Here is a graded card that I have in my collection. This is Charger wide receiver Anthony Miller’s rookie card from 1989 Topps, graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA.
You may be wondering why this is Anthony Miller’s rookie card since he entered the NFL in 1988. Well, back in 1988, the hobby was a lot different than it was today. Topps had a monopoly on football cards. And football cards weren’t the money maker that they are today. Basically, Topps Football was a set that was put together while everyone was waiting for the upcoming baseball set. Unlike today, they didn’t manufacture numerous sets or ensure that every rookie was included in the set (even for 1st rounders like Miller). So Miller, did not have a card in the 1988 set. Which is why the 1989 card is considered his rookie card.
Anthony Miller is one of those great players in Chargers history that I consider vastly under appreciated. He played during the lean years between the Air Coryell era and Boss Ross’s Super Bowl team (1988-1993). How bad were the teams that Miller played for? In his six seasons with the team, he experienced only one winning season (1992). The team’s record during his stint was 41-55. Here were the quarterbacks that he got to play with:
1988 Mark Malone / Babe Laufenberg / Mark Vlasic
1989 Jim McMahon / Billy Joe Tolliver
1990 Billy Joe Tolliver / Mark Vlasic / John Friesz
1991 John Friesz
1992 Stan Humphries / Bob Gagliano
1993 Stan Humphries / John Friesz
He wasn’t blessed with a good quarterback until he got to play with Stan Humphries in 1992-93. Despite the fact that he played on crappy teams and mediocre quarterbacks, Anthony Miller was a beast. A four time Pro-Bowler with the Chargers. He recorded 374 reception for 5582 during his playing career in San Diego. The only players in Charger history with more receiving yards? Lance Alworth, Charlie Joiner, Antonio Gates, Gary Garrison, Kellen Winslow, and Wes Chandler. You may have heard of a few of those guys.
Joiner, Winslow, and Chandler got to play in the Air Coryell offense. Alworth and Garrison (“Bambi” and “the Ghost”) were able to play for Sid Gillman’s prolific attack in the 60′s. Antonio Gates is one of the NFL’s greatest tight ends of all time. Anthony Miller had to deal with guys like Babe Laufenberg, John Friesz and Marc Vlasic under center. But he still posted some very impressive numbers. Just imagine what Anthony Miller could have accomplished if he had the fortune of playing in the Air Coryell offense.