Deceased Football Autographs

Buried With Their Cleats On

Howard O'Neal Adams  (1919-1998)

End—(Arkansas) Second Air Force Superbombers 1945; New York Giants 1942-44

Just playing in a league with pro competition was an honor to me.
    O'Neal Adams

 

 

O'Neal Adams autographed the cover of a 19 November 1944 New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers game program. The program was autographed by more than a dozen Giants players and was given to me in 1995 by Rusty Kane, a tackle on the Giants.

Verlin “Sparky” Adams  (1918-1985)

End/Tackle/Guard—(Charleston) New York Giants 1943-45

 

Sparky Adams autographed the cover of a 19 November 1944 New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers game program. The program was autographed by more than a dozen Giants players and was given to me in 1995 by Rusty Kane, a tackle on the Giants.

Burr Baldwin  (1922-2007)

Offensive End/Defensive End—(UCLA) Camp Davis Blue Brigade 1943; Los Angeles Dons 1947-49  [All-American 1946]

Its most touted player, serious, studious Burr Baldwin, perhaps the best end in the country, is so good that he has an ex-All-American (Phil Tinsley, formerly of Georgia Tech) as an understudy.
    Time Magazine, 25 Nov. 1946

One of my bad memories of playing against USC involved Bob Robertson.  In 1941, I was covering a punt that Bob had received.  I had him pinned on the sidelines, no way to miss, he gave me a couple of moves and I got nothing but air.    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THIS 1994 LETTER AND ONE OTHER LETTER THAT BURR BALDWIN WROTE TO ME

 

Burr Baldwin was one of six 1946 A.P. All-Americans who signed this news article. The others included Alex Agase, George Connor, Charley Trippi, Doc Blanchard, and Glenn Davis.  Of Baldwin, the sports writer said, "Outstanding at end was Baldwin, described by coach Bert La Brucherie of U.C.L.A. as 'the best end I have ever seen.'"  He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Bakersfield, California.

Tom "Beans" Bienemann  (1928-1999)

End—(Drake) Chicago Cardinals 1951-56

He was one of those guys you thought would never run out of gas.  He could play both ways — in that day you had to. But he was also a very outgoing guy who was a friend of everybody on the field.  He came to practice in a suit and hat and would go to work after practice.  In those days, there was no such thing as a cellular phone, and we only had one phone in the clubhouse. So he had to wait in line to make all his business calls. But he certainly appeared to have prepared himself well for a life outside of football.
    Pat Summerall

 

Lamar "Pappy" Blount  (1920-2007)

End—(Mississippi State/Duke) Miami Seahawks 1946, Buffalo Bills 1947, Baltimore Colts 1947

My only service football was with Duke Univ. in 1943 while serving in the Marine V-12 program.
    Lamar Blount

 

Lamar Blount is buried in Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, Mississippi.

Pete Bogden  (1917-1995)

End—(Utah) Cleveland Rams 1940, Columbus Bullies 1940

 

Cloyce Box  (1924-1993)

End—(West Texas State) Detroit Lions 1949-50,1952-54   [All-Pro 1952]

I got into football because I needed a job . . . .I was just about the first real wide receiver . . . .The game was just opening up, but there still wasn't all that much to it.  I'd run the same pattern just about every time.  I wasn't that skilled a player, but I was fast.
    Cloyce Box

 

On the other side of this 3x5 card, Box autographed a note dated 2 Nov. 1989 stating that "Bucko Kilroy was the toughest player around during my playing days."  Cloyce Box is buried in Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Max Boydston (1932-1998)

Tight End—(Oklahoma) Chicago Cardinals 1955-58, Hamilton TigerCats (CFL) 1959, Dallas Texans 1960-61, Oakland Raiders 1962 [All-American 1954]

 

Max Boydston is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Maurice L. "Footsie" Britt  (1919-1995)

End—(Arkansas) Detroit Lions 1941  [first soldier in U.S. history to be awarded the nation's three highest military honors in a single war—Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, and Silver Star]

We were in a farmhouse, and it was hit directly by artillery fire.  It killed a couple of guys, injured seven or eight others and blew my arm off. [I decided to go to law school] because I didn’t think the Lions needed any one-armed ends.
    Footsie Britt

 

Maurice Britt is buried in Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Gail Bruce  (1923-1998)

End—(Washington) San Francisco 49ers 1948-52

 

Harry C. Burrus, Jr.  (1921-2004)

End—(Hardin-Simmons) Randolph Field Ramblers 1944, Army Air Force Training Command Skymasters 1945; New York Yankees 1946-47, Brooklyn Dodgers 1948   [Little All-American 1941]

Bill Chipley  (1920-2002)

End/Cornerback—(Clemson/Washington & Lee) Jacksonville Naval Air Station Fliers 1942; Boston Yanks 1947-48, New York Bulldogs 1949; Coach—Washington & Lee 1955-57

George [McAfee] and I connected on a pass play against Duke covering 97 yards that was the longest touchdown pass of '42, college or service teams.
    Bill Chipley

 

Ed Cifers  (1916-2005)

End—(Tennessee) Washington Redskins 1941-42,1946, Chicago Bears 1947-48; Del Monte Pre-flight Navyators 1943

Cifers is . . . big and aggressive.
    Jack Mahon

 

Paul Cleary  (1922-1996)

End—(Southern California) New York Yankees 1948, Chicago Hornets 1949 [All-American 1947, College Football Hall of Fame 1989]

I've never been spectacular.  Basically, if you give me a job, I'll do it the best I can, give you 110%. If you knock me down, I'll get up. And if you knock me down again, I'll get up again and learn from it.  I probably got more recognition in less time than anyone who has ever played the game.  That's the story of my life.  I've been very fortunate in everything I've done.  Like during the war, I had friends who never lasted a day in combat. It depended on if you were in the right place at the right time-or the wrong place at the wrong time.  I almost went to Stanford.  I would have never made All-American there because they didn't have a very good team that year.  I would never have been a great pro player because I wasn't fast enough to be a wide receiver when they started specializing, and I wasn't big enough to play defensive end.  But I was good when you had to do both.
    Paul Cleary

 

Paul Cleary was one of four 1947 A.P. All-Americans who signed this news article. The others were Ray Evans, Johnny Lujack, and Skip Minisi.

Marty Comer  (1917-1998)

End—(Tulane) Buffalo Bills 1946-48

 

Martin Comer is buried in Lake Lawn Park Cemetery in New Orleans. 

Mel "Duck" Conger  (1919-1996)

End—(Georgia) Maxwell Field Marauders 1944; New York Yankees 1946, Brooklyn Dodgers 1947

 

Joe Crowley  (1919-2008)

End—(Dartmouth) Boston Yankees 1944-45

 

Joe Crowley is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Scituate, Massachusetts.

Billy Dewell  (1917-2000)

End—(Southern Methodist) Corpus Christi Naval Air Station Comets 1942, Chicago Cardinals 1940-41,1945-49

[I was] captain of [the] 1947 NFL Championship team.
    Billy Dewell

 

Willard "Duke" Dewveall  (1936-2006)

End—(Southern Methodist) Chicago Bears 1959-60, Houston Oilers 1961-64

[I was the] only player with receptions over 90 yards in both leagues:  91 yards Bears, 1959 NFL and 98 yards Oilers, 1962 AFL.
    Will Dewveall

Willard Dewveall is buried in Klein Memorial Park, Decker Prairie, Texas.

Dave Diehl  (1918-1994)

End—(Michigan State) Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) 1939, Detroit Lions 1939-40,1944-45

Jim Dooley  (1930-2008)

End/Back—(Miami) Chicago Bears 1952-54,1956-57,1959-62; Coach--Chicago Bears 1968-71

When the 1970 season began, Dooley was still there, paraphrasing Norman Vincent Peale’s perennial bestseller The Power of Positive Thinking so often that we were all sick of hearing it.  Dooley was a nice man, but he never understood that cheerleading was not leadership.  Why he wasn’t fired after that disastrous 1969 season I will never know.
    Dick Butkus

Jim Dooley is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.

Jim Doran  (1927-1994)

End—(Iowa State) Detroit Lions 1951-59, Dallas Cowboys 1960-61

It was during defensive drills that I made a couple of big plays against Bob Hoernschemeyer, one of Detroit's veteran running backs.  The veterans were smart. They'd wait until they had to run against a rookie instead of another veteran. Well, that's what Hoernschemeyer did and I flattened him. He wasn't expecting that. So the next time it came my turn to be the tackler, he tapped one of the rookie backs on the shoulder and stepped in so he could run against me. The guys were kidding him about I'd done, and everybody on the field figured he was going to show me what pro football was all about. But that time I hit him just right -- knocking him and the quarterback both down.
    Jim Doran

 

My son, William, was probably about twelve years old in the early 1990s when he drew this sketch of Jim Doran and sent it to him to be autographed.

Bob Dove  (1921-2006)

End—(Notre Dame) El Toro Marines 1944-45; Chicago Rockets 1946-47, Chicago Cardinals 1948-53, Detroit Lions 1953-54 [All-American 1941-42, Knute Rockne Award 1942, College Football Hall of Fame 2000]

We [El Toro Marines] played both college teams and service teams like the Fleet City Bluejackets and Iowa Preflight on Saturdays.  Then on Sunday, Wee Willie Wilkin, the Redskins tackle, Crazy Legs Hirsch, who starred for Los Angeles after the war, a kid named Pat Leahy and I would ride to San Diego, and under assumed names we would play for the Bombers.  Now, of course, in the Marine Corps the navy was our boss, and they didn’t want us playing outside ball.  They didn’t care if we got killed or got our leg broken playing football in the Marine Corps, but they didn’t want us doing it on Sunday. So we played under assumed names.  I was Bruce Thyberg. . . . Dick Hanley, the old Northwestern coach who coached the El Toro Marines, called me in before the end of the war and said, “The war is going to end soon, and I’m the new coach of the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference.”  “Well,” I said, “I belong to the Washington Redskins.”  They had drafted me in a bout the third round.  Before I was discharged in the spring of 1946, George Preston Marshall visited me at Santa Ana.  He asked me when I was getting out, and he offered me $1,800 for the 1946 season.  Anyway, Dick Hanley pointed to a big map of the South Pacific behind him.  “Now see here,” he said.  “Do you know what this island is?  Tarawa.  Here’s Iwo Jima.  See this island?  It’s got a number on it—Number Seven.  See these islands up here?  They don’t have a name or a number, Bob.  If you don’t sign this contract with me, your ass is going to be on those islands and they may never find you again.”  So I signed with the Chicago Rockets after a little back-and-forth with the Redskins.  The Rockets gave me $5,250 for the first year, a three-year no-release contract with automatic raises of $500 each year, and guaranteed me a job on the side in Chicago.
    Bob Dove

Bob Dove is buried in Dean Hill Cemetery, Canfield, Ohio.

Joe “Duck” Duckworth (1921-2007)

End—(Colgate) Western Army All Stars 1942, Air Transport Center Rockets 1945; Washington Redskins 1947

 

Ray "Lil' Abner" Ebli  (1919-2005)

End—(Notre Dame) Chicago Cardinals 1942-43, Buffalo Bisons 1946, Chicago Rockets 1947-48

Dan Edwards  (1926-2001)

End—(Georgia) Brooklyn Dodgers 1948, Chicago Hornets 1949, New York Yanks 1950-51, Dallas Texans 1952, Baltimore Colts 1953-54; British Columbia Lions (CFL) 1955-58  [All Pro 1950, #15 All-Time AAFC Pass Receiving]

That franchise [Brooklyn Dodgers] was a total wreck! . . . . We weren’t getting very big crowds, but they did pay our salaries.  By the end of the year, it got to be a joke.  All the players could recognize the trouble we were in.  We were lucky to get paid. . . . We [Chicago Hornets] played in Soldier Field and it looked like just a few buzzards up in the stands.  The Hornets folded after that season.  It looked like everything I got a hold of would collapse.
    Dan Edwards

Don "Eli" Eliason  (1918-2003)

End—(Hamline) Brooklyn Dodgers 1942, Fort Warren Broncos 1945, Boston Yanks 1946

 

Don Eliason is buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Erwin Brice "Buddy" Elrod (1918-1998)

End—(Mississippi State)  [All-American 1940]

 

Buddy Elrod was one of five 1940 A.P. All-Americans who signed this news article.  The others include Bob Reinhard, Paul Severin, Nick Drahos, and George Franck. Of Elrod, the sports writer said, "End play this year was not up to the standard of other seasons, but Elrod, a main cog in the tough left side of Mississippi State's powerful line, would have been a standout in any company. He rates as one of the greatest defensive wingmen the south ever has seen and that section has seen some great ones."  Buddy Elrod is buried in Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, Kansas.

Dick “Whitey” Evans  (1917-2008)

End—(Iowa) Green Bay Packers 1940,1943, Chicago Cardinals 1941-42; El Toro Marines 1944

 

Jack "Black Jack" Ferrante  (1916-2006)

End—Churchill Pros (Independent) 1941, Wilmington Clippers (AA) 1939-42, Philadelphia Eagles 1941,1944-50  [All-League American Association 1939]

 

Jack Ferrante is buried in Saints Peter and Saint Paul Cemetery, Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Bill Fisk  (1916-2007)

End—(Southern California) Detroit Lions 1940-43, Los Angeles Bulldogs (PCFL) 1943, Hollywood Rangers (AFL) 1944, Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1945, San Francisco 49ers 1946-47, Los Angeles Dons 1948 [AFL All-League 1944, PCFL All-League 1945]

It was a beautiful setup.  Nice park, nice practice field, out in the country. I'm a fisherman, so after practice or early in the morning before practice, Bob Winslow and I would go out there and fish a little bit in the pond. The fishing was great. We'd catch trout and give 'em away.
    Bill Fisk, on the
    Lion’s training camp at
    Cranbrook School in suburban Detroit

Paul "Pep" Florence  (1900-1986)

End—(Loyola of IL) Chicago Cardinals 1920

 

Paul Florence is buried in Orange Hill Cemetery, Williston, Florida.

John "Gee" Giannoni  (1914-2000)

End—(St. Mary's) Cleveland Rams 1938; Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base Skymasters 1944

Clyde "Nip" Goodnight  (1924-2002)

End—(Tulsa) Green Bay Packers 1945-48, Washington Redskins 1949-50

I considered myself an "above average" pro player.
    Clyde Goodnight

Granville "Rock" Harrison  (1917-1997)

End—(Mississippi State) Philadelphia Eagles 1941, Detroit Lions 1942

 

Leon Hart  (1928-2002)

End/Fullback—(Notre Dame) Detroit Lions 1950-57  [All-American 1947-49, Maxwell Award 1949, Knute Rockne Award 1949, Heisman Trophy 1949, No. 1 Draft Choice 1950, College Football Hall of Fame 1973, All Pro 1951]

There's only one way to tackle quarterbacks, which is to come in high on them so you have the chance either of, one, destroying their passing sight, or two, you might break an arm. . . .I never came off the field.  Jim Martin and I were co-captains in '49, and we just stayed on the field until the score allowed us to leave. I remembered Leahy saying, “Leon, don't get hurt because you gotta play anyhow.”

Leon Hart

 

He was a big freshman; he weighed about 260 pounds. We tried to fool him on a couple of plays and he wasn't very foolable.  We knew he was going to be a great player. He was second- team to Jack Zilly, our regular right end, and he played an awful lot as a freshman. That didn't happen a lot at Notre Dame.

John Lujack

 

He was a great act.  I remember watching him in high school. He was a great athlete and had a great pro career.

John Lattner

 

He was sort of a purist, he liked the old rock 'em and sock 'em.  And he did rock 'em and sock 'em.

Jack Landry

 

He's a great ballplayer.

Coach Henry Frnka

 

Leon was probably a little more intelligent than the average football player.  He had a degree in engineering and he had an IQ that was a lot higher than the rest of us. Sometimes he'd flaunt it.

Lou Creekmur

 

 

 

Leon Hart autographed this 1949 Tom Paprocki cartoon.  I also have a signed 1949 Alan Maver cartoon.  It's a wonder Hart even signed the poor pencil sketch I did of him in 1990.  He was kind and didn't even make a critical comment.  He is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Ralph Heywood  (1921-2007)

End—(Southern California) Chicago Rockets 1946, Detroit Lions 1947, Boston Yanks 1948, New York Bulldogs 1949 [All-American 1943]

We made up pass routes in the huddle and used hideout plays and anything we could think of.  In a game at Detroit, a receiver named Ralph Heywood hid out in front of one of the benches.  I think it might have been the Detroit bench, right near Bo McMillin, the Detroit coach.  Anyway, nobody saw him.  Then he ran down the sideline and I hit him for a touchdown.  The Detroit fans threw snowballs at Bo McMillin.
    Bobby Layne

 

 

Ralph Heywood was one of several All-Americans who autographed this 1943 news article.  The others included Bill Daley, John Yonakor, and Creighton Miller.  He is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.

Howard “Red” Hickey (1917-2006)

End—(Arkansas) Pittsburgh Steelers 1941, Cleveland Rams 1941,1945, Los Angeles Rams 1946-48; Great Lakes Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1942; Coach—San Francisco 49ers 1959-63

I'm an old country boy, and I used to go hunting with a shotgun.  [I said,] "How about we call it the shotgun?"

      Red Hickey, on naming the shotgun formation

 

Red Hickey's body was cremated.

Steve Hokuf  (1910-2000)

End/Blocking Back—(Nebraska) Boston Redskins 1933-35

I was signed to a professional football contract for $115.00 a game.  This was a one week contract and if the Redskin front office didn't give you notice you were fired the day after a game, you could then play in the next game.
    Steve Hokuf

This photo of Steve Hokuf is from a publication sent to me by Hokuf entitled Who's Who in Major League Football, 1935 ed., compiled by Harold "Speed" Johnson and Wilfrid Smith. He also sent me a nine-page handwritten reminiscence entitled "The Forgotten Redskins" and several letters in 1993.

Dick "Banana Hands" Humbert  (1918-2007)

End/Linebacker—(Richmond) Philadelphia Eagles 1941,1945-49

J. Mack "Mousie" Hummon  (1901-1992)

End—(Wittenberg) Dayton Triangles 1926-28

Mack Hummon named Gus Sonnenberg the hardest-hitting player that he played against in this note to me in 1989.  He said Sonnenberg was "a perfect gentleman off the field, but a 'monster' on the field." 

Harry Jacunski (1915-2003)

End—(Fordham) Green Bay Packers 1939-44

We [Packers] were good.  Although we only made about $100 a game, the Packers took care of us. We had a team doctor and a trainer. Money was tight. We had to buy our own shoes. I always felt it was just a job.

     Harry Jacunski

 

Val "Blackie" Jansante  (1920-2008)

End—(Duquesne/Villanova) Fleet City Bluejackets 1945; Pittsburgh Steelers 1946-51, Green Bay Packers 1951

Val Jansante is buried in St. Lukes Cemetery, Bentleyville, Pennsylvania.

Ralph Jones  (1922-1995)

End—(Union/Alabama) Great Lakes Navy Bluejackets 1945; Detroit Lions 1946, Baltimore Colts 1947, Charlotte Clippers 1948-49

John "Jack" Karwales  (1920-2004)

End—(Michigan) Third Air Force Gremlins 1944; Akron Bears (AFL) 1946, Paterson Panthers (AFL) 1947; Chicago Bears 1945-46, Chicago Cardinals 1947

Larry Kelley  (1915-2000)

End—(Yale) [All-American 1936, Heisman Trophy 1936, College Football Hall of Fame 1969]

He was the greatest football opportunist of a generation, a superb inspirational leader who makes his teammates rise to great heights.
    Andy Kerr

 

 

Larry Kelley autographed this 1964 Lenny Hollreiser "Looking Back in Sports" cartoon.  With his health failing, he took his life with a self-inflicted gun shot. 

William "Wild Bill" Kennedy  (1919-1998)

End—(Michigan State) Camp Pendleton 1943, El Toro Marines 1944-46; Detroit Lions 1942, Boston Yanks 1947

Bob Kercher  (1919-2004 )

End/Halfback—(Georgetown) Paterson Panthers (American Association) 1940, Wilmington Clippers (American Association) 1941-42; Green Bay Packers 1944

Walt "Ski" Kichefski  (1916-1992)

End—(Miami) Pittsburgh Steelers 1940-42, Card-Pitt Steagles 1944

Frank “Big Duke” Kimble (1917- 2001)

End—(West Virginia) Pittsburgh Steelers 1945

My career ended [with a] broken back.
    Frank Kimble

Harry "Jiggs" Kline (1913-1995)

End—(Emporia State) Jersey City Giants (AFL) 1938, New York Giants 1939-43

Jiggs had been rapped in the head, and I took him out . . . . He kept after me to go back in play until I made it clear he was through for the day.  To show me what he thought of me he went to the bench and sat down facing the stands, with his back to me.  He "fixed me" by staying that way through the game.
    Steve Owen

 

 

John "Sticky Fingers" Klumb  (1916-1998)

End—(Washington State) Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) 1939, Chicago Cardinals 1939-40, Pittsburgh Steelers 1941; Mather Field Flyers 1942

Larry "Soupie" Knorr  (1917-1996)

End—(Alabama/Dayton) Melville Torpedo Boat Training Center Night Raiders 1945; Detroit Lions 1942,1945

I played end on P.T. Raiders . . . . I left at the middle of the season and joined Detroit.
    Larry Knorr

Elmer Kolberg  (1916-1994)

End—(Oregon State) Wilmington Clippers (AFL) 1939; Philadelphia Eagles 1939-40, Pittsburgh Steelers 1941; Melville Torpedo Boat Training Center Raiders 1945, Fleet City Bluejackets 1945

Elmer Kolberg was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Alvin "Antelope Al from Southern Cal" Krueger  (1919-1999)

End/Halfback—(Southern California) Washington Redskins 1941-42, Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1945, Los Angeles Bulldogs (PCFL) 1945, Los Angeles Dons 1946

See video clip of Al Krueger (#62) in 1938 USC vs. Cal football game; Krueger makes many exciting catches and runs.  The Trojans beat the Bears 13-0.

Bert Kuczynski  (1920-1997)

End—(Pennsylvania) Bainbridge Naval Training Station Commodores 1944, Pacific All Stars 1945; Detroit Lions 1943, Philadelphia Eagles 1946; Bethlehem Bulldogs (AFL) 1946-47, Wilmington Clippers (AFL) 1947 [All-American (Look Magazine) 1942, Blue-Gray Bowl Game MVP 1942; he also played major league baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1943]

 

Bert Kuczynski is buried in Schoenersville Cemetery, Schoenersville, Pennsylvania.

Mal Kutner  (1921-2005)

End—(Texas) Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks 1942, Bunker Hill Naval Air Station Cloudbusters 1943; Chicago Cardinals 1946-50 [All-American (AP) 1941, College Football Hall of Fame 1974, #1 Receiving Average 1947, All Pro 1947-48]

 . . . in our last game [1946] — with the Bears . . . . With time for one play we had the ball on their 5-yard line with the score tied 28 to 28.  I tried to get [Paul] Christman's attention by kicking my foot.  I wanted a field goal.  Mal Kutner had told Christman he could beat the Bears' halfback so Paul called for a pass.  I almost keeled over, but Kutner caught the ball and we won the game 35 to 28.
    Jimmy Conzelman

 

Mal Kutner's cremated remains were given to family.

Frank Liebel  (1919-1996)

End/Defensive Back—(Norwich) New York Giants 1942-47, Chicago Cardinals 1948

 

Frank Liebel is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania.

Bob Logel  (1928-2001)

End—(Sampson JC) Buffalo Bills 1949, Bethlehem Bulldogs (AFL) 1949

 

Don Luft (1930-2002)

End—(Indiana) Philadelphia Eagles 1954, Calgary Stampeders (CFL) 1955, Hamilton TigerCats (CFL) 1956

I remember one incident in San Antonio where we were to play against the Los Angeles Rams.  Naturally, the teams stayed in different hotels. This particular day as we were waiting in our bus to go to the game, the Rams team members walked by us to get to their bus.  I did a double take at a big hulk passing by and said to my teammate sitting beside me, "He is going to knock your head off!"  He answered, "Kid, let me tell you something, before the quarter is over, they are going to carry him off the field!"  The game started and my teammate hammered him once and bounced off the guy like a rubber ball!  But then, my teammate really got after him . . . .  CLICK HERE TO READ HOW THE REST OF THIS STORY TURNED OUT IN THE LETTER SENT TO ME IN 1998 BY DON LUFT

 

Jim Lukens  (1924-2002)

End—(Washington & Lee) Buffalo Bills 1949

Lukens is a towering pass snatcher and can catch anything thrown within 10 yards of him.
    Art Guepe

 

Lamar Lundy  (1935-2007)

End—(Purdue) Los Angeles Rams 1957-69

He was an extraordinarily consistent player—more so than any other lineman with whom I had played, and that included me.  A good strong intellectual man, he was a great ballplayer.
    Rosey Grier

 

Some of the comments made about the Fearsome Foursome:

The Fearsome Foursome was wicked.  Deacon Jones.  Secretary of the Defense.  Flamboyant.  Crazy.  Ridiculously quick for a man his size.  The guy who made them coin the word Sack.  Rosey Grier.  Immense.  Impossible to defeat with brute force.  Sweet and gentle out of shoulder pads.  Loved to sing, pick a guitar.  Lovely human being.  Lamar Lundy.  Defined the term Unsung.  Steadfast.  A mass of muscle.  Would have starred on any other team.  Merlin Olson.  Loved the old-fashioned, man-to-man battles in the Pit.  With both hands at once, he would hit guys across the earholes in their helmet for stereo ringing.  Put him in the lineup for ten years, worry about something else.
    Jim Brown

After I'd hunched down behind our center I couldn't see over them into the defensive secondary.  Even when they lowered into their stances their eyes were at my level, looking at me out over their helmet bars, and they were growling and snorting like the cattle they are.  Frankly, it scared the hell out of me.
    Tom Matte

We took great pride in the fact that every year the Foursome was together we improved against the run.  Everyone knew his role on that unit.  A guy like Deacon, well, you just turned him loose.  To ask him to play a reading defense would have been insane.  Rosey, who played next to me, was perhaps the quickest off the ball, but if he saw that I was hung up, he'd just cover for me.  Lamar, on the other side, was 6'7"; he could worry a quarterback, but he could also play traffic cop.  It was very pretty, the way we worked together.
    Merlin Olsen

        I think we set the pace in the game, ain't no question in my mind about that. I don't think there's a defensive line to this day — or will be in the near future — that'll have that much balance.
    Deacon Jones

All members of the legendary "Fearsome Foursome" defensive front line of the Los Angeles Rams during the 1960s signed this great photo for me.  I think I paid Deacon Jones to sign it about $5, but all the others signed without charge.  Lamar Lundy is buried in Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana.

Ken MacAfee  (1929-2007)

End—(Alabama) New York Giants 1954-58, Philadelphia Eagles 1959, Washington Redskins 1959

Ken always had a way of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  He was a nice, friendly guy from Alabama, but he was always putting his foot in his mouth.
    Sam Huff

Ken MacAfee's cremated remains were given to family.

Bob McChesney  (1926-2002)

End—(Hardin Simmons) New York Giants 1950-52

 

Max McGee  (1932-2007)

End—(Tulane) Green Bay Packers 1954,1957-67

Listen to Max McGee's voice in this memorial tribute produced by broadcaster Jay Sorgi.  See video clip of McGee's Packer teammates paying tribute to him in this eulogy.

William "Wild Bill" McKalip  (1907-1993)

End—(Oregon State) Portsmouth Spartans 1931-32, Detroit Lions 1934,1936

1931—Portsmouth Spartans, started all 13 games at left end—1st team All-Pro . . . .1933—coached with "Dutch" Clark, Colorado School of Mines . . . .1934—Detroit Lions, started all 13 games at left end . . . .1936—Detroit Lions, played left and right end and right halfback and assisted in coaching under Potsy Clark . . . .
    Bill McKalip

Paul "Beaver" McKee  (1923-1999)

End—(Syracuse/Rochester) Camp Lejeune Marines 1944, Fleet Marine Force Pacific 1945; Washington Redskins 1947-48

 

Bill McPeak  (1926-1991)

End—(Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh Steelers 1949-57; Coach—Washington Redskins 1961-65

Bill was a fine guy but he wasn't Lombardi. No one was.
    Pat Richter

 

Joel Mason  (1912-1995)

End—(Western Michigan) Chicago Cardinals 1939, Boston Bears (AFL) 1940, Kenosha Cardinals 1941, Long Island Indians (American Assoc.) 1941, Milwaukee Chiefs (AFL) 1941, New York Americans (AFL) 1941, San Diego Bombers (PCFL) 1941, Green Bay Packers 1942-45

Fred "Okie" Meyer  (1919-1996)

End—(Stanford) Del Monte Pre-flight Navyators 1943; Philadelphia Eagles 1942,1945

Max Morris  (1925-1998)

End—(Northwestern) Chicago Rockets 1946-47, Brooklyn Dodgers 1948 [All-American 1945, #20 All Time AAFC Pass Receiving]

He was in all probability the finest end in the Middle West [in 1945] and the man most responsible for Northwestern's showing this fall.
    Harry Stuhldreher

 

Elbie Nickel  (1923-2007)

End—(Cincinnati) Pittsburgh Steelers 1947-57

Elbie was a great player, a better player than people really know. In those days, there wasn't a position called tight end, but he really was a tight end. He could block, and he caught the tough passes over the middle.

     Dan Rooney

 

Elbie Nickel is buried in Floral Hills Memory Gardens, Chillicothe, Ohio.

John “Blond Blizzard” Noppenberg  (1917-2006)

End/Defensive Back/Halfback—(Miami, Florida) Pittsburgh Steelers 1940-41, Detroit Lions 1941

John "Red" O'Quinn, Jr.  (1925-2002)

End—(Wake Forest) Jacksonville Naval Air Station Fliers 1944-45; Chicago Bears 1950-51, Philadelphia Eagles 1951; Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1952-58  [#1 Receiving NCAA 1948, Canadian Football Hall of Fame 1981]

Chet Ostrowski  (1930-2001)

End—(Notre Dame) Washington Redskins 1954-59

 

Jim "Mac" Peebles  (1920-1997)

End—(Vanderbilt) Western Army All-Stars 1942; Washington Redskins 1946-49,1951

 

Hamp Pool  (1915-2000)

End—(Stanford) Chicago Bears 1940-43, Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Base 1944, Miami Seahawks 1946; Coach—Chicago Rockets 1947, Los Angeles Rams 1952-54 [Coach of the Year 1952]

Pool was the guy who worked his butt off and handled the offense and defense.  Hamp was a gung-ho winner whom you could learn to detest as you won the world championship.  He is the greatest guy in the world on a social occasion, witty, gentle, vivid conversationalist.  But when the football season is on he doesn’t want too be bothered by anybody or anything until he’s won the title.
    Don Paul

Barney Poole  (1923- 2005)

End—(Mississippi/North Carolina/Army) New York Yankees 1949, New York Yanks 1950-51, Dallas Texans 1952, Baltimore Colts 1953, New York Giants 1954   [#1 Receiving NCAA 1947, All-American 1948, College Football Hall of Fame 1974]

He was a tough guy, but by 1953 he was pretty much over the hill.  And he was doing anything he could to hang on.  In one game he tore up his hand.  He caught his fingers in someone's face mask and it nearly yanked a couple of the digits out.  That hand was a mess.  This happened sometime early in the second quarter, and Barney was led off the field and into the locker room and soon thereafter an ambulance carried him off to Union Memorial.  He got his fingers stitched up.  I swear to God, he got out on Thirty-third Street and hitchhiked right back up to Memorial Stadium.  Damned if he didn't return in time to play the fourth quarter.  And he did play, too, with a big wrapping on those twisted and mangled fingers.  He was one tough player, and the Colts rewarded him the following season by cutting his ass.
    Art Donovan

 

Barney Poole autographed this 1948 A.P. All-American news article.  He is buried in Roseland Cemetery, Gloster, Mississippi. 

Ray Poole  (1921-2008)

End/Place Kicker—(Mississippi/North Carolina) Fleet Marine Force Pacific 1945; New York Giants 1947-52; Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1953-54   [All Canadian League 1953-54]

Ray Poole was a year ahead of me with the Giants, but he’d played down at Ole Miss with me—an end and a fine one, one of the best—and we roomed together . . . when I first got to New York.  We were just a couple of country boys.  We would catch a subway to go to practice at the Polo Grounds, which was where we were playing in those days.  We always kept saying, “Hey, this is a little different from where we come from!”
    Charlie Conerly

Ray Poole is buried in Oxford Memorial Cemetery, Oxford, Mississippi

Harold "Ace" Prescott  (1920-2002)

End—(Hardin Simmons) Fort Knox Armor Raiders 1943; Paterson Panthers (AFL) 1946; Green Bay Packers 1946, Philadelphia Eagles 1947-49

 

Holt Rast  (1917-1998)

End—(Alabama) Western Army All-Stars 1942 [All-American 1941]

He was the best end I have ever coached.
    Frank Thomas

Holt Rast is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama

Ray Renfro  (1929-1997)

Flanker/Halfback—(North Texas State) Cleveland Browns 1952-63 

Ray Renfro was the fastest white guy in the league and if there was one more likable, I never met him.
    Don Paul

 

Ray Renfro is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park, Fort Worth, Texas

See video clip of Ray Renfro (#26) in the 1955 College All-Star Game. The Cleveland Browns lost to the All-Stars by a score of 30-27. See another video clip of Renfro in a November 27, 1955 35-35 tie game between the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns in the Polo Grounds.

Herbert "Bummie" Roton  (1913-2002)

End—(Auburn) Philadelphia Eagles 1937

Herbert Roton is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Montgomery, Alabama

Jack Russell (1919-2006)

End—(Baylor) Blackland Army Air Field 1943, Fourth Air Force Fliers 1944; New York Yankees 1946-48, Brooklyn-New York Yankees 1949, New York Yanks 1950, Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL) 1951-  [All Pro 1946, #12 All-Time AAFC Passing]

Jack Russell is buried in Georges Creek Cemetery, Georges Creek, Texas. 

Ed Ryan  (1925-2002)

End—(St. Mary's) Pittsburgh Steelers 1948

 

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Listen to the Voices of:

  • Sam Baugh (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Max McGee (Receivers)

See a Video Clip of:

  • Frankie Albert  (Quarterbacks)
  • Sam Baugh  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Jay Berwanger  (Running Backs)
  • Vic Bottari  (Running Backs)
  • Ed Brown  (Quarterbacks)
  • John "Red" Cochran  (Running Backs)
  • Charlie Conerly  (Quarterbacks)
  • Bill Corbus  (Guards)
  • Ward Cuff  (Running Backs)
  • Glenn Davis  (Running Backs)
  • Andy Farkas  (Running Backs)
  • Clint Frank  (Running Backs)
  • Bill Gay  (Running Backs)
  • Sid Gillman  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Bill Hartman  (Running Backs)
  • Arnie Herber  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Gene Hickerson (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Billy Hillenbrand  (Running Backs)
  • Lamar Hunt  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Don Hutson  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Charlie Justice  (Running Backs)
  • Ken Keller  (Running Backs)
  • Ken Keuper  (Running Backs)
  • John Kimbrough  (Fullbacks)
  • Al Krueger  (Receivers)
  • Tom Landry  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Dick Lane  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Dante Lavelli  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Tuffy Leemans  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Max McGee  (Receivers)
  • Lamar McHan  (Quarterbacks)
  • Wellington Mara  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Dale Meinert  (Guards)
  • Tony "Skip" Minisi  (Running Backs)
  • Cliff Montgomery  (Quarterbacks)
  • Ray Nitschke  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Jackie Parker (Quarterbacks)
  • Don Paul  (Defensive Backs/Ends)
  • Walter Payton  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Bosh Pritchard  (Running Backs)
  • George Ratterman  (Quarterbacks)
  • John Rauch  (Quarterbacks)
  • Ray Renfro  (Receivers)
  • Tobin Rote  (Quarterbacks)
  • Pete Rozelle  (Pro Hall of Fame)