Top 12 All Time Redskins: Brian Orakpo

The second installment of my all time favorite Redskins is Brian Orakpo, or ‘Rak!

09 UB Brian Orakpo Lustrous Rookie Signature

Rak is entering his 5 year as a Redskin after being selected 13th overall in the 2009 draft.  The fact that he slipped to the Redskins at no. 13 was a complete shock to me as he was someone i followed at the University of Texas.  He was a beast of a talent at UT and dominated so many games for the Longhorns.  There were quite a few mock drafts that had him going in the top 5 and being the first or second DE taken that year.  I don’t believe there has ever been a real explanation for why he slipped, but i’ve always felt that many NFL scouts saw him as one of those ‘workout warrior’ guys that looked better working out than actually playing the game.  Rak was drafted as a DE which is what he played in college, but was drafted to play LB for the Redskins next to London Fletcher.  The transition has for him has worked well, but it has also exposed some of his limitations as a football player.  When the Redskins drafted Ryan Kerrigan in 2011, they developed a nice bookend with each other that were able to get to the QB and apply pressure throughout the season.  As with all football players, he does have limitations, but has proven to be well worth his high selection…in my opinion.

09 LL Brian Orakpo Phenoms Auto

Brian Orakpo would be higher on my list, but with the injuries he’s suffered in the past two seasons…i’m not really sure when he will be 100% again.  He has always managed to bring an extremely high level of intensity to the field and passion to the sidelines.  Watching him on the sidelines most of last season without football equipment was heartbreaking, especially with the new found success the Washington Redskins experienced last year.  I’m hoping he is able to get healthy and create a dominating tandem with Kerrigan and some of the other guys that stepped up in his place this year (Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Jackson and Perry Riley).

09 LC Brian Orakpo New Generation Auto

When Rak joined the Redskins i was all in on his cards and bid on his autos regularly on ebay as well as some game used jersey cards that will look great once i have a sports room to display them!

09 DT Brian Orakpo Rookie Class Auto Relic 09 SP Brian Orakpo Threads Letterman Auto Relic

One of my best memories of Rak was being at the first game of the 2010 season in Landover, MD against the rival Dallas Cowboys.  My first home Redskins game ever!  I had been to a few Cowboy vs. Redskins games, but they were always in Irving.  Rak was having a really good game and putting a ton of pressure on Romo all night long, but just couldn’t get to him…mainly because he was being held on nearly every play.  On the final play of the game with about 13 seconds and the Cowboys in the redzone threatening to score a touchdown and win the game.  Rak came around from the left side and just missed sacking Romo…as Romo completed a pass in the end zone to Roy Williams to tie the game.  BUT WAIT!  There was a flag!  The officials finally called holding on the Cowboys offensive line.  Game over.  Redskins win 13-7 on Sunday night in Landover.  Fantastic finish!

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#12 – The Hogs

#11 – Brian Orakpo

Rickey Henderson additions to my PC +1 Jeter

Since i’ve gotten the blog up and running again, one thing I really wanted to do was be more proactive in picking up new Rickey Henderson cards, or at least new to me.  I’ve been a huge fan of his since I first started collecting in 1985 and was able to collect all of his base cards and some oddball stuff from the 80’s through the mid-90’s.  When i gave up collecting for a few years, roughly 1995-2006, i missed out on a lot of his cards and have been playing catch up ever since.

Recently, my targets have been anything that isn’t an autograph or an outrageously short print/low serial numbered card.  Focusing on base cards, parallels, inserts and nice looking jersey cards that I can find easily and cost friendly.  For some reason or another, his cards are extremely difficult to spot at the card shows I go to as well as my LCS…no idea why.  I never have any issues finding Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr. or Cal Ripken Jr. cards, equally great players from around the same era…but the Rickey Henderson cards are difficult if not impossible to find.  I have no idea why this is?  Is it that he is such a popular player and people are hoarding his cards?  Or maybe people don’t like him as much as the other players from his era?

When he was playing, especially near the end of his career, there was some negativity towards him.  He had a rough end with the Mets.  Seemingly played one year for every team on the west coast.  Tried many times to land with the A’s for a late season push.  Whatever the reason, there was some negativity around him.  During his heyday, he was an extremely popular player and dynamic player.  He was also one of the few guys from the early years of the steroid era that seemed to be clean.

He is also a player, in my mind that is the only ‘greatest ____ of all time’ that can’t be argued with.  Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but I believe he is not only the greatest base stealer of all time, but the single greatest leadoff hitter.  Maybe i’m biased, but I cannot think of any other player you could say something like this about, much less two things?  Who is the greatest Home Run hitter?  Greatest Center Fielder?  Greatest Catcher, Pitcher?  All of these topics draw major debate, but when i comes to the leadoff position and base stealing, There is no one better than Rickey, and that is one of the reasons why he is my all time favorite baseball player.  I will keep looking for cards when i’m out and see who has anything new and exciting, I will also check in with the great Rickey Henderson Collectibles website to see what’s new and fantastic in the world of Rickey.

So without further adieu, here are a few images from my latest visit to the ebay and the LCS. (some of these cards may not be that new and exciting to you guys, but they are new to my collection and make me happy!)

The first card is a good ol’ fashioned hologram from the mid 90’s.  Upper Deck put all their chips in on this technology and it didn’t quite work out for them…did it?  The Denny’s cards are pretty classic though and a must have for your binders.  From different angles, it looks like you have a silver-ish card with no image and from others, you can see the Man of Steal!  Thank you Denny’s, this one set me back one hundred pennies.

94 UD Rickey Henderson Dennys Hologram

The next two cars are from this years Topps set, The Greats insert and a Game Used Memorabilia Chasing History card.  Both were bid on and won by yours truly from the electronic bay.  I’m hit or miss on bidding from stuff at ebay as i have found the sellers/buyers difficult to deal with at times.  When i do purchase stuff from ebay i go low budget in order to avoid any real issues.  Both of these cards set me back about $7 shipped.  I love the old and new Rickey on the cards.  Classic vs. Legend.

13 T Rickey Henderson The Greats13 T Rickey Henderson Chasing History Game Used Jersey

The last one is the Allen and Ginter base card from last years set.

12 AG Rickey Henderson

I also picked up this beast, Derek Jeter, from the 1998 Zenith set.  This set came out in a period when i was collecting things not on cardboard.  I seem to remember Stale Gum doing a box break on these odd ball giants and attempting to find a way to get the mini card out of the big card without damaging the big card…or the mini card.  Many attempts were made and a valiant effort was given.  I’m just glad these things don’t exist anymore…except with A&G, i guess their stuff is ok, right?

98 Zenith Derek Jeter