Deceased Football Autographs

Buried With Their Cleats On

Warren Alfson  (1915-2001)

Guard—(Nebraska) Brooklyn Dodgers 1941   [All-American 1940]

I was one of five proposed for All-Pro by Jock Sutherland in 1941.
    Warren Alfson

 

Warren Alfson is one of four A.P. All-Americans who signed this news article.  The others include Frank Albert, John Kimbrough, and George Paskvan.

Warren Amling  (1924-2001)

Guard—(Ohio State)  [All-American 1945-46, College Football Hall of Fame 1984]

He was a great player.
                             Harry Stuhldreher

 

Warren Amling is one of seven 1945 U.P. All-Americans who signed this news article. The others include George Savitsky, Bob Fenimore, Herman Wedemeyer, Vaughn Mancha, Doc Blanchard, and Glenn Davis.  Of Amling, the sports writer said, "The outstanding choice of the voters for a guard spot due to his excellent play in the underpar but still rugged Western conference."  He is buried in Kirkwood Cemetery, London, Ohio.

Plato Andros  (1921-2008)

Guard—(Oklahoma) Chicago Cardinals 1947-50

We had our share of genuine, bonafide characters, too.  Plato Andros, the gorgeous Greek from Oklahoma, certainly fit that category.  Plato, who lived with his wife in the same apartment building Lucy and I moved into, bragged that he had the broadest shoulders in the NFL, and to disagree wasn’t wise.  To do so might cause Plato to pull out the .38 revolver he always toted.  And from game’s end on Sunday through Monday, our only day off, he usually maintained a constant drunk.  Since guns always scared the crap out of me, those were times Lucy and I would usually head for the library or a similar haven of safety.  Swell guy, Plato.  Since he couldn’t carry his cannon on the field, he used another weapon.  When a particularly critical play was in the offing, Andros would work a little extra saliva into the tobacco he always chewed and, at the precise moment the ball was snapped, send a stream of chew juice into the eyes of an unsuspecting opponent.  It was an extremely effective technique.  To this day I maintain it had as much to do with the advent of face masks four years later as did the urge to curtail broken noses.
    Don Paul

 

Plato Andros is buried in Rose Hill Burial Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

John "Baddie" Badaczewski  (1922-1999)

Guard—(Western Reserve) Great Lakes Naval Training Station 1943, Bainbridge Naval Training Station Commodores 1944, Fleet City Bluejackets 1945; Boston Yanks 1946-48, Chicago Cardinals 1948, Washington Redskins 1949-51, Chicago Bears 1953

 

Solon “Bubo” Barnett (1921-1998)

Guard—(Baylor) Green Bay Packers 1945-46

 

Ray Beck (1931-2007)

Guard—(Georgia Tech) New York Giants 1952,1955-57  [All-American 1951, All-Service 1953, College Football Hall of Fame 1997]

An All-American at Georgia Tech and a veteran known for his intelligence.
    Sam Huff

 

Libero Lorenz "Bert" Bertagnolli  (1914-1992)

Guard—(Washington, MO) St. Louis Gunners (AFL) 1938-40, Phoenix Panthers (PCFL) 1940, New York Americans (AFL) 1941, Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1943; Chicago Cardinals 1942,1945, Greensboro Patriots (Dixie League) 1946

We loved Bert.  He lectured us about hanging out in alleys and swapping spit with girls.
    Jack Secord

 

Jonathan Payne "Ode" Bilbo  (1914-2000)

Guard—(Mississippi) Chicago Cardinals 1938-39

 

John Billman  (1919-2012)

 

Guard—(Minnesota) Brooklyn Dodgers 1946, Chicago Rockets 1947

 

He was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ed Bock  (1916-2004 )

Guard—(Iowa State) [All-American 1938, College Football Hall of Fame 1970]

Iowa State was reluctant to buy me some false teeth right away so I fashioned myself three teeth out of paraffin to fill the gap. Then against Kansas State, a back ran over me for a sizeable gain and as the play ended I looked up at one of the officials and spit out those three wax impressions. He whistled a penalty on Kansas State -- 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
    Ed Bock

 

Ed Bock is one of five 1938 A.P. All-Americans who signed this news article. The others who signed it include Parker Hall, Al Wolff, John Pingel, and Marshall Goldberg.  Of Bock, the sports writer said, "Bock has been a standout in the Iowa State forewall for three seasons. He has started and played most of every game the Cyclones have contested in that time.  Observers rate him among the best guards ever found in the Big Six. A durable, 200-pounder, Bock still is fast enough to play halfback."

Lew Bostick  (1916-1999)

Guard—(Alabama) Cleveland Rams 1939

 

Verdi "Blister" Boyer  (1911-2003)

Guard—(UCLA) Westwood Cubs 1935, Brooklyn Dodgers 1936, Los Angeles Bulldogs (AFL) 1937,1939, Los Angeles Bulldogs (California Football League) 1938, Los Angeles Bulldogs (PCFL) 1940-41,1944-45, Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1942, Hollywood Rangers (PCFL) 1945

 

Verdi Boyer did not sign his name on a questionnaire that I sent him, but he did write his nickname.  However he answered all the other questions.

Garland "Gob" Buckeye  (1897-1975)

Guard—Chicago Tigers 1920, Chicago Cardinals 1920-24, Chicago Bulls 1926

 

Garland Buckeye is buried in Ottawa Hills Memorial Park, Toledo, Ohio.

Harry "Buff" Buffington  (1919-2003)

Guard—(Oklahoma A&M) Maxwell Field Marauders 1944; New York Giants 1942, Brooklyn Dodgers 1946-48

 

Paul Buddy Burris  (1923-2007)

Guard—(Oklahoma) Green Bay Packers 1949-51   [All-American 1946-48]

I made $6,500.  I never did get a raise. I had a three-year contract and that was it. If I'd have asked for a raise, they would have fired me or something. But that was pretty good money. Bud Wilkinson got only $6,000 his first year coaching Oklahoma. About $1.50 was the going rate, working per hour out here. If you got $2 an hour, that was tops because that was what they got in the oil field rough-necking.
    Paul Buddy Burris

 

 

Buddy Burris autographed this 1948 Al Pierotti cartoon.  He is buried in Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Nick “Chic” Chickillo (1930-2000)

Guard—(Miami, Florida) Chicago Cardinals 1953 [All-American 1952]

 

Jake Colhouer  (1922-1998)

Guard—(Oklahoma A&M) Chicago Cardinals 1946-48, New York Giants 1949

If you didn’t go along with Jake he might pop you right in the mouth.

     Bob Fenimore, on Colhouer's leadership skills at the 1945 Cotton Bowl 

W. H. "Spot" Collins  (1922-1996)

Guard—(Southwestern/Texas) Camp Lejeune Marines 1944; Boston Yanks 1947

He wasn't a big fella, but he had a big heart. He was a quality person and a great American.

      Keifer Marshall

He is buried in Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, Austin, Texas.

Tom "T.J." Corbo  (1918-2000)

Guard—(Duquesne) Cleveland Rams 1944

Bill "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Corbus  (1911-1998)

Guard—(Stanford) [All-American 1932-33, College Football Hall of Fame 1957]

 

Bill Corbus autographed the copy of this 1932 Christy Walsh All-American selection news article.  Walsh wrote, "Weighing 188 pounds, Corbus is so built as to convey the impression of a heavier man and once under pressure in a football game, the impression is accentuated and justified. Playing against Pittsburgh in a strange and adverse climate, Corbus made half of Stanford's tackles and was consistently good in every game this year. He is a fine interferer, a power on defense and played throughout all important games without respite. The leadership and integrity that made Corbus president of the Stanford student body characterize his conduct on the football field."  He is buried in Grace Cathedral Columbarium, San Francisco, California.

See video clip of Bill Corbus who is among others selected as All-Americans in 1933.  Watch for #19 as he takes his helmet off and smiles for the camera.

Bernard "Bernie" Crimmins  (1919-1993)

Guard/Linebacker—(Notre Dame) Green Bay Packers 1945; Coach—Indiana University 1952-56

Winfield "Shifty" Croft  (1910-1993)

Guard—(Utah) St. Louis-Kansas City Blues (American League) 1934, Brooklyn Dodgers 1935, Pittsburgh Pirates 1936

I had to quit after 3 years.  I was too brittle.

     Win Croft

Zygmont "Ziggy" Czarobski  (1923-1984)

Guard—(Notre Dame) Chicago Rockets 1948, Chicago Hornets 1949   [All-American 1947, College Football Hall of Fame 1977]

He was a joy to be around. When he said, “I'm going out,” we all went with him. He filled out a profile card once and, for church preference, he wrote, Red brick.
    Johnny Lujack

Ziggy Czarobski was one of more than a dozen players who autographed this Notre Dame football banquet program on 8 December 1942.  The program was given to me by Jane O'Connor, widow of  Bill "Bucky" O'Connor.

Frank D'Agostino  (1934-1997)

Guard/Tackle—(Auburn) Philadelphia Eagles 1956, Hamilton Tiger Cats (CFL) 1957, New York Titans 1960

Dick Daugherty (1929-2009)

Guard/Center/Linebacker—(Oregon) Los Angeles Rams 1951-53,1956-58

When I first came up, a football career was fun seven days a week. There were two hours of practice a day and parties every night, except Saturday.  Instead of exchanging movies with the other teams, we sent scouts to every game, and all we had to do was look over the scouting report. It didn’t take long. Suppose I was going up against  Ray Bray of the Bears. The report on Bray would give me this information: “Been in the league seven years, one of the toughest guys in the league, will knock your hat off and step on your face.”  I could digest a report like that by noon on Tuesday and take the rest of the week off.  In my rookie year, it required practically no mental effort. In a typical week in 1951, we spent half our time running through every offensive play we had. We spent the rest of the time polishing up the only two defenses we had. We could have done that in our sleep. In fact, I often did.  We had more than two hundred defenses under Gillman, compared to the two we had in 1951.  The year I came up, the coaches’’ idea of mental preparation was a memory test. Before every game in 1951, when we won the NFL title, we had to memorize the names and numbers of all the players on the other side. If you missed one number, it was an automatic fine.  That was Jumbo Joe Stydahar’’s first year as the Rams’ head coach, and I remember there were a lot of fines.  I think Tom Fears still holds the club’s all-time practice-field record. Tom had one argument with Stydahar that went on for fifteen minutes. And every time Tom shouted something at him, Jumbo raised the price. Jumbo won the argument by rounding out the fine at an even one thousand dollars.
    Dick Daugherty

 

 

Dick Daugherty sent me this autographed copy of a Rams postcard. 

Hal Dean (1922-2011)

Guard/Linebacker—(Ohio State) Fort Bragg 3rd Field Artillery Replacement Training Center Cannoneers 1943; Los Angeles Rams 1947-49

 

 

Bob "Dobbie" Dobelstein  (1922-2009)

Guard—(Tennessee) New York Giants 1946-48, Los Angeles Dons 1949, Paterson Panthers (AFL) 1949-50

I played in 3 bowl games at U.T.  1942—Sugar Bowl vs. Tulsa.  1944—Rose Bowl vs. USC, Captain.  1945—Shrine East-West game, Kezar Stadium, San Francisco . . . . Having been hearing impaired for most of my life, I did not serve in the arm[ed] forces.
    Bob Dobelstein

 

 

William B. “Monk” Edwards  (1920-2009)

Guard/Tackle/Linebacker—(Baylor) New York Giants 1940-42, 1946

 

 

Monk Edwards autographed the copy of this 1940 New York Times article briefly mentioning his working out for the Giants.

Paul "Tiny" Evensen  (1922-2002)

Guard—(Oregon State) Personnel Distribution Command Comets 1945; San Francisco 49ers 1948

Ralph Fife  (1920-2000)

Guard—(Pitt) Chicago Cardinals 1942,1945, Pittsburgh Steelers 1946; Eastern Army All-Stars 1942  [All-American 1941]

Fife considered a forward pass a long fumble; he eschewed the pass completely.  He was brought up under the Jock Sutherland style of football.
    Vic Surma

Pat "Peanut" Filley  (1922-2000)

Guard—(Notre Dame)   [All-American 1943]

He was small as guards go but his biggest forte was his leadership—a real competitor who hated to lose.  He played offense and defense equally well.  He played with both knees heavily bandaged for support.  He could pull well on off-tackle and end run plays and was a fine down-field blocker.
    John Lujack

 

Pat Filley autographed this 1944 Al Pierotti cartoon.  I also have a signed 1944 Sam Davis cartoon.

William "Bill" Fivaz  (1901-1994)

Guard/Center—(Syracuse) 1921-24

I went to Syracuse in 1921 and played end my freshman year, then in '22 and '23 played varsity running guard.  In 1924 I played center.
    William Fivaz

 

Bill Fivaz  wrote, "I had a chance to play for a pro team but since I was offered a scholarship to go to medical school and help out the lacrosse team I chose to go to Medical school."  He is buried in Mount Adnah Cemetery, Fulton, New York

Aldo Forte  (1918-2007)

Guard—(Montana) Santa Ana Army Air Base Flyers (PCFL) 1942, Fleet City 1945; Chicago Bears 1939-42, Los Angeles Wildcats (AFL) 1944, Detroit Lions 1946, Green Bay Packers 1947

 

Julius "Julie" Franks  (1922-2008)

Guard—(Michigan) [All-American 1942]

I had pretty good technique, but technique doesn't help you when the guy you are going against weighs 100 pounds more than you do [he weighed 183].  We had to be complete players. Today everybody specializes. But back then you went both ways, you had to know everything about the game.  Society was different.  You couldn't have beer in the dorms, and coaches were a lot more strict about training habits. In fact, you couldn't buy hard liquor over the counter at all in Grand Rapids.  And girls had dorm hours.  They had to be in by 11.  I think there were only two other blacks in the Big Ten at the time.  But I never had a bit of trouble.  I stayed in every hotel the team stayed in. I benefitted from what happened to Willis Ward a few years earlier.  [A few years earlier, Michigan played Georgia in Ann Arbor, and the visitors refused to play if the Wolverines used Ward. Michigan kept him out of the game, which created an uproar.] After that, the regents voted that everybody plays, no matter what.  So we didn't play any southern schools.  I had to have all kinds of jobs to get through school.  During my freshman year, I cleaned the stadium on Sunday's. I worked at the Student Union for 2½ hours every day for my meals, and I worked 20 hours a month cleaning up the student rec center.  I had to work at the post office every Christmas, and during the summers I worked at camps, and eventually for Ford Motor Company.  It was a lot of work, but the nice thing was that back then you could usually make enough money in the summer to pay for your tuition.
        Julius Franks

He was a great guard.
    Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf

 

Julius Franks was one of six 1942 Central Press All Americans who autographed this news report.  The headline read "Negro Is Chosen."

Ray Frankowski  (1919-2001)

Guard—(Washington) Green Bay Packers 1945, Los Angeles Dons 1946-48  [All-American 1941]

He is fast enough to guard against passes, recover fumbles and lead his mates down field under punts.
    Jack Guenther (1941)

 

Ray Frankowski is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.

Rod Franz   (1925-1999)

Defensive Guard—(California)  [All-American 1947-49, College Football Hall of Fame 1977]

He was simply the best guard of his time; no one could control him.  There was nobody like Rod. He developed a blow when he got off the ball that was just devastating.
    Dick Erickson

 

 

Rod Franz autographed this 1949 Tom Paprocki cartoon.  I also have a signed 1949 Alan Maver cartoon.

Frank Gaziano (1917-2010)

Guard—(Holy Cross) March Field 1943, Boston Yanks 1944 [All Service Team 1943]

 

Mario "Yo-Yo" Giannelli  (1920-2003)

Guard—(Boston College) Philadelphia Eagles 1948-51

The Eagles got draft rights to me, and I signed with them right after the 1947 season for $6,000.  That was pretty good money.
    Mario Giannelli

 

Mario Gianelli is one of several Eagles to sign this news article reporting the 1948 NFL championship game in which the Eagles beat the Chicago Cardinals 7-0.  Others who signed include Bill Mackrides, Bosh Pritchard, Jim Parmer, Bap Manzini, and Ace Prescott.  He is buried in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose, Massachusetts.

George Gibson  (1905-2004)

Guard/Player-Coach—(Minnesota) Frankford Yellowjackets 1930, Minneapolis Redjackets 1930   [All-American 1928]

I am entitled to several records which have never been mentioned by the present day announcers.  These are as follows:

        1. I played on two National Football League teams simultaneously, the Minneapolis Red Jackets and the Frankford Yellowjackets.

        2. I coached two National Football League teams simultaneously, the Minneapolis Red Jackets and the Frankford Yellowjackets.

        3. I played on two National League teams that went broke the same season.

        4. I coached two National football teams that went broke the same season.
    George R. Gibson

 

 

George Gibson autographed this news article naming the 1930 All Pro team picked by the Chicago Daily Times.  He also signed a 1928 All-American news article.  He is buried in Resthaven Memorial Park, Midland, Texas.

Gale Gillingham  (1944-2011)

Guard/Tackle—(Minnesota) Green Bay Packers 1966-76 [All Pro 1970-71]

 

I played six exhibition games (at guard) and was getting ready to go to Cleveland when they switched me [to defense].  This was, like, the Wednesday before the opener. It was a shock to me. In fact, I went home and thought about it for about two hours and damn near didn't come back. But I thought there was enough of a mess over there, I went back and switched.

                Gale Gillingham

 

I obtained this autograph via a trade.

Garland Gregory  (1919-2011)

Guard—(Louisiana Tech) Fourth Air Force Fliers 1943-45; Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1945; San Francisco 49ers 1946-47

He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Ruston, Louisiana.

George Groves  (1921-2011)

 

Guard—(Marquette) Buffalo Bills 1947, Baltimore Colts 1948

Pete "Toe" Gudauskas  (1916-2003)

Guard/Linebacker/Kicker—(Murray State) Cleveland Rams 1940, Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) 1941, Chicago Bears 1943-45 [Little All-American 1937-38]

The biggest thing about kicking in those days was the weather conditions we played in.  I remember times I had mud hanging on my shoes and I wondered if I'd ever be able to lift the ball off the ground.
    Pete Gudauskas, the first
    player to use a square-toed
    shoe for placekicking

Al Gutknecht  (1917-1996)

Guard—(Niagara) Brooklyn Dodgers 1943, Cleveland Rams 1944

John Hatley  (1930-2001)

Offensive Guard/Defensive Tackle—(Baylor/Sul Ross State) Chicago Bears 1953, Chicago Cardinals 1954-55, Denver Broncos 1960  [National Cowboy Hall of Fame 2004]

 

Luke Higgins  (1921-1991)

Guard—(Notre Dame) Baltimore Colts 1947

Luke Higgins autographed this Notre Dame banquet program on 8 December 1942. The program contains more than a dozen signatures and was given to me by Jane O'Connor, widow of Bill "Bucky" O'Connor.

Homer "Dick" Hobbs  (1923-1997)

Guard—(Georgia) San Francisco 49ers 1949-50

John Hock  (1928-2000)

Guard/Tackle—(Santa Clara) Chicago Cardinals 1950, Los Angeles Rams 1953-57

 

Bob “Hub” Hoel  (1913-2001)

Guard—(Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh Pirates 1935, Chicago Gunners 1936, Chicago Cardinals 1937-38

Frank "Nordy" Hoffmann   (1909 -1996)

Guard—(Notre Dame) [All-American 1931, College Football Hall of Fame 1978]

 

Nordy Hoffmann is buried in Saint Gabriel Cemetery, Potomac, Maryland.

George "Tubba" Hughes  (1925-2009)

Guard/Tackle—(William & Mary) Pittsburgh Steelers 1950-54

 

George Hughes is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.

He declined to autograph a 3x5 card, but printed his name on a questionnaire that I sent to him in May 1995.

Bob Jeffries (1919-2007)

Guard—(Missouri) Brooklyn Dodgers 1942 [All American 1941]

 

Art “The Artful Dodger” Jocher  (1915-1997)

Guard/Linebacker—(Manhattan) Brooklyn Dodgers 1940,1942, Paterson Panthers (AA) 1941, Paterson Panthers (AFL) 1946

I was rookie lineman of the year 1940, runner-up to Clyde Bulldog Turner.
    Art Jocher

 

Ellis "Bones" Jones  (1921-2002)

Guard—(San Angelo JC/Tulsa) Boston Yanks 1945

I didn't know what two arms meant [he lost his right arm at age eleven].  I guess I wasn't smart enough to feel sorry for myself.  I either made them run over me or I shot through them.
    Ellis Jones

Cy Kasper  (1896-1991)

Guard/Fullback—(Notre Dame) Rochester Jeffersons 1923

I was on Notre Dame squad with [George] Gipp in 1919 and 1920.  I was no herald player.  Seems my two years [WWI] in France slowed me up.
    T. C. Kasper

Nick Kerasiotis  (1918-2002)

Guard—(St. Ambrose) Iowa Pre-flight Seahawks 1943; Columbus Bullies (AFL) 1941, Chicago Bears 1942,1945; Akron Bears (AFL) 1946, Bloomfield Cardinals (AFL) 1947 [Little All-American 1939-40, 2nd Team Service All-American 1943, AFL All-League Team 1946-47]

He was a very intelligent man who did a lot of reading and traveled all over the world as treasurer for the WBA and the World Boxing Organization.
    Sean Curtin

 

Nick Kerasiotis is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Aurora, Illinois.

Ed King  (1925-2006)

Guard—(Boston College) Buffalo Bills 1948-49, Baltimore Colts 1950

 

After finishing football, Ed King served as director of the Massachusetts Port Authority and governor of Massachusetts.  He is buried in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline, Massachusetts.

Zvonimir Kvaternik  (1911-1994)

Guard—(Kansas) Pittsburgh Pirates 1934

Jim Lecture  (1924-1999)

Guard—(Washington, Mo./Northwestern) Buffalo Bisons 1946

Tony Leon  (1917-2002)

Guard—(Alabama) Washington Redskins 1943, Brooklyn Tigers 1944, Boston Yanks 1945-46

I was 4F for a heart condition and I lied to play football, saying I had a perforated eardrum.
    Tony Leon

Leonard "Butch" Levy  (1921-1999)

Guard—(Minnesota) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1942; Cleveland Rams 1945, Los Angeles Rams 1946, Los Angeles Dons 1947-48

 

Butch Levy, who was also a pro wrestler, only printed his given and middle names and his nickname on the questionnaire which I sent him in March 1992. 

Jim Logan  (1916-2004)

Guard—(Indiana) Chicago Bears 1943

I was drafted by the New York Giants, but had to decline because I was still going to school.  I ended up in Chicago in 1943 taking an internship at Augustana Hospital.  That summer I happened to notice in the sports page an article stating that the Chicago Bears were having some difficulty in recruiting a team for the coming season.  I called the Bear's stockholder responsible for recruiting and scheduled an appointment with him at his office in the Wrigley Building.  I was pleased to sign as a guard for the coming season.  The season went very well. . . .  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS LETTER ABOUT PLAYING IN THE NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WITH BRONKO NAGURSKI SENT TO ME BY JIM LOGAN

 

Joe Lokanc  (1917-2009)

Guard—(Northwestern) Chicago Cardinals 1941; Bainbridge Naval Training Station Commodores 1943

I played on college all star team in 1941 against the Chicago Bears.
    Joseph A. Lokanc

Leon “One Round” Manley   (1926-2010)

Guard/Tackle—(Oklahoma) Green Bay Packers 1950-51, Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) 1953-54

Clayton Tonnemaker, Larry Coutre and I played in the College All-Star game against Philadelphia Eagles in 1950.  We arrived in Green Bay and the Packers were already in training camp.  I played mostly left offensive tackle but had to play offense and defense.  We only had five tackles.  I think we had a squad of 35.  Tarz Taylor was our line coach.  The thing I remembered about Tarz, he made us make two tackles on a hanging dummy that was just on the outside the stadium.  He made us leave our feet and pull that dummy down.  The second year we were in camp in Minnesota.  I hurt my back early and didn’t do anything until we played the Cardinals in an exhibition game in Green Bay.  I played the whole game at left offensive tackle.
    Leon Manley

Marv McFadden  (1930-2007)

Offensive Guard—(Michigan State) Pittsburgh Steelers 1953, 1956

In 1952 when I finished college the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted me. [Biggie] Munn again reminded me I was too small to play pro ball.  Again I proved them wrong.  It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog, is the moral. . . .  CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS LETTER THAT MARV McFADDEN WROTE ME JUST BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY

 

Lewis "Bud" McFadin  (1928-2006)

Guard—(Texas) Los Angeles Rams 1952-56, Denver Broncos 1960-63, Houston Oilers 1964-65   [All-American 1949-50, Knute Rockne Award 1950, College Football Hall of Fame 1983]

He has great quickness and mobility for a big man.  And he's got years of experience to go along with that natural ability.
    Hank Stram

 

Bud McFadin is buried in Colorado Cemetery, Colorado City, Texas.

Barney McGarry  (1917-2001)

Guard—(Utah) Cleveland Rams 1939-42; Iowa Pre-flight Seahawks 1943, Jacksonville Naval Air Station Fliers 1945

 

 

Barney McGarry autographed this 1938 Ev Thorpe cartoon.  He autographed it after I did a recorded interview with him in his home.  He is buried in Heber City Cemetery, Heber City, Utah.

Bob “The Bull” Maddock (1923-2003)

Guard—(Notre Dame) Chicago Cardinals 1942,1946

 

John "Hog Jaw" Magee (1923-1991)

Guard—(Rice) Southwestern Louisiana Institute Marines 1943, Fleet Marine Force Pacific 1945; Philadelphia Eagles 1948-55

Vic "Sub Marino" Marino  (1918-2006)

Guard—(Ohio State) Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1942; Boston Bears (AFL) 1940, New York Americans (AFL) 1941, Oakland Giants (PCFL) 1945, Baltimore Colts 1946

Dale Meinert (1933-2004)

Guard/Linebacker—(Oklahoma State) Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) 1955-57, Chicago Cardinals 1958-59, St. Louis Cardinals 1960-67 [All Pro 1964]

He was a hard-nosed, hard-working man but yet he was a gentle man.  People talk today about players having a passion, but to me passion is to be excellent at what you do — he was that. He had bad feet; he had to wear thick-soled shoes. But he'd still run like a deer.
    Larry Wilson

 

See video clip of Dale Meinert intercepting an errant John Brodie pass in the 1966 Pro Bowl.

Charles "Bill" Milner  (1922-2006)

Guard/Linebacker—(South Carolina/Duke) Fleet Marine Force Pacific 1945; Chicago Bears 1947-49, New York Giants 1950

I was defensive captain New York Giants in 1950.
    Bill Milner

 

Bob Momsen  (1929-2010)

Guard—(Ohio State) Detroit Lions 1951, San Francisco 49ers 1952 [All-American 1950]

Ray "Piano Legs" Monaco  (1918- 2002)

Guard—(Holy Cross) Churchill Pros (AA) 1941, Providence Steamroller (AA) 1941, Washington Redskins 1944, Cleveland Rams 1945

 

Don "Red" Nelson  (1915-1996)

Guard—(Iowa) Brooklyn Dodgers 1937

 

Carl Nery  (1917-2007)

Guard—(Duquesne) Pittsburgh Steelers 1940-41

 

Leo Nobile (1922-2006)

Guard—(Penn State) Washington Redskins 1947, Pittsburgh Steelers 1948-49

Leo Nobile is buried in Resurrection Cemetery, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

Bill "Bucky" O'Connor  (1923-1990)

Guard—(Notre Dame) Buffalo Bills 1948, Bethlehem Bulldogs (AFL) 1949, Cleveland Browns 1949, New York Yanks 1951

O'Connor was versatile.  He was possessed of a lot of speed, was heavy enough for all practical purposes, and was solidly built.  There were few plays which could not be entrusted to him.
    Frank Carideo

 

Garver Oxley  (1919-1997)

Guard—(Findlay) Eastern Flying Training Command Eagles 1945-46

I was with Detroit Lions long enough to get a clean jockstrap.  I received pay for my rookie tryout . . . .during these years we did not have face masks.  As a result many of players lost teeth . . . .When we played a game (not practices), we had a special manager who had an empty cigar box and stood in the entrance to the locker room.  As each player came in and had a bridge, plate, etc., he would deposit it in the box.  Upon leaving, this same manager would stand at the door with the box.  As each player with missing teeth would exit he would "root" through the cigar box and retrieve his teeth.
    Garver Oxley

 

Endicott "Chub" Peabody  (1920-1997)

Guard—(Harvard) [Knute Rockne Award 1941, All-American 1941, College Football Hall of Fame 1973; governor of Massachusetts, campaigned for 1972 Democratic nomination for Vice President, insisting that the party, not the President, should choose the nation’s second-in-command]

He was a 190-pound package of unmodified murder, the most savage blocker and tackler in the Ivy League.  Harvard men don't usually turn professional, but Peabody could probably get a job with any team in the National league.
    Jack Guenther (1941)

 

 

Chub Peabody autographed this 1942 Jack Sords cartoon.  He is buried in Town Cemetery, Groton, Massachusetts.

Steve "Rock" Petro  (1914-1994)

Guard/Linebacker—(Pittsburgh) Brooklyn Dodgers 1940-41; Western Army All Stars 1942

 

George Petrovich  (1926-2010)

Guard/Tackle—(Texas) Chicago Cardinals 1949-50

 

Rocco "Rocky" Pirro  (1916-1995)

Guard—(Catholic) Fleet City Bluejackets 1945; Pittsburgh Steelers 1940-41, Buffalo Bisons 1946, Buffalo Bills 1947-49; Worcester Panthers (American Association) 1942

 

Bill Radovich (1915-2002)

Guard—(Southern California) Detroit Lions 1938-41,1945, Great Lakes NTS Bluejackets 1942, Los Angeles Dons 1946-47 [All-Service 1942, All- Pro 1945-46]

The little creep said I'd either play in Detroit or I wouldn't play anywhere. He also told me if I tried to play in the [All-America Football Conference], he would put me on a blacklist for five years.  It took a lot of guts to take on the NFL back then. There was no union, no players` association, no legal fund. And we didn`t make very much money. It cost me a lot, but I knew I was right.
    Bill Radovich,
     referring to Lion’s owner Fred Madel, Jr.

 

Garrard "Buster" Ramsey  (1920-2007)

Guard—(William & Mary) Bainbridge Naval Training Station 1943-44; Chicago Cardinals 1946-51; Coach—Buffalo Bills 1960-61   [All-American 1942, All-Service Team 1943, College Football Hall of Fame 1978, All Pro 1947-49]

Buster Ramsey was our line coach [Detroit Lions], and he was another one from the old school.  He had been a tough football player in his time; he played guard with the Chicago Cardinals and was an excellent coach.  He liked people to hit, and at that time Doak Walker played for us.  He was our big point getter.  He did everything—he scored touchdowns and kicked field goals and extra points, but Ramsey used to get furious because Walker wouldn’t try to block some 240- or 250-pound lineman.  Walker weighed 165 pounds, and he might block somebody if he had the angle on him, but he wasn’t about to pit himself against some monster who weighed seventy-five pounds more than he did.  Buster would get mad and start yelling.  “Doak, come on.  Knock somebody down.”
    Millard Kelley

 

Buster Ramsey is buried in Grandview Cemetery, Maryville, Tennessee.

Knox "Bulldog" Ramsey  (1926-2005)

Guard—(William & Mary) Los Angeles Dons 1948-49, Chicago Cardinals 1950-51, Philadelphia Eagles 1952, Washington Redskins 1952-53

We stayed in the best hotels and traveled 1st class. Of course we flew by prop planes and sometimes the team & equipment weighed more than they were supposed to. . . . CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS LETTER THAT KNOX RAMSEY WROTE TO ME IN 1989

 

 

Steve Reid (1914-2009)

Guard—(Northwestern) [All-American 1936, College Football Hall of Fame 1985]

I was drafted by Brooklyn Dodgers but I told the Coach Potsy Clark that I was interested in going to medical school . . .   CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS NOTE THAT STEVE REID WROTE TO ME IN 1990 ABOUT HIS DECISION TO FOREGO A PRO CAREER FOR A MEDICAL CAREER

 

 

Steve Reid autographed this 1936 cartoon by Burnley.

Ray Richeson  (1923-2003)

Guard—(Alabama) Personnel Distribution Command Comets 1945; Chicago Hornets 1949, Pittsburgh Steelers 1950

Ray Richeson is buried in Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Russellville, Alabama

Lyle "Rock" Rockenbach  (1915-2005)

Guard—(Michigan State) Detroit Lions 1943; Bainbridge Naval Air Station Commodores 1944

 

Joe Ruetz  (1917-2003)

Guard—(Notre Dame) St. Mary's Pre-Flight Air Devils 1942, El Toro Marines 1944; Chicago Rockets 1946,1948

Joe was one of the sharpest coaches I've ever known.  He was a great teacher.
    Dutch Fehring, on Ruetz as assistant coach at Stanford

An avid hiker and mountain climber, he went on a solo backpacking trip to Utah in the first week of December, 1941, got caught in severe blizzards and had to hike 12 days through deep snow before returning to safety — and learning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Herb St. John  (1926-2011)

Guard—(Georgia) Brooklyn Dodgers 1948, Chicago Hornets 1949

 

 He was buried in Perry Memorial Gardens, Perry, Georgia.

Ed Royston  (1923-2011)

 

Guard—(Wake Forest) Sampson Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1943; New York Giants 1948-50

 

Floyd "Scrappy" Rhea  (1920-2010)

Guard—(Fullerton JC/Oregon) Chicago Cardinals 1943, Brooklyn Tigers 1944, Boston Yanks 1945, Hawaiian Warriors (PCFL) 1946-47, Detroit Lions 1947

Tony Sardisco  (1932-2006)

Guard—(Tulane) Washington Redskins 1956, San Francisco 49ers 1956, Boston Patriots 1960-62, Calgary Stampeders (CFL) 1959 [All-American 1955]

 

Tony Sardisco is buried in Forest Park Cemetery, Shreveport, Louisiana.

Ted Schmitt  (1916-2001)

Guard—(Pittsburgh) Philadelphia Eagles 1938-40

He liked to eat. One of his favorite dishes was chocolate cake with ketchup. Anytime anyone had a get-together, Ted would say, “Where's the ketchup?”  He'd put ketchup on that cake like it was a hamburger.
    Francis “Angel” Nath

 

Roy Scholl  (1904-1993)

Guard—(Lehigh) 1924-27

 

Roy Scholl signed this 1990 handwritten letter to me.

John "Bull" Schweder  (1927-2005)

Guard—(Pennsylvania) Baltimore Colts 1950, Pittsburgh Steelers 1951-55 [All-American (AP) 1949]

I believe there were two problems when I played with the Colts in 1950.  (1) We had a pretty good first unit, however, there was no bench strength.  We only had thirty-six players and no taxi squad.  (2) We were the swing team, that is, we played every team in the Eastern and Western Conference.
    John Schweder

 

John Schweder is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

I also have a short note sent to me by Schweder in which he comments about Ernie Stautner, who was his roommate.

Harley Sewell  (1931-2011)

Guard/Linebacker—(Texas) Detroit Lions 1953-62, Los Angeles Rams 1963   [College Football Hall of Fame 2000]

 

He had pale, thinning hair, a rolling gait like a sailor’s; he was small in stature for a lineman (his weight was in the record books as 230, though he looked much lighter), but when he put his mind to something he was insistent, and his determination was obviously a major part of his equipment.  He was always the first player in the locker room, the first dressed, and on the field he always ran from one place to another, never to impress anyone, but because that was his way—to drive himself at a furious tempo.  One of the jokes in camp was to speak of Sewell as “dragging his feet” or “holding things up,” and often they shouted: “Hey, Harley, can’t you never get it up?” and he would keep at what he was doing, not letting on he’d heard.  Off the field his manner remained the same.

                  George Plimpton

 

Herb Siegert (1924-2008)

Guard—(Illinois Wesleyan/Illinois) Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station 1943; Washington Redskins 1949-51

 

Joe Signaigo (1923-2007)

Guard—(Notre Dame) Camp Lejeune Marines 1944, Pacific Fleet Marine Force 1945; New York Yankees 1948, Brooklyn-New York Yankees 1949, New York Yanks 1950  [All Pro 1949-50]

 

Joe Signaigo is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Jim "Happy" Sivell  (1914-1997)

Guard—(Auburn) Brooklyn Dodgers 1938-42, Brooklyn Tigers 1944, New York Giants 1944-45, Miami Seahawks 1946

Brooklyn was a wonderful sporting town.  Win or lose, they were out hollering as loud as ever.  Last coach was Dr. John Bain Sutherland, a wonderful man and coach.  I have him as one of the best ever.  No team would ever beat him often.
    James "Happy" Sivell

 

 

 

Nick Skorich  (1921-2004)

Guard/Linebacker—(Cincinnati) Pittsburgh Steelers 1946-48; Coach—Philadelphia Eagles 1961-63, Cleveland Browns 1971-74

When I showed up in the Steelers' camp [in 1946], they had 110 players, and back then they kept 33 or 34 during the season.  Players were coming and going every day.  At that time they found the answers by scrimmage, scrimmage, scrimmage.  The first day of practice we were lined up and there were eighteen pairs of guards.  They were going to carry four guards on the team . . . .[Jock] Sutherland called everyone together and said, "Gentlemen, we have a big problem.  We have nine players too many, and that issue has to be decided today.  Put your hats on and get to work."  We scrimmaged for three hours and I always tell the story that I spilled more blood in that scrimmage than I did during the entire Second World War.  Fortunately I managed to make it and stayed for three years.
    Nick Skorich

 

Nick Skorich is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey. 

Steve Slivinski  (1917-2008)

Guard/Tackle—(Washington) Washington Redskins 1939-43, Seattle Bombers (PCFL) 1944; Coach—Tacoma Indians (PCFL) 1946 [PCFL All League 1944]

He was a really good lineman.
    Sammy Baugh

 

Steve Slivinski autographed this copy of a news article recounting the 1942 league championship game.  It mentions that Slivinski suffered a smashed nose in the fourth quarter.

Inwood "Putter" Smith  (1915-1995)

Guard—(Ohio State) [Walter Camp-Grantland Rice All-American 1935, All-American 1936]

Upon graduation from Ohio State University in the spring of 1937 I was drafted to the "to be" Cleveland Rams . . . who commenced playing in the NFL that fall, but had not then be[en] publicly announced as the "new team."  The commissioner of the NFL at that time was Joe Carr, who had his offices in Columbus, Ohio; and it was Mr. Carr who made the draft selections (10) for the "yet to be announced" Cleveland Rams.  He drafted me, I believe, because of my Ohio State background in the belief that it would be helpful to the new team located in Ohio; and did so despite the fact that I had confidentially advised him in advance that I would not play professional football . . . which I stuck to . . . .I negotiated with the Rams to the point of reaching agreement that I would play a defensive cornerback position primarily, but in the end I decided to continue with building up a career in business.
    Inwood Smith

 

See my article entitled "'I Did Not Play': Team Roster Errors in Pro Football" regarding Inwood Smith not playing pro football in PFRA's Coffin Corner 14, no. 6 (December 1992): 7, 16.

Albert "Gunga" Sparlis  (1920-2005)

Guard—(UCLA) Green Bay Packers 1946  [All-American 1945, College Football Hall of Fame 1983]

I didn't dare look to the sideline for fear that they'd replace me.  Jeez, you'd die on the field before you'd let them take you out. Now, you see these guys signaling to come out all the time. Maybe they're smarter than we were. All I know is that going out back then was like surrendering in war.
    Al Sparlis

 

Max John Starcevich  (1911-1990)

Guard—(Washington) [All-American 1936, College Football Hall of Fame 1990]

Starcevich is a terrific blocker and deadly tackler . . . on offense they just can't get big Max out of the way.
    Christy Walsh

 

 

Max Starcevich is one of three who autographed this 1936 Phil Berube cartoon.  The other two were Ave Daniell and Marshall Goldberg.

Lou “Red” Stephens (1930-2003)

Guard—(San Francisco) Washington Redskins 1955-60

 

On a questionnaire that I sent to Red Stephens in February 1996, I asked him who he considered was the roughest, most bruising player who he played against.  His answer:  "I hated Don Colo with the Browns the most."

He is buried in Santa Fe National Cemetery, New Mexico. 

Damon "Greek" Tassos  (1923-2001)

Guard/Linebacker—(Texas A&M) Detroit Lions 1945-46, Green Bay Packers 1947-49

 

Harry J. "Sam" Thompson  (1926-2003)

Guard—(UCLA) Los Angeles Rams 1950-54, Chicago Cardinals 1955

Harry was one of those self-sacrificing players that every good team has on the roster.

     Bob Oates

 

Thompson was best known as one of the “Original Five,” the first African Americans to play in a championship game. The quintet that included Woodley Lewis, Paul "Tank" Younger, "Deacon" Dan Towler, Harry Thompson and Bob Boyd helped lead the Rams to a 24-17 victory over Cleveland in the 1951 title game.

Wilfred Thorpe  (1917-1998)

Guard/Linebacker—(Arkansas) Cleveland Rams 1941, Camp Peary Pirates 1944

 

Pete Tinsley  (1913-1995)

Guard—(Georgia) Green Bay Packers 1938-45

I was only making $100 a game.

     Pete Tinsley

 

 

George "Cud" Tobin  (1921-1999)

Guard—(Notre Dame) New York Giants 1947

 

George Tobin was one of more than a dozen players who autographed a Notre Dame football banquet program on 8 December 1942.  The program was given to me by Jane O'Connor, widow of  Bill "Bucky" O'Connor.

Charles Tollefson  (1917-1989)

Guard—(Iowa) Green Bay Packers 1944-46

 

Nick Toth (1916-2010)

Guard—(Canisius) Buffalo Tigers (AFL) 1941

I recall Johnny Blood.  He played two games with the Buffalo Tigers.  As a matter of fact, I recall specifically him telling us to give him five seconds to hold the guys if he had to.  He threw two long bombs for touchdown and we won the game.  I don't recall whether it was against the Cincinnati Bengals or Columbus Bullies.  I distinctly recall smelling Johnny Blood's alcoholic breath at the time.  He sure knew how to drink. . . .  I am not related to Zollie Toth.
    Nick Toth

 

Nick Toth signed the above autograph and wrote me a 2-page typescript signed letter dated March 29, 1999.  One of the things he wrote me about in the letter was his memories playing a couple games with Johnny Blood (see quotation above).

Vic Vasicek (1926-2003)

Guard—(Southern California/Texas) Buffalo Bills 1949, Los Angeles Rams 1950

 

Bob Ward (1927-2005)

Guard—(Maryland) [All-American 1950-51, College Football Hall of Fame 1980]

A lot of people consider Randy White the best player in Maryland history, but I'd put Bobby right up there with him as the best, no question.  I remember a game against Michigan State when Bobby was at middle guard and went right over top of the center to make a tackle. Then he went right under the center to make another tackle. A little later, he went around the center to the left. Then he went around him to the right. I've never seen anybody who could dominate a game like Bobby.   His age was a factor, but his hustle, physical condition and tremendous quickness also stood out.  Off the field, he was very quiet, just a regular guy. On the field, he let his actions speak for themselves.
    Jack Scarbath

 

 

This is one of two copies of this 1951 Alan Maver cartoon that Bob Ward autographed for me.  Anyone want to dicker for a trade?

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

Dale "Muddy" Waters  (1909-2001)

Guard/Tackle—(Florida) Cleveland Indians 1931, Boston Braves 1932, Boston Redskins 1933

 

John "Jac" Weller  (1913-1994)

Guard—(Princeton) [College Football Hall of Fame 1957]

I never played pro ball because I was never offered enough . . . .Bert Bell and Lud Wray came to see My Little Wife and me every week in the latter part of the summer of 1936, but they could offer only peanuts, much less than an assistant coach made at Princeton . . . .Now MLW and I are real glad we didn't [play pro ball].
    "Jac" Weller

 

Jac Weller sent me this letter in 1990 on a copy of a 1935 news article announcing his selection as an A.P. All American. 

Richard "Bus" Werder  (1922-2002)

Guard—(Georgetown) Fort Worth Skymasters 1945; New York Yankees 1948  [All Catholic All-America 1947]

 

Werder — known as “Bus” or “Buster” since his infancy, when a hospital nurse brought him to his mother and said, “Isn't he a Buster?”  Bus Werder declined to autograph a 3x5 card, but printed his name on a questionnaire that I sent to him in January 1993.

Stan West  (1926-2005)

Defensive Guard—(Oklahoma) Los Angeles Rams 1950-54, New York Giants 1955, Chicago Cardinals 1956-57  [All Pro 1952]

 

 

Stan West and Jim Owens autographed this 1949 Alan Maver cartoon. 

Arthur "Tarzan" White (1915-1996)

Guard—(Alabama) New York Giants 1937-39,1945, Chicago Cardinals 1940-41; Eastern Army All-Stars 1942, Chatham Army Air Field Blockbusters 1944 (Player-Coach), First Air Force Aces 1945

 

I obtained this 1981 Tarzan White autograph and two other 3x5s from dealer Bill Butts who bought the collection of Rich Laade, my former collecting mentor, after Rich passed away.  I sold several autographs from my collection in 2010 to a collector interested in Auburn players to fund the purchase of this card.

Len Younce  (1917-2000)

Guard—(Oregon State) New York Giants 1941,1943-44,1946-48, Portland Boilermakers 1942 (Northwest War Industries League)  [All NWIL League 1942, All Pro 1944]

 

 

I also have a 2-page handwritten letter dated October 27, 1989, sent to me by Len Younce.  He lists some of the great players who he played with and against in the pros.  The other autograph shown here is on a November 19, 1944, game program of the Giants vs. Packers given to me by Giants' tackle Rusty Kane.  The cover has almost twenty autographs of Giants players. 

Sid Youngelman  (1932-1991)

Guard—(Alabama) San Francisco 49ers 1955, Philadelphia Eagles 1956-58, Cleveland Browns 1959, New York Titans 1960-61, Buffalo Bills 1962-63

You pick your spot, and then you get his helmet off . . . and kick his damn head in.
    Sid Youngelman, on how
    he was going to get even with
    the Oilers' "Dirty" Al Jamison

 

Gust C. Zarnas  (1913-2000)

Guard—(Ohio State) Chicago Bears 1938, Brooklyn Dodgers 1939, Green Bay Packers 1939-40, Great Lakes Naval Training Station Commandos 1942 [All-American 1937, College Football Hall of Fame 1975]

He was a powerful right guard whose unique style of line play has confounded opposition linemen throughout the 1937 season.
    Christy Walsh

 

I also have a signed typescript note dated September 14, 1990, sent to me by Gust Zarnas. 

Anthony "Zu" Zuzzio  (1916-2002)

Guard—(Muhlenberg) Third Air Force Gremlins 1944; Paterson Panthers 1941, Newark Bears (AA) 1941, Detroit Lions 1942

 

Tony Zuzzio is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Parsons, Kansas

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