A Little Something to Strive For

What a difference a week makes.

A few days ago, I wrote about Southern Illinois University’s Hall of Fame players.  In it, I mentioned that our most famous basketball player (and arguably most famous athlete) Walt Frazier was missing from my collection.  I don’t think that’s entirely true.  I think I have a couple Topps Stars cards in one of my binders, but I don’t really feel like rummaging through all my basketball binders to check.  Besides, I’m not a Knicks guy and will try to avoid showing their cards whenever possible.  But I will show this.

That's not what the SIU logo looked like when he went there. It wasn't even the logo my first couple years.

I found this little beauty at Tim’s Baseball Card Shop (the one from the super bowl commercial last year) in the quarter box.  I had some leftover birthday cash and decided to get myself something nice.  Obviously he has more than just baseball cards in the ol’ shop.

This Press Pass Legends card is one of only two cards I’m aware of that feature Walt Frazier in a Saluki uniform.  The other is a jersey relic card in this year’s Upper Deck Greats of the Game collegiate set.  If I remember correctly, his jersey isn’t all that visible in that card, and I don’t think the game-used piece is from his college days.  That means the quarter card wins out.

Walt played for SIUC from 1963-1967 back when they were still a Division II team.  He was a two-time All-American and led SIU to the NIT title in 1967, where he was named tournament MVP.  The card back also mentions that an opponent said he has hands “faster than a lizard’s tongue.”

When the Salukis take the court today in their season opener against nationally ranked Illinois (coached by Bruce Weber, who led SIU to a Sweet 16 appearance our freshman year and then promptly left for the more prestigious job), I hope they keep Walt in the back of their heads.  Let’s bring back some sort of winning tradition and spirit to our school.  Let’s get that MVC title back.  Let’s go for the NCAA tournament, not just the NIT.  Let’s get back to Floorburn U.  Let’s get back to nationally ranked status ourselves.  Let’s start it today!  Who’s with me?  SIU!  SIU!  SIU!

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