1 career catches per game (10.5)
#4 career yards per game (125.5)

UH records
Tied for #1 game receptions (19 twice)
#1 game receiving TDs (5 vs Baylor 1989)

#1 season receptions (142 in 1989)
#1 season yards receiving (1689 in 1989)
#1 season receiving TDs (22 in 1989)
#1 season TDs (22 in 1989)
#1 season points scored (134 in 1989)
Tied for #1 season 200 yard receiving games (2)

#3 career receptions (220)
#6 career receiving yards (2365)
#2 career receiving TDs (31)
Tied #4 career TDs (31)
#9 career scoring (192)
Tied for #1 career 200 yard receiving games (3)

He was co-captain of the 1990 team that went 10-1.

Manny was named 1st team All American in 1989 and 3rd team All American in 1990. We was 1st team All Southwest Conference in both 1989 and 1990 and he was named SWC Newcomer of the Year in 1989.

After his college career, he played several years in the Canadian Football League for the Birmingham Barracudas, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Shreveport Pirates.

Today's card is the 1993 JOGO #218. These Canadian cards generally aren't as nice as their American counterparts (although they have improved over the years), but it is nice to have cards for members of our Cougar family, regardless of the league they're playing in.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1994-95 Flair #55 Carl Herrera

Carl Herrera only played basketball for one season at the University of Houston coming from Jacksonville Junior College. That season was 1989-90.

Carl was an all around player. He led the team in scoring (16.7), field goal percentage (.565), free throw percentage (.804), rebounding (9.2), and blocked shots (2.0).

He is in the Career Top 10 in field goal percentage and free throw percentage and Season Top 10 in free throws made.

He was named 1st Team All Southwest Conference and Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year. He was also an All American Honorable Mention.

Herrera left after his junior year and was selected by the Miami Heat in the 2nd round of the 1990 NBA draft. His NBA career lasted 8 years, his first 4 with the Houston Rockets including both championship seasons. He then played 3 years for the San Antonio Spurs. His final season was split between the Vancouver Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.

He also competed in the 1992 Olympics for Venezuela with fellow Cougar David Diaz.

Today's card is the 1994-95 Flair #55. This was still in the early days of transitioning from basic products to higher end products. While I thought some of the new products looked nice, at the time, I still wasn't convinced that they were worth the extra money. But when I saw Flair, I found a product worth the extra money.

First there was the card stock. It was 3 or 4 times thicker than regular card stock. That thickness gave the card some weight and strength that other cards didn't have.

Next it had the multiple quality pictures that went to the edge of the card, no borders. A few other brands had that, but it wasn't common and it looks great.

It also had liberal use of gold foil. That seems a little cheesy and basic these days, but at the time very few products had it.

It was just a great looking product in its first year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Case Keenum Cards

A special bonus today to break up the countdown. Let's talk about Case Keenum cards.

One of my many followers (OK, I have 2 public followers. If you want to follow this blog, click the Follow link at the top of the page) sent me an e-mail recently with a very interesting card. It is what appears to be a 2009 Topps Heisman Watch card.

I was intrigued. I didn't think that cards could feature active players. So I did a little more research. I checked Topps' website and found nothing. I checked Beckett's site and found nothing.

Finally I checked eBay and found this listing. In the description, it states this is an ACEO card.

If you're not familiar with ACEO, it stands for Art Cards, Editions, and Originals. Most frequently ACEO cards are drawings, paintings, or prints that are on card stock and are the size of baseball cards. I have a few myself, little miniature pieces of artwork that you can collect, trade, or display.

But as an ACEO, I think this card is an original creation, not a Topps card. It looks sharp though, better than some of the designs I've seen from card manufacturers. There are people who make very high quality, non-licensed cards and sets, sometimes of cards that were never made that should have been or designs they'd like to see. This card may fall into that category.

If you're aware of this and know what you're buying, that's great. It's a nice looking card. If not, I think it's a little questionable by the seller to not make it more clear, especially since in the description it states the manufacturer is Topps.

As far as I know, there are no Case Keenum cards made by any of the card manufacturers. I'm looking forward to seeing plenty of them next season though.

There is another Case Keenum card of which I'm aware. UH Professor Simon Bott released Cougar Cards to students at school activities last year. In that set was a Case Keenum card.

Dr. Bott said he plans on releasing another set this year, so UH students should be on the lookout for them. He said there may be fewer student athletes this year due to some logistical issues, but anything that promotes the university and increases our knowledge of our school should be treasured.

1995 Collector's Edge Rookies Black Label 22K Gold #7 Billy Milner

Today's Cougar is another offensive lineman, Billy Milner. He played for the University of Houston from 1993 to 1994. He was co-captain of the 1994 team along with Clay Helton, Mike Meux, and Alfred Young.

In his senior season, he was named Honorable Mention All American by Football News and Second Team All Southwest Conference.

Milner was selected by the Miami Dolphins at #25 in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft. His career started well playing 16 games and starting 9 as a rookie for the Dolphins. Unfortunately his career didn't pan out after that. He only played one more season after that, playing in 4 games for the Dolphins and 10 games for the Saint Louis Rams in 1996.

Today's card is the 1995 Collector's Edge Rookies Black Label 22K Gold #7. Other Collector's Edge Rookies variations include the base card, 22K Gold, and Black Label.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I love cards featuring players in their UH uniform. So what do I think of today's card?

I'm very conflicted by this card. That's a Cougar uniform, but where's the interlocking UH? Either this is a practice/all star game uniform or more likely, this card wasn't licensed by the NCAA and/or UH, so no logo. This isn't uncommon.

I think I actually prefer the pro uniform and logo more than a modified, airbrushed UH uniform.

Friday, July 23, 2010

1996 Score Board Autographed Collection Autographs #21 Jimmy Herndon

Jimmy Herndon played offensive lineman for the Cougars from 1992 to 1995. Unfortunately for offensive lineman, they don't publish many stats for them, but we can look at some of the awards he won to consider how good a player he was at UH.

Jimmy was named 2nd team All-Southwest Conference in 1993 and 1994. In 1995, he made 1st team All-SWC.

On top of his conference awards, he was named 3rd team All American by College Sports Magazine and was named Honorable Mention by the UPI.

Herndon was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 5th round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played 8 seasons in the NFL, 1 with the Jaguars, 5 with the Chicago Bears, and 2 with the Houston Texans.

Today's card is the 1996 Score Board Autographed Collection Autographs #21. There is also a Gold variation hand numbered and limited to 350 cards. Both versions feature an autograph.

The best part of the card is that he is featured in a UH uniform. It's great to see any Cougar on a card, but to me it is extra to see them in their UH uniform. Someone should create a list of all cards featuring UH players and indicate if they're in their UH uniform. That would be a nice set to collect.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

1997 Pacific Prisms Gems of the Diamond #GD19 Vaughn Eshelman

Vaughn Eshelman pitched for the University of Houston from 1990 to 1991. Those were very solid years for UH baseball as the Coogs went 44-23 in 1990 and 37-19 in 1991.

Vaughn led the team in strikeouts in 1991 with 78. He also threw 2 one hitters for the Cougars.

Eshelman was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 4th round of the 1991 MLB Draft. He played for 10 Minor League teams over 8 seasons. He also pitched 3 seasons in the Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox from 1995-1997, going 15-9.

Today's card is the 1997 Pacific Prisms Gems of the Diamond #GD19. The style is very much like early '90s cards. Very nice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1998 Bowman #217 Dustin Carr

Today's player is another four year letterman at the University of Houston, Dustin Carr. He played center field for the Cougars from 1994 to 1996 and third base in 1997.

In 1997, he led the team and the league with 32 doubles and 108 hits. He also was named 3rd Team All-American, 1st Team All-Conference USA, and shared Team MVP. Later, he was named third baseman on Rayner Noble's All Decade Team.

Season UH records:
#1 in runs (80 in 1997)
#1 in hits (108 in 1997)
#1 in doubles (32 in 1997)
#8 in batting average (.399 in 1997)
#2 in total bases (177 in 1997)

Career UH records:
#4 in runs (161)
#4 in hits (225)
#2 in doubles (51)
#5 in total bases (337)
#6 in steals (54)

Dustin was selected by Tampa Bay in the 22nd round of the 1997 MLB draft. He played five seasons for four Minor League teams, but never made it to the Majors.

Today's cards is the 1998 Bowman #217 and several of its variations. Yesterday I said that one of the good things about collecting these days is that there is something for every collector's taste. The number of variations can also be considered a negative. In the case of today's card, there are nine variations of the same card: Base, Golden Anniversary, International, Chrome, Chrome Golden Anniversary, Chrome International, Chrome Refractors, Chrome Golden Anniversary Refractors, and Chrome International factors.

In some cases there are even more variations. Refractors often come in a rainbow of colors, the only difference being the border color and the print run. One of the funniest jokes is that someday there will be a set where there are so many variations that every card will be a one of one. To me, that's just a little too much.



Chrome International

Chrome International Refractor

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1999 Topps Chrome #119 Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald played just one season for the University of Houston after coming from Sacramento City College. He was the Cougars' shortstop in 1993.

He was selected by the Oakland A's in the 4th round of the 1993 MLB Draft. He played for the A's Minor League clubs until he was called up in 1997 to play outfield. He continued to bounce between the Major and Minor leagues for the A's until 1999. In 2000, he played for the Rangers' Minor League teams and for the Major League team. He played a couple more seasons in the Minors before his career ended.

Today's card is the 1999 Topps Chrome #119. I'm not a big fan of Chrome cards. I think they detract from the picture which should be the focus of the card. But some people absolutely love Chrome. While I love the simplicity of the old days of card collecting, one of the positives of the modern era is that there is something for almost every collector regardless of their tastes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2000 SP Top Prospects First Impressions Gold #GG Gee Gervin

Being the son of a legend must really have its positives and negatives. Positive: You get to do things, go to places, and meet people the average person doesn't. Negative: People may expect the same talents, interests, and levels of success as the father.

The son of NBA legend George "The Iceman" Gervin, Gee Gervin may not be an NBA Hall of Famer, but he is definitely a Cougar great.

Gee played for the University of Houston in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. He was team co-captain both years. He led the team in scoring (both seasons), 3 point percentage (1998-99), free throw percentage (both years), assists (both years), and steals (1998-99). Despite playing on losing teams both seasons, he was All-Conference USA 1st Team both years. He was the first Cougar to be named 1st Team All CUSA in 1998-99, probably because he was the first player to lead the conference in both points and assists. He was even named All American Honorable Mention in 1999.

Gee never made it to the NBA, but he has been playing professionally. He played in the ABA for the Detroit Dogs and won the first-ever ABA Championship Game MVP Award. He played in the International Basketball Association, in Mexico, in Cyprus, and for the Harlem Globetrotters. Most recently in 2009-10, he played for the Norrkoping Dolphins in the Swedish league.

Today's card is the 2000 SP Top Prospects First Impressions Gold #GG. It features a picture of Gervin in his UH uniform and an on card autograph. The Gold variation is limited to 25 cards and is hand numbered. The base variation is not numbered.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2001 Fleer Platinum #248 Alton Ford

Sometimes you wish a player could just hang around a little longer. Alton Ford is one of those guys. Coming to the University of Houston as a High School All American and the Texas High School Player of the Year, expectations were high.

Ford showed flashes of that greatness as a Freshman. He played in 26 games and started 18, including the last 7 where he led the team in scoring and rebounding. His 10.8 points per game ranked him #7 in all-time Freshman scoring and his 5.9 rebounds per game ranked #5 for Freshman. He was even named to the 4th team All American on one list.

But because expectations were so high, they weren't met and areas of improvement were noticeable. But instead of staying in school to improve, he declared for the NBA draft. He was selected by the Phoenix in the 2nd round, played for the Suns in 2001-02 and 2002-03. He then played for the Houston Rockets in 2003-04.

After leaving the NBA, he has played in French, Chinese, Polish, and Bosnian leagues as well as the NBA's D-League.

If he had stayed at UH, would he have been a college star? Would he have developed more in college and been a better pro? We'll never know. But what we do know is that we love our Coogs whether they were at UH for a short time or 4+ years, whether they are Hall of Famers or don't play a minute in the pros. They are part of our Cougar family.

Toay's card is the 2001 Fleer Platinum #248. The design is based on the famous 1986-87 Fleer set which features rookie cards of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler as well as an Otis Birdsong card. If you want to do a retro card in basketball with a recognizable design, this set is the obvious choice.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

2002 USA Baseball National Team Signatures #SN Shane Nance

Several pitchers at the University of Houston have had one great season, or maybe even two or three. But few if any had a four year career like Shane Nance. He played baseball at UH from 1997-2000. Not only was he a starting pitcher, but he was also a designated hitter.

As a freshman, he made Collegiate Baseball's 1st team Freshman All-American list.

He was 1st team All Conference USA in 1998 and 2nd team All Conference in 1999 and 2000. He was Team MVP in 1998 and was named to Rayner Noble's All Decade team.

Shane Nance's UH Accomplishments:
#1 career wins (32)
#1 career innings pitched (411.1)
Tied for #7 career complete games (12)
Tied for #3 career shutouts (5)
#5 season strikeouts (119 in 1999) & #7 (106 in 1997)
Led team in ERA in 1997 (4.53), 1998 (2.96), and 2000 (2.31)
Led team in victories in 1998 (9)
Led team in strikeouts in 1997 (106), 1998 (93), and 1999 (119)

Nance was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2000 MLB draft. He played for 7 minor league teams. Shane also had limited appearances in three seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Unfortunately he never stuck in the Majors and retired in 2005.

While at UH, he also played for the USA National Team in 1998 and 1999. His time on the national team is the inspiration for today's card, the 2002 USA Baseball National Team Signatures #SN. Limited to 375 cards, it features Shane in his Team USA uniform and includes an autograph.