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CamaroDMD
09-22-2010, 02:39 PM
Cards from the Dollar Menu
by CamaroDMD


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A relative of mine has a Super Bowl ring. I have never met the man nor did I see him play. What I do know is he played tight end at UCLA and was a consensus All-American in 1981. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round in 1982 but did not sign with them. Due to a contract dispute with the Bears he took his talent to the fledgling United States Football League. He signed with the Chicago Blitz giving him the distinction of being the first NFL draft pick to defect to the USFL. He spent 1983 with the Blitz and 1984 with the Arizona Wranglers following a team wide trade. Following the demise of the USFL, he joined the Chicago Bears in 1985 where he was a member of the 15-1 Super Bowl XX champions. He would play one more season before retiring after 1986. I was born in 1985 so I didn’t witness any of this. All I knew growing up is my mom’s cousin (I later found out that means he’s my second cousin once removed) is Tim Wrightman. His career was not overly great; he was a reserve tight end for a dominant team and perhaps could have started elsewhere. Despite that, there is a great deal of pride in my family over a relative (although somewhat distant) having played in the NFL.

Collecting football cards growing up, I always wanted to have a Tim Wrightman card in my collection. I was never able to find one however. I searched through Topps cards from the 1980s and never added a Wrightman to my collection. I later found out that a mainstream card of him was never produced. I guess his 46 receptions and 1 touchdown over a two year career wasn’t significant enough of a performance to get him in a Topps set. A number of years later, I learned that he had a few oddball issues released. He had four issues, the first two were from various USFL team issues and to this day I have never seen either. The other two issues were from McDonalds. McDonalds issued team sets for the Bears in both 1985 and 1986. Tim Wrightman had a card in each set. Not only were the sets easy to find, they were inexpensive. It wasn’t long before I had an example from each year.

In all, there are 7 different Tim Wrightman cards from McDonalds. Each year, the cards contained a tab at the bottom. This tab was a coupon that could be redeemed at McDonald’s restaurants and its value varied based on the performance of the team on that given week. There are three different tabs in 1985 and four in 1986. The three tabs from 1985 are blue (Divisional Playoffs), orange (NFC Championship), and yellow (Super Bowl XX) while 1986 had a four week release during the regular season (those colors are: blue, black, gold, and green).

Once I had discovered these cards existed, it didn’t take long for me to begin searching. Fortunately, these were the early days of eBay and with a few quick searches I tracked him down. First, I found a complete set of 1985 McDonalds Bears with the yellow tab…the most common issue. I purchased the whole set just for the Wrightman. Later, I found a lot Wrightman cards from 1986 which was only missing the gold tab and I picked that up as well. To this day, I am missing the 1985 blue and orange and the 1986 gold. I was satisfied with my addition of an issue from each year. Eventually I’ll pick up the rest of his McDonalds cards and maybe even the USFL issues if I can ever track them down.

These cards are worth next to nothing. Outside of die-hard 1985 Bears fans and UCLA fans from the early 1980s, nobody really knows anything about Tim Wrightman. But, even though I have never met him we are related. He is the only professional athlete in my family and that is significant to me. I know these are just “cards from the dollar menu” and they have little monetary value. He is considered a “common” in the set. But, their value to me greatly outweighs any book value or sale price they have ever realized.

WilyWestbrook0
09-22-2010, 10:46 PM
Posted!

http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2010/09/cards-from-the-dollar-menu/