Deceased Football Autographs

Buried With Their Cleats On

Lou Allen  (1924-2008)

Tackle—(Duke) Pittsburgh Steelers 1950-51, Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1952

 

Earle "Streaky" Audet  (1921-2002)

Tackle—(Georgetown/Southern California) Washington Redskins 1945, Los Angeles Dons 1946-49, Calgary Stampeders (CFL) 1950   [All-American AAU track 1943-44]

 

Roman "Grizz" Bentz  (1919-1996)

Tackle/Guard—(Tulane) Camp Grant Warriors 1943, Fort Warren Broncos 1945; San Francisco Clippers (AFL) 1944, New York Yankees 1946-48, San Francisco 49ers 1948  [AFL All League Team 1944]

 

Pete Berezney (1923-2008)

Tackle—(Notre Dame) Los Angeles Dons 1947, Baltimore Colts 1948

 

Bill "Bish" Bishop  (1931-1998)

Defensive Tackle—(North Texas State) Chicago Bears 1952-60, Minnesota Vikings 1961-62 [All-American 1951]

During the offseason I was a guest speaker in Kenosha, Wis., the hometown of fullback Alan Ameche.  I called Ameche an overgrown Teddy Bear.  The next season we played the Colts and Ameche steamrolled past me and ran 78 yards for a touchdown. Ameche came back and said, “How was that, Fat Boy?”
    Bill Bishop

 

 

Charlie Bradshaw  (1936-2002)

Offensive Tackle—(Baylor) Los Angeles Rams 1958-60, Pittsburgh Steelers 1961-66, Detroit Lions 1967-68

 

Raymond "Tay" Brown  (1912-1994)

Tackle—(Southern California) 1930-32   [College Football Hall of Fame 1980]

 

Tay Brown autographed this news article about the 24 Sep. 1932 Utah vs. USC game in which the Utes took a 35-0 licking at the hands of the Trojans.

Rocco “The Walking Billboard” Canale  (1921-1995)

Tackle/Guard—(Boston College) First Air Force Aces 1945; Phil-Pitt Steagles 1943, Philadelphia Eagles 1944-45, Boston Yanks 1945-47

 

John Canella  (1908-1996)

Tackle—(Fordham) New York Giants 1933-34, Brooklyn Dodgers 1934

 

Roland Caranci  (1921-1998)

Tackle—(Colorado) New York Giants 1944

We were 1944 Eastern Div. Champions. Lost to Green Bay 14-7 in World Championship playoff.
    Roland Caranci

 

Joe Cibulas  (1921-1998)

Tackle—(Duquesne) Pittsburgh Steelers 1945

 

Joe Cibulas is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Leon Cook  (1920-1998)

Tackle—(Northwestern) Philadelphia Eagles 1942

 

Leon Cook is buried in Enid Cemetery, Enid, Oklahoma.

Tex Coulter (1924-2007)

Tackle/End/Center/Linebacker—(Army) New York Giants 1946-52, Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1953-56  [All-American 1945, All Pro 1951]

[One] year one of our linemen, Tex Coulter, held out for more money and missed most of training camp.  Steve Owen was so mad about it that just a few days after Tex reported, Steve started him in an exhibition game in Dallas and left him on the field for the entire game, on offense and defense, in 98-degree heat.  Tex lost 25 pounds that day and the rest of the team gained a new understanding of the price you pay to fight management.
    Tom Landry

 

On a questionnaire that I sent Tex Coulter, he declined to sign his name, but did print his nicknames "De" and "Tex." He also answered the other questions on the form.

Milton "Whooping Crane" Crain  (1937-2004)

Tackle/Center—(Mississippi) Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1960-64, Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL) 1964   [CFL All Star Team 1961,1963]

 

Denver Crawford  (1921-2005)

Tackle—(Tennessee) Maxwell Field Marauders 1944, AAFTC Skymasters 1945; New York Yankees 1949

I made rookie of the year [1949].
    Denny Crawford

 

Denver Crawford is buried in East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Kingsport, Tennessee.

Slade Cutter (1911-2005)

Tackle—(Navy) [All-American 1934, College Football Hall of Fame 1967]

 

Slade Cutter autographed this 1942 cartoon.  Cutter and Elmer "Bear" Ward autographed this 1934 NEA All-American selection news article. The sports writer wrote, "Cutter, heavyweight boxing champion at the Naval Academy, was one of those aggressive tackles, and the mainstay of that light Navy line. His 200 pounds was the big reason why Navy had such a successful season. He did great service for the Middies as a place kicker."  He is buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, Maryland.

Nick Daukas  (1922-2003)

Tackle—(Dartmouth) Brooklyn Dodgers 1946-47

Nick Daukas did not sign his name on a questionnaire that I sent him, but he did print his given name.  He also answered the other questions on the form.

Mike Davlin (1928-1996)

Tackle—(Notre Dame/San Francisco) Washington Redskins 1955

I was the youngest player to ever earn a varsity letter in football at Notre Dame in 1944.
    Mike Davlin

Leo "Moose" Disend  (1915-1985)

Tackle—(Albright) Brooklyn Dodgers 1938-39, Green Bay Packers 1940

Ted Doyle  (1914-2006)

Tackle/Guard—(Nebraska) Pittsburgh Pirates 1938, Pittsburgh Steelers 1939-42,1945, Phil-Pitt Steagles 1943, Card-Pitt 1944

 

Elwyn "Moose" Dunstan  (1915- 1999)

Tackle—(Portland) Chicago Cardinals 1938-39, Cleveland Rams 1939-41, Oakland Giants (PCFL) 1943

Bob Emerick  (1913-2003)

Tackle—(Miami, Ohio) Detroit Lions 1934, New York Yanks (AFL) 1936, Cleveland Rams 1937

We played both ways . . . and it was tough football.
    Bob Emerick

 

John "Big John" Ferraro   (1924-2001)

Tackle—(Southern California) [All-American 1944,1947, College Football Hall of Fame 1974, Canadian Football Hall of Fame 1966, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame 1996]

If any tackle played better than John Ferraro, he must be Superman and Hercules rolled into one.

       Braven Dyer, Los Angeles Times

 

John Ferraro was one of five 1944 Central Press All-Americans who signed this news article.  The others included John Tavener, Les Horvath, Doc Blanchard, and Glenn Davis.

Lou Ferry  (1927- 2004)

Tackle—(Villanova) Green Bay Packers 1949, Bethlehem Bulldogs (AFL) 1950, Erie Vets (AFL) 1950, Chicago Cardinals 1951, Pittsburgh Steelers 1952-55

There were a lot of schools interested in me and Villanova was one of them, but I had a hard time making up my mind. At the last minute, [head basketball coach] Al Severance said he had a scholarship for me. I only ended up practicing for two nights and Severance said to me, "Lou, you should stick to football."  When I played, there was not a lot of passing, because most teams ran the ball. There also wasn’t any platoon football; players had to play both offense and defense.  When I came to Villanova in 1945, World War II had just ended and the next year, we had all these veterans come back to the team.

     Lou Ferry

 

Lou Ferry recalls that some of the roughest, hard-hitting players in the game were Jim Brown and Ernie Stautner.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

Tom Finnin  (1927-2003)

Defensive Tackle—(Detroit) Baltimore Colts 1953-56, Chicago Cardinals 1957

Ralph "Burley" Foster  (1917-1999)

Tackle—(Idaho/Oklahoma A&M) Chicago Cardinals 1945-46

I was drafted by the Cards in 1940 but ended up in the Navy—discharged early—went back to school—war time rules allowed me to resume football.  Had a good year, ended up with Cards.
    Ralph E. Foster

Leonard Frketich  (1917-1999)

Tackle—(Penn State) Pittsburgh Steelers 1945, Chicago Bears 1945-47, Bloomfield Cardinals (AFL) 1947

Dick Fugler  (1931-2003)

Tackle—(Tulane) Pittsburgh Steelers 1952, Hamilton TigerCats (CFL) 1953, Chicago Cardinals 1954

John Gonzaga (1933-2007)

Offensive Tackle/Defensive Tackle/Guard/Defensive End—San Francisco 49ers 1956-59, Dallas Cowboys 1960, Detroit Lions 1961-65, Denver Broncos 1966

 

Visco "Bosco" Grgich  (1923- 2005)

Tackle/Guard/Linebacker—(Santa Clara) Second Air Force Superbombers 1944, Fourth Air Force Fliers 1945; San Francisco 49ers 1946-52

We had this tradition before every home game where I would hit the cement wall three times with each forearm, then knock down the locker-room door.  The door was plywood.
    Visco Grgich

Visco Grgich is buried in Oakdale Citizens Cemetery, Oakdale, California.

Jerry "Boomer" Groom  (1929-2008)

Defensive Tackle—(Notre Dame) Chicago Cardinals 1951-55  [College Football Hall of Fame 1994]

I lost four front teeth in a scrimmage. I didn’t tell Mom until she and Dad came to a game. She almost fainted when I smiled. She told Leahy, “My boy had such beautiful teeth,” and he said: “Wait’ll you see his new ones when they come in. He’ll be even prettier.”
    Jerry Groom

Herb Hannah (1921-2007)

Tackle—(Alabama) Georgia Pre-flight Skycrackers 1944, New York Giants 1951

Herb Hannah is buried in Marshall Memorial Gardens, Albertville, Alabama. He is the father of Hall of Fame offensive guard John Hannah.

Dave "Hawg" Hanner  (1931-2008)

Tackle—(Arkansas) Green Bay Packers 1952-64

There just wasn't anybody as big as me.  I think when Lombardi came in [in 1959], everybody's jaws just kind of dropped.  After those first couple days, I'd drink water or eat and I just couldn't get anything to stay down. It was tough.  Lombardi just knew how to handle people and get results out of people. He was the type of guy who if he told you something, you believed it.
    Dave Hanner

 

Dave Hanner is buried in Crittenden Memorial Park, Marion, Arkansas.

Bill Hegarty (1927-2002)

Tackle—(Villanova) Pittsburgh Steelers 1953, Washington Redskins 1953 [All American (Grantland Rice) 1952]

 

Jerry Houghton (1926-2002)

Tackle—(Washington State) Washington Redskins 1950, Chicago Cardinals 1951

Jerry Houghton had a cup of coffee with the . . . Skins.
    Don Paul

Jerry Houghton is buried in Terrace Heights Memorial Park, Yakima, Washington.

Frank "Rab" Hrabetin  (1915-2004)

Tackle—(Loyola, L.A.) Sampson Naval Training Station Bluejackets 1943, Bainbridge Naval Training Station Commodores 1944, Pearl Harbor Pacific All-Stars 1945; Philadelphia Eagles 1942, Brooklyn Dodgers 1946, Miami Seahawks 1946

 

Mike "Big Mike" Jarmoluk  (1922-2004)

Tackle—(Temple) Chicago Bears 1946-47, Boston Yanks 1948, New York Bulldogs 1949, Philadelphia Eagles 1949-55

I never wore a face mask, and my last game I was tackling somebody, and my chin came down right on his heel, and my teeth were knocked right through my skin. At halftime, I was stitched up, had a face guard sewn onto my helmet, and I went out and got Otto Graham three more times. It didn't get any better than that.
    Mike Jarmoluk

Clyde "Big Train" Johnson  (1917-1997)

Tackle—(Kentucky) Fort Benning Fourth Infantry Raiders 1944, Fort Benning Infantry Doughboys 1945; Los Angeles Rams 1946-47, Los Angeles Dons 1948 [All-American 1942]

 . . . [this] gigantic tackle was an immovable fixture in Kentucky's line, a sturdy block that Georgia, Alabama, Georgia Tech and others hit and bounced back.  This tall, 235-pound athlete stood straight up on defense to fight off blockers with his huge hands and reach for the ball lugger.  He could move his big body around with unsuspected speed and agility.
    Dillon Graham

Mike Jurich  (1919-1996)

Tackle—(Denver) Brooklyn Dodgers 1941-42

 

Royal "King Kong" Kahler  (1918-2005)

Tackle—(Nebraska) Pittsburgh Steelers 1941, Green Bay Packers 1942

 

Royal Kahler is buried in Memory Garden Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas.

Ed Karp  (1912-2005)

Tackle—(Catholic University) Washington Presidents (Dixie League) 1937, Pittsburgh Pirates 1936-38, Pittsburgh Steelers 1939, Buffalo Indians 1940, Hollywood Bears 1941 (PCFL), Hartford Blues (AFL) 1942  [AFL All-League 1940]

We had a player by the name of Ed Karpowich, and he even took care of us [Art Rooney's children] in the off-season.  One winter we went to Florida for a vacation, and he went with us.
    Dan Rooney

Mike "Battleship" Kasap  (1922-1994)

Tackle—(Illinois/Purdue) Camp Pendleton Marines 1945; Baltimore Colts 1947

Tom “Kutch” Kearns (1919-2007)

Tackle—(Miami) New York Giants 1945, Chicago Cardinals 1946

Ray "King Kong" Keeling  (1915-1996)

Tackle/Guard—(Texas) Philadelphia Eagles 1938-39

Ray Keeling is buried in Littlefield Memorial Park, Littlefield, Texas.

Ray Kemp  (1907-2002)

Tackle—(Duquesne) Pittsburgh Pirates 1933 [Honorable Mention All-American 1931]

[I was] one of [the] first 2 blacks to play in [the] N.F.L . . . . .[I] confronted a great deal of racism.  I played for $40 a game.  I always admired Art Rooney. He gave me a chance to be a pioneer.  Considering the racial situation, it was a fun thing for me. You have to pay a price for being a pioneer.  It was a gentlemen's agreement. They weren't recruiting blacks anymore [after 1933].  He [Redskins owner George Preston Marshall] said there would never be a black man on his team. He was an out-and-out racist.
    Ray Kemp

Ray Kemp sent me this interesting note about being one of the early black players in the NFL.  He is buried in Greenlawn Memory Gardens, North Kingsville, Ohio.

J. D. Kimmel  (1929-2008)

Tackle—(Army, Houston) Washington Redskins 1955-56, Green Bay Packers 1958

 

 

J. D. Kimmel autographed this 1958 news article from the Appleton Post Crescent.

John Kissell  (1923-1992)

Tackle—(Boston College) Buffalo Bills 1948-49, Cleveland Browns 1950-52,1954-56

John Kissell was the toughest son of a gun we ever had.  He didn't talk. He just growled.  He'd go crazy.
    Tony Adamle

 

Earl “Elk” Klapstein (1922-1997)

Tackle—(Pacific) San Diego NTC Bluejackets 1944-45, Pittsburgh Steelers 1946

 

John "Big John" Koniszewski  (1921-2003)

Tackle—(George Washington) Washington Redskins 1945-46,1948

Drafted by Philadelphia Eagles [in] 1943.  Served in Marines with 2nd Marine Division which spearheaded the invasion on Saipan and Tinian Islands in the Mariannas Islands.  Received [the] Purple Heart, wounded in Saipan campaign.
    John Koniszewski

Ed "Moose" Krause  (1913-1992)

Tackle—(Notre Dame) 1931-33  [Basketball Hall of Fame 1976]

They talk about Gipper, Rockne, the Four Horsemen, but I think he was the true legend.

     Gerry Faust

 

Ed Krause is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Joe Krejci  (1922-1999)

Tackle—Fort MacArthur Cannoneers 1944

All in all we sure had a tough bunch of boys.
    Joe Krejci

 

Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd (1938-2007)

Defensive Tackle—(Grambling State) San Diego Chargers 1961-65, Houston Oilers 1966-67, Kansas City Chiefs 1966-68 [All AFL 1961, 1964-65]

The first dirty player I ever faced was Ernie Ladd . . . .  He was the biggest man I've ever seen--6-9 and three hundred pounds.  I have a lower plate now because he knocked out two of my teeth.  He hit me with forearms all day.  He knocked hell out of me.
    Deacon Jones

 

Ernie Ladd is buried in Franklin Cemetery, Franklin, Louisiana.

Clayt Lane  (1922-2000)

Tackle/Guard—(New Hampshire) New York Yankees 1948

Earl Leggett (1933-2008)

Tackle/Defensive End—(Louisiana State) Chicago Bears 1957-65, Los Angeles Rams 1966, New Orleans Saints 1967-68

 

Earl Leggett is buried in Raymond Cemetery, Raymond, Mississippi.

Ray Lemek  (1934- 2005)

Tackle/Guard—(Notre Dame) Washington Redskins 1957-61, Pittsburgh Steelers 1962-65

 

Ray Lemek is buried in Holy Cross Community Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Steven "Big Steve" Levanitis  (1920-1997)

Tackle—(Boston College) Philadelphia Eagles 1942, Pittsburgh Steelers 1946

 

Willie McClung  (1930-2002)

Tackle/Guard/Center—(Florida A&M) Pittsburgh Steelers 1955-57, Cleveland Browns 1958-59, Detroit Lions 1960-61, Hamilton Tiger Cats (CFL) 1962

He was such a big guy and a tough guy on the field, but he had an amiable way about him.
    Bill Priatko

 

Thurman "Fum" McGraw  (1927-2000)

Defensive Tackle—(Colorado A&M) Detroit Lions 1950-54  [College Football Hall of Fame 1981, All Pro 1952]

Forrest "Aimie" McPherson  (1912-1989)

Tackle—(Nebraska) Chicago Bears 1935, Philadelphia Eagles 1935-37, Green Bay Packers 1943-45; St. Louis Blues 1934, Wilmington Clippers (Indep.) 1937, Los Angeles Bulldogs (Independent) 1938, St. Louis Gunners (AFL) 1939, Los Angeles Bulldogs (PCFL) 1940-42,1946-47, Los Angeles Mustangs (PCFL) 1943, Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1945,1948; Coach—Hollywood Bears (PCFL) 1948   [All League PCFL 1941,1947]

 

Vic Markov  (1916-1998)

Tackle—(Washington) Cleveland Rams 1938; Western Army All-Stars 1942  [All-American (Grantland Rice) 1937, College Football Hall of Fame 1976]

 

Vic Markov named Bruiser Kinard as the best defensive football player he played against.

John Matisi  (1920-1997)

Tackle—(Duquesne) Brooklyn Dodgers 1943, Buffalo Bisons 1946

 

Mike Mergen (1929-2008)

Tackle—(Illinois Wesleyan/San Francisco) Chicago Cardinals 1952

 

Frank Merritt (1920-1995)

Tackle—(Army) Third Air Force Gremlins 1945 [All-American 1942-43, College Football Hall of Fame 1996]

 

 

Frank Merritt autographed this 1943 Jack Sords cartoon.  He wrote, "At 176 [pounds] 6 foot tall Casimir Myslinski Captain and center of 1943 Army team was the strongest and toughest on both offense and defense."

Evert "Packy" Nelson  (1907-1992)

Tackle—(Illinois) Chicago Bears 1929

Evert Nelson is buried in Potomac Church Cemetery, Potomac, Maryland.

Ken Panfil  (1930-2002)

Tackle—(Purdue) Los Angeles Rams 1956-58, Chicago Cardinals 1959, St. Louis Cardinals 1960-62

John "Perch" Prchlik  (1925-2003)

Tackle/Guard/Defensive End—(Yale) Detroit Lions 1948-53

George Preas (1933-2007)

Tackle—(Virginia Tech) Baltimore Colts 1955-65

He did a hell of a job for years and nobody knew it, except for the guys who played with him.  In team meetings, we had to take notes, and George's notebook was a masterpiece.  I marveled at his handwriting. If they gave prizes for neatness, penmanship and organization, he'd have won, hands down.
    Alex Sandusky

 

George Preas is buried in Evergreen Burial Park, Roanoke, Virginia.

Phil Ragazzo  (1915-1994)

Tackle—(Western Reserve) Cleveland Rams 1938-40, Philadelphia Eagles 1940-41, Bainbridge (Maryland) Naval Training Station 1943, U.S. Naval Amphibious Naval Training Base Amphibs 1944, New York Giants 1945-47

 

Buford “Baby” Ray  (1914-1986)

Tackle—(Vanderbilt) Green Bay Packers 1938-48  [All Pro 1943]

 

 

 I obtained this 3x5 Baby Ray autograph in 2012 in trade for a Bernie Scherer 3x5.

 

Bob Reinhard  (1920-1996)

Tackle—(California) Los Angeles Dons 1946-49, Los Angeles Rams 1950   [All-American 1940-41, All Pro 1948-49]

Bob Reinhard . . . was the best lineman I played against.
    Lou Rymkus

Bob "Horse" Reynolds  (1914-1994)

Tackle—(Stanford) Detroit Lions 1937-38   [All-American 1934-35, College Football Hall of Fame 1961]

My biggest thrill at Stanford?  That's easy.  It was the night I took a horse up to Bob Reynolds' room.  He played tackle for us.  Came from Okmulgee, Oklahoma.  Didn't care much about company.  Always wanted to be alone.  I figured he missed the wide open spaces.  So one night I went down and stole a horse and walked it five miles and brought it up to his room, two flights.  I think it was the biggest belt he got out of Stanford.  He threw his arms around the horse and cried, "Betsy, you're here at last."  After that he was the best man we had in the line . . . .Horse was an excellent blocker, and was quick in pulling out of his tackle slot and lending interference.  When he was paving the way, he banged the defenders down as though they were wooden Indians.  He really cleared a path for you.
    Bobby Grayson

 

Bob Reynolds is buried in Camelback Cemetery, Paradise Valley, Arizona.

“Big”Jim Ricca  (1927-2007)

Tackle—(Georgetown) Washington Redskins 1951-54, Detroit Lions 1955, Philadelphia Eagles 1955-56

I was born with no vision in my right eye.  I do, however, have great hearing on that side.  God's good to you in that way.  As soon as I heard anything coming, I used to swing my arm up.  That usually kept everybody away from me.  I don't think anybody actually tried to take advantage of me, but I did move to the right side of the line so I could look down the line . . . I was always accused of having two personalities: one on the field and another off the field.  I'm convinced that it wasn't guts or courage and I also don't think it was the fear of getting hurt.  It was the fear of looking bad, being embarrassed by somebody.
    Jim Ricca

Jim Ricca is buried in National Memorial Park, Falls Church, Virginia.

George Roman  (1925-2002)

Tackle—(Western Reserve) Boston Yanks 1948, New York Bulldogs 1949, New York Giants 1950

He was just so big that he'd just roll over you in games.  There wasn't just two guys on him. Sometimes it took three guys on him to knock him down. Back in those days if you were 180, 190 pounds you were a brute. He was 6-4, 220 in high school easy.  But he was also a calm individual. Just because he was big, he wasn't one of those bullies.
    Bill Patellos

 

Howie Ruetz  (1927-1999)

Defensive Tackle—(Loras) Green Bay Packers 1951-53 [Little All-American 1951]

 

Torance "Bo" Russell, Jr.  (1916-1997)

Tackle—(Auburn) Washington Redskins 1939-40

We beat the Redskins out of the Eastern Division championship [in 1939] when Bo Russell kicked a last-minute field goal that could have won the game for them, but it was ruled no good.  We were winning 9-7 at the time.  I was backing up the line and the Redskins had worked the ball down to about our 25-yard line.  There were only about forty-five seconds to go.  Russell lined up and kicked the ball.  It looked like it was good to a lot of people.  But the referee, Bill Halloran, gave the signal that it was no good.  Ray Flaherty, who was coaching the Redskins, and practically their entire bench came running out onto the field and raised the dickens about it.  But Halloran paid no attention to them, and we won the game.  I had a pretty good angle to see it, and it looked to me like he missed it.  The Redskins sure didn’t think so, however.
    Mel Hein

 

Bo Russell is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama

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Listen to the Voices of:

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See a Video Clip of:

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