Sunday, August 12, 2012

Journeymen are my Homeboys

As everyone knows, the great Fuji recently held one of his commenting contests.  They're fabulous - you just sort of forum it up in the comments and chat about common experiences and at the end you might win a prize.  If you do that's fine, but really I hardly care about the prizes since it's just fun to hear what everyone has to say.

That said, I WON (woohoo yeah yeah yeah!)!  And I was one of the earlier picks, so I got just the lot I was looking for - the Journeymen lot.  I consider myself one of the biggest fans of underdogs/journeymen in the collecting community, which obviously spawned my affection for players like Tyronn Lue, who bounced around seven teams before retiring from the NBA.  I never hesitate to appreciate a guy for fighting the good fight even while bouncing from team to team, so I figured this lot was perfect for me and I'm glad it ended up in my mailbox!

What follows is an ode to all the guys Fuji included in my package.  I'll show the stops they made in their career with the dates they were there, and I'll include some notes on them too!

First up, Mr. Chucky Brown, with a sweet Mystique card:
89-90 to 91-92 Cavs
91-92 Lakers
92-93 Nets
93-94 Mavericks
94-95 to 95-96 Rockets
96-97 Suns
96-97 Bucks
97-98 Hawks
98-99 Hornets
99-00 Spurs
99-00 Hornets (Second time around)
00-01 Warriors
00-01 Cavs (Second time around)
01-02 Kings

Notes: Chucky bounced around the league like a ping pong ball, with 12 total teams taking advantage of his talents (and yes, that is a record).  He won a ring with the 94-95 Rockets, and the following year he started all 82 games for the Rockets while scoring a career high 8.6 ppg.  Definitely the highlight years of a long career for Brown, whose low point was probably playing just 10 minutes of one game with the 93-94 Mavericks.  Some other fun points for Chucky include that he was actually on a 13th team (the Heat) but they waived him before he ever played, and that he was once part of a trade for Charles Barkley.  Not bad!

Moving to football, we have Minnesota's favorite son (hah), Jeff George:
90-93 Colts
94-96 Falcons
97-98 Raiders
99 Vikings
00-01 Redskins

Notes: Only five official teams for George, but he was also a backup QB for the Seahawks in 2002, a backup for the Bears in 2004, tried out for the Lions in 2004, and backed up for the Raiders (again) in 2006.  So he actually technically played for seven teams in his time in the NFL.  That's not the record though - QB J.T. O'Sullivan and K Dave Rayner both played for 11 teams during their NFL tenure.

It always seemed like more though, since he was always on the way out of teams.  His time with the Colts got real ugly real quick, and by the end he was demanding a trade.  With the Falcons George got in a fight with his coach and was suspended for the rest of the year, leading to the Oakland trade.  In Oakland, George had a decent statistical first year before a second year where he occasionally ignored the play calls of the offensive coordinator.

Then in 1999 with the Vikings, it seemed like George finally got it.  After Randall Cunningham struggled, George went 8-2 after being given the reigns and was similarly filthy in the playoffs, losing in the championship game to the Rams.  But then the offseason came and George took too long to agree to a contract with the Vikings, knocking himself out of a perfect situation.  From there he signed on in Washington, had some decent games as a backup, and then finished his career arguing with Marty Schottenheimer about Washington's West Coast offense.

Third is Jim Jackson, another NBA vet:
92-93 to 96-97 Mavericks
96-97 Nets
97-98 Sixers
97-98 Warriors
98-99 Trailblazers
99-00 to 00-01 Hawks
00-01 Cavs
01-02 Heat
02-03 Kings
03-04 to 04-05 Rockets
04-05 to 05-06 Suns
05-06 Lakers

Notes: Jim Jackson was a fantastic player at Ohio State, and in his early career with the Mavericks it looked like he was in an ideal situation (fans called he, Jamal Mashburn, and Jason Kidd the "3 J's").  But at the end of Jackson's tenure in Dallas there were rumors that he and Jason Kidd battled over the affection of singer/songwriter Toni Braxton.  I guess Kidd won, because Jackson was dealt out of town in a crazy nine player deal that also included Sam Cassell and Shawn Bradley.

Jackson was later traded from the Nets to make room for Keith Van Horn and was traded for the next guy on this list, Joe Smith, later on.  The biggest three takeaways for Jackson?  He had a career high 25.7 ppg in his third year, a sign of what could have happened if Toni Braxton never came into his path.  He was also the last guy to wear the #24 before Kobe Bryant.  And of course the biggest thing is his 12 teams, which ties Chucky Brown for most all time in the NBA.

In the middle of the 97-98 season, Jim Jackson and Clarence Weatherspoon were traded straight up for Brian Shaw and Joe Smith.  Here's Joe Smith, the first relic of the bunch:
95-96 to 97-98 Warriors
97-98 Sixers
98-99 to 99-00 Timberwolves
00-01 Pistons
01-02 to 02-03 Timberwolves (Second time around)
03-04 to 05-06 Bucks
06-07 Nuggets
06-07 Sixers (Second time around)
07-08 Bulls
07-08 Cavs
08-09 Thunder
08-09 Cavs (Second time around)
09-10 Hawks
10-11 Nets
10-11 Lakers

Notes: Smith was the College Player of the Year at Maryland, and this made him the number one pick of the 1995 Draft for the Warriors.  He had his two best scoring years in his first two seasons, and then was traded partway through season three, with his statistics never again reaching his initial peak. He was once part of a trade for Allen Iverson, but otherwise he's now known for being on 12 total teams - just like Chucky Brown and Jim Jackson.

Deion Sanders...ahhhhh everyone's favorite journeyman:
89-93 Falcons
94 49ers
95-99 Cowboys
00 Redskins
04-05 Ravens (and no that's not a typo)

89-90 Yankees
91-94 Braves
94-95 Reds
95 Giants
97 Reds (Second time around)
01 Reds (Third time around)

Notes: I always think of Deion as a Cowboy and Red, which I guess makes sense since they were his longest tenures.  But Deion moved around a fair bit, to nine different teams (ten if you count him being on the Chargers reserve-retired list in 2002) if you count both sports he played.  He also had a major issue giving up either game, as he returned to baseball after two years off and another four years off.  Then in football he retired and was talked out in 2004 thanks to Corey Fuller and Ray Lewis.  Then Deion was finally done with both games.

Octavio Dotel is one of my personal heroes, because he really did everything he could to make this list:
99 Mets
00-04 Astros
04-05 Athletics
06 Yankees
07 Royals
07 Braves
08-09 White Sox
10 Pirates
10 Dodgers
10 Rockies
11 Blue Jays
11 Cardinals
12 Tigers

Notes: Dotel joined the Tigers in 2012 with full knowledge that they would be his 13th team, thus setting a cross sport record for most teams in one career.  That to me is awesome, even if Dotel's last 6 teams were partial seasons over the past three seasons.  But even if 9 games with Atlanta and 8 games with the Rockies doesn't seem like much, I think Dotel's record is pretty unique.  He also won a World Series with the 11 Cardinals, which is pretty impressive and shows that he at least gets himself traded to the right teams!

The lone NHL representative in this lot is Mike Sillinger, who brought movement to the ice:
90-91 to 94-95 Red Wings
94-95 to 95-96 Mighty Ducks
95-96 to 97-98 Canucks
97-98 to 98-99 Flyers
98-99 to 99-00 Lightning
99-00 to 00-01 Panthers
00-01 Senators
01-02 to 02-03 Blue Jackets
03-04 Coyotes
03-04 to 05-06 Blues
05-06 Predators
06-07 to 08-09 Islanders

Notes: 12 teams for Sillinger, which is tops for the NHL.  240 lifetime goals across those 12 teams, which isn't bad for a center who frequently moved around.  Sillinger won only one championship in his hockey career, a 1992 Calder Cup AHL win as a rookie.  It's no Stanley Cup, but I'm sure it's better to win any championship instead of winning nothing!

Last but not least, we have Vinny Testaverde, a QB who bounced around due to performance rather than attitude:
87-92 Buccaneers
93-95 Browns
96-97 Ravens
98-03 Jets
04 Cowboys
05 Jets (Second time around)
06 Patriots
07 Panthers

Notes: Testaverde had some downs in his career, including a 13:35 TD:INT ratio in 1988 with the Buccaneers and a 275:267 TD:INT ratio for his career.  But he showed up in spurts with the Browns, Ravens, and Jets, enough to make those teams believe in him as a leader.  I remember him most fondly for his touchdown pass to Troy Brown in 2006, which gave him a TD pass in 20 straight seasons, setting an NFL record.  He extended the record to 21 in 2007 with Carolina, before retiring into the sunset with a whopping seven teams to his name.


  1. Congratulations... I'm glad the journeymen arrived safely at their new home.

  2. There's some really fun stuff in this lot! It should come as no surprise that the Sillinger auto caught my eye (even though he was JUST before I started following the Isles), but I also dig the Testaverde relic (some of the very minimal college football I've watched and enjoyed was his run with Jimmy Johnson's Hurricanes in the '80s) and oddly enough, despite him spending a lot of time as one of the accursed Cowboys, it's usually pretty hard for me to get rid of a Deion Sanders card. Even have a baseball relic of his. You done good, congrats!

  3. Me too Fuji! And thanks Scott, I'm a big fan of 'em too! I especially love the Dotel!