Oakland, California born Mike Sherrard was a standout multiple sport athlete at Chico High School in Chico, California. He excelled in football, baseball, basketball and track and field.
The speedster was a walk on at UCLA and after a few early injury related setbacks, he became a starter by his sophomore season. He left school as the Bruins all-time leading receiver in both various single season and career statistics including a grand total of 124 receptions for nearly 2,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys chose Sherrard with the 18th pick in the 1986 NFL Draft.
After courageously battling through countless injuries in his decade plus long NFL career which included playing for the Cowboys, 49ers, Giants and Broncos, Sherrard retired after the 1996 season with 257 receptions for nearly 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns for his career.
The retired NFL player recently launched a startup company Score Celeb Stuff, being a liaison and offering the best of all worlds, assisting professional athletes sell unwanted items to passionate fans and supporters with proceeds going to a charity of the athlete’s choice.
Last week, we had a fun chat about the backs of his football cards. In this Q&A, we talk about his excitement seeing his rookie card for the first time, being gifted a game-used Bo Jackson bat, his current work in the sports memorabilia industry and more.
Tony Reid-How special is the autograph experience between a fan and a player in your opinion?
Mike Sherrard-You get more and more used to it. It’s flattering all the time. I don’t think pro athletes should take it for granted whether it’s on a photo or a football or a napkin you know they are going to lose. It’s still flattering to have a fan ask for your autograph because not everybody gets that same opportunity.
TR–Your rookie card appeared in the 1987 Topps release. Do you remember the first time you saw yourself on a trading card?
MS-It was that Cowboys card. I was shocked. I guess I didn’t look into it too much but I guess it should have happened. I was the first round pick and the Cowboys are pretty big. It was a dream come true seeing that card. As a kid, I collected cards. I mostly collected football and baseball. Cards were a big deal. I remember one card store I was at as a kid. I was flipping through cards with my dad. I kept asking him ‘Is this guy good?’ for each card. Eventually he said ‘Mike, everyone on a card is good.’ Getting my own card was like I made it. It was fun.
TR–What teams and players did you follow and collect as a kid?
MS-I grew up in Northern California so I was a Raiders fan. I loved Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch and Ken Stabler. That was my generation of players that I really looked up to. As I got a little bit older I always liked being a receiver, so I really followed Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Drew Pearson, those were my guys. I loved the Raiders first and I know these other players were their competition but I just loved the athletes and how they worked.
As a kid, I used to send letters to those teams as a fan. I sent letters to the Raiders and the Oakland A’s. I was lucky enough to get autographs from John ‘Blue Moon’ Odom. Fred Biletnikoff send me an autographed photo. Vida Blue sent me one as well. It was great for those pro athletes to take the time to send me a photo. I didn’t send a SASE. I just sent them a letter from a ten year old in Chico, California and they were gracious enough to send me stuff. I will always remember those times.
TR–Did you manage to hold on to any memorabilia from your career or time in the league?
MS-I have all of my cards in a little case. I have a few things I really cherish. When I was on the 49ers we had a travel basketball team. For some reason, we were playing in Kansas City one of those years. Bo Jackson was on the Royals at the time. Somehow we end up in the dugout pregame. He gave me a bat. I need him to sign it but he gave me a bat. I still have the Bo Jackson bat. It was the bat he was using in the game. That is one of my most prized possessions.
TR–You are the CEO and founder of Score Celeb Stuff. Can you walk us through the genesis of that company?
MS-I was neighbors with baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. Back in 2005 or 2006, I was pitching him an idea and he stopped me mid-sentence and said ‘Mike, what I really want is to sell my stuff. I have two storage units full of Yankees jerseys and bats and furniture and bicycles.’
It made me think that all athletes and celebrities have stuff they no longer want or need that their fans and followers would love to have. It’s the ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ idea. Its non-traditional memorabilia. It’s easy to find a Troy Aikman signed football but can you find his high school practice jersey or his bicycle or his furniture?
I am a charitable person in general. With every sale I make sure my clients donate a portion of it to charity, just to give back to something they care about. It’s also taking some of the stigma out of it. Why is so and so selling their stuff? Are they broke? No, they are raising money for the United Way or Make a Wish or the charity they are close to. It’s just a startup. It’s been going very well. My first client is a member of the band Kiss named Tommy Thayer. He happens to be one of my neighbors. He sold a Kiss golf bag and a leather jacket and made money for The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. They can get rid of items, their fans can cherish them and charities can benefit. It’s a win-win for everybody.