Isaac Bruce Rookie Cards: An All-Inclusive Checklist
With the 33rd overall pick in the 2nd round of the 1994 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected Isaac Bruce from Memphis State University. He has 10 official rookie cards and 4 parallels.
The NFL Career of Isaac Bruce
Isaac Bruce had a 16 year NFL career. He started his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1994 but the entire organization then moved to St. Louis in 1995, altogether it was a 14-year career with the Rams and a 2-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2009.
At the time of his retirement, he was only the second receiver to reach 15k receiving yards behind only Jerry Rice. Today, he ranks 5th in the All-Time NFL Receiving Yards Career Leaders list.
Teammate Kurt Warner said this on the Rich Eisen Show, “I’ve been around a lot of great players, great receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, Torry Holt but the greatest route runner I’ve ever seen play this game is Isaac Bruce.”
Warner goes on to say, “Hall of Fame isn’t just about numbers and stats, it’s also about how you carry yourself, what you meant to an organization, and what you meant for the league. No one carried themselves better than Isaac Bruce.”
How Did Isaac Bruce Carry Himself?
Isaac is a very grateful man. He attributes much of his success to his parents, Jesse & Teresa Bruce. He is one of fifteen children they raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They taught all of their children hard work, faith, and to always encourage one another and have each other’s back.
He is a man of great faith and was nicknamed by teammates as “The Reverend” because he always wanted to be a preacher. He’s not shy when talking about his faith but also displays it in his character and personality traits.
The Knock At the Hall of Fame Door
NFL Hall of Fame tradition entails all nominees staying at a hotel and waiting for a knock at the door from President & CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame, David Baker. As nominees anxiously wait for the knock, David will make his rounds, knock on the doors of those inducted and present the good news.
Well, Isaac Bruce decided to play his hand differently. When President Baker knocked on the door Isaac didn’t answer. David had to knock twice! It’s a move that Isaac admittedly often makes. As he describes it as, “taking in the moment.” He often did this during commercial breaks in a football game.
Career Stats and Accomplishments of Isaac Bruce
Summing up his career numbers: Games 223 | Receptions 1,024 | Yards 15,208 | TD’s 91.
He is a 4x Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl XXXIV Champion in which he was the go-to receiver for the St. Louis Rams also known as, “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER
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Leading us off is the Action Packed brand delivering an action-packed game day photo of our featured Hall of Famer, it’s a 198 card set that was released in two series. This particular rookie card can be found in Series 2 packs and there are no parallels offered.
The Bowman brand offers collectors a borderless game day action photograph, there’s not too much to distract collectors. Towards the bottom of the card, there appears to be a series of vertical lines that mimics a football field or a ruler not sure which.
The card back has bright colors but has a dark bordered background, and you know what that means, difficulty in finding gem-mint copies. Bowman is a 390 card set single series with no parallels.
This rookie card of Isaac Bruce is the one chosen for the PSA Pro-Football, Hall of Fame Modern Rookie Players – Set Registry. As of June 2020, there are 420 graded by PSA, and 125 of those were given the Gem-Mint 10 designation.
The standard size for any sports card today is 2.50″ x 3.50″ but for the Game Day brand they were a bit taller measuring 2.50″ x 4.75″ which makes them about an inch and a quarter taller than the traditional size.
I like this size for basketball & football because typically the players are so tall I just felt it was appropriate to put them on a taller card, but on the flip side, at least back in 1994, these were always hard to protect and store.
Borderless practice photography is used and there is very little to distract our attention away from that. I really appreciate the card back because it gives us another photo, player bio, stats, and player commentary, everything a good card back should have. This is a 421 card set and there are no parallels.
This is a wonderfully thought-out set design, it has full action game day photography capturing Isaac Bruce doing what he did best, running routes, and looking for the ball.
The card front also offers a silvery, radiant gleam to it which made it relevant for modern-day sports cards manufactured in the same year.
The card back offers another photo, this time a gray stock one, it also gives us the team name since it doesn’t showcase that in the front. It lacks player bio and commentary but obviously, the photo was the key focus.
Images is a 125 card set released as a single series and offers no parallels.
This is a very impressive photograph! The angle of his body and the angularity of the football coming into the shot is just absolutely amazing.
It would’ve been even better to see it in a game-day uniform instead of a practice uniform but still one that I will be pursuing. The Playoff Rookies logo is not too loud and fits nicely within the card as well.
The photo on the card back seems like he’s actually looking at himself catch the ball, it gives us commentary but that’s about it. Playoff is a 336 card set released as a single series and offers no parallels.
The Pro-Line brand captures Isaac Bruce in his college uniform, some collectors love them while others don’t care for them. This card features a full action photo with his name in big, bold font.
The card back offers everything a good card back should have however, the photos used on this card are very shadowy. This is a 405 card set released as a single series with no parallels.
Stadium Club prides itself in top-of-the-line photography. Here they offer collectors a portrait photo with a blurred background. His name, featured on the bottom of the card, is difficult to read but the Draft Pick logo is amazing.
The card back features the same photo as the front but filtered out to give it a different effect. The large font is used for easy visibility of commentary, player bio, and stats.
This is a very large 630 card set released in 3 series. This rookie card can be found in Series 2 packs and there is one parallel, Members Only, which was Topps mail-order set.
1994 Topps Football is a 660 card set split up evenly into two series. This particular rookie card can be found in Series 2 packs. The card design is unique, I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a ripple effect as in throwing a rock in calm waters or some type of shock wave.
Great looking Draft Pick emblem at the upper left side makes this one a must-have. The card back is decent but lacks a photo.
Special Effects – is the only parallel for this one although there not rare due to them being inserted 1:2 packs. The biggest difference for this parallel is silver foil on the card front.
The photo displayed in the 1994 Ultra appears to be a recycled, zoomed-in, photograph from the 1994 Playoff (See image featured above). However, I can really appreciate the hand-eye coordination displayed.
The card back offers interesting commentary on the Rams thinking at the time of recruiting Isaac Bruce.
1994 Ultra is a 525 card set released in two series, 325 cards in series one and 200 cards in series two, respectively. This rookie card can be found in Series 1 packs and there are no parallels offered.
Lastly, we’re looking at Upper Deck’s offering of our featured Hall of Famer. Perhaps my favorite one. Fantastic action photography placed nicely onto the overall card design. The Star Rookie logo is an A+ design too.
The card back gives us another action photo, player bio, commentary but no stats. There’s more of that Star Rookie emblem in the background, bringing it all together nicely.
This is a 330 card set released as a single series and there are two parallels offered in this product; Electric Silver inserted 1 per pack and Electric Gold inserted 1 per box.
Why I Would Consider Collecting Isaac Bruce RCs
I would consider collecting Isaac Bruce RCs because statistically, he ranks 5th All-Time in Receiving Yards. Now think about this for a moment! What I’m telling you is, in the history of the NFL he ranks 5th all-time. That’s a legit stat.
Also, he was one of the most dominating receivers between 1994-2002. The magical season of the St. Louis Rams in 1999 has gone down in NFL history books as one of the most potent offenses to ever play the game of football.
Another key component to this electrifying offense was Hall of Fame Quarterback Kurt Warner, you can see his rookie cards here!
Lastly, I will consider collecting his RCs because I’m an advocate for players who display, consistent hard work, minimal complaining, and humility in character. As opposed to those who are loud, arrogant, and selfish. Good guys do not finish last in my book.
Happy Collecting, Collectors
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.