May 08, 2013

The Inspiration

Wayne Tolleson, 1989 Topps

Guys, Wayne Tolleson stole my heart and will steal yours, too.

Where do I begin? How about here:

Love and first sight. Let's go to Wikipedia:

Jimmy Wayne Tolleson

That's his full name, for reals. It's so dang AMERICAN I want to hop on a bald eagle and sail above Mount Rushmore. His Wiki bio photo is him at pregame with two boys, prolly his baseball-loving, well-behaved sons. I already feel like a terrible person being around Wayne Tolleson on the Internet.

A switch hitter who threw right-handed, Tolleson was listed at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) tall and 160 pounds during his playing career.

Five-feet, nine inches tall is, depending on your Eckstein source, just one-to-two inches taller than David Eckstein. Wayne Tolleson was, however, not Albino. But David Eckstein weighed (weighs; still alive, but unsure of post-retirement weight fluctuation) 170 pounds. David Eckstein would not have been allowed to box Wayne Tolleson on account of being too large. Speaking of other sports: did Wayne Tolleson play any other sports?

At Spartanburg

Spartanburg. That is awesome. I feel like the essence of Sparta is truly enhanced when you put a "burg" at the end.

(S.C.) High School, Wayne was a football teammate of former NFL Quarterback Steve Fuller.

I don't even know who Steve Fuller is; am I supposed to be impressed? From what I know already of Wayne Tolleson, I think the back of Steve Fuller's football card should read, "Was high school teammate of major league baller and generally amazing person and true American hero, Jimmy Wayne Tolleson. Go get his card and throw this one in the garbage can." (No offense there to Steve Fuller, who is maybe a nice person.)

You know, Darin Erstad played football. He was a punter for Nebraska, and he really took the grittiness of being of a punter to the major leagues, with the way he punted proverbially and willed his team to win like in football with good punts. I wonder what type of gritty punter Wayne Tolleson was ...

Tolleson was also a star football player at WCU, hauling in 105 passes for 1,747 yards and 14 touchdowns over two seasons. Tolleson was named All-Southern Conference as a wide receiver after leading both the conference and the NCAA Division I in receiving in 1977 with 73 catches for 1,101 yards and seven touchdowns.

Oh he was a diva wide receiver? That's not as a gritty as I thought. Too bad he didn't kick anything.

In 1977, he was WCU's emergency placekicker and was a perfect 6-of-6 on field goals, and connected on 22 of 24 extra point kicks. 

Okay that's pretty cool. But let's everybody relax. It's not like the guy played special teams or anything.

At the first-ever Canadian-American Bowl in Tampa, Florida, Tolleson returned the opening kickoff.

I am sitting next to my Grit Meter 3000 right now, and I am not kidding when I say that it just exploded. There are pieces of it everywhere. Wayne Tolleson did this, and I'm not even mad. I'm not even going to bother buying a new Grit Meter until the grit scientists go back to the drawing board and make a much more powerful model on this information I have just provided re: Jimmy Wayne Tolleson.

Guys, Jimmy Wayne Tolleson > Darin Erstad AND David Eckstein (!!!). Had his playing career fell into that niche of time after the Internet got big but before FJM, he likely would have caused several sports writers to have orgasmic heart attacks.

To recap, his name was Jimmy Wayne Tolleson, and he was 5'9", 160 pounds, and was possibly vision-impaired. He overcame all these obstacles to kick and catch footballs, and then hit baseballs professionally from either side of the plate, didn't matter to him. He was a Spartanburger through and through, and more importantly, a Yankee. Less importantly, he was a husband and father, but that's cool, too. In 1987, the "New York Press Association" - which I think is just Mike Lupica yelling in a large empty room - awarded him the "Good Guy Award." He donated the award to Haitian refugees. Maybe. I didn't look that up, but we can assume, safely.

Now let us all go forth and be better men. I mean you guys. I have cards to post.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I loved this one, great post! I never knew of (Jimmy) Wayne Tolleson's grit before. It's way better than my previous outlook on him, which was that if I squinted hard enough he kinda looked like Mattingly*.

*Also works with Mike Fischlin...

(Really all you need is a Yankee uniform, eyeblack, and a mustache to look like Mattingly. My squinting vision is terrible. Or maybe I just look for the Mattingly in all of us...)