Guard—(Minnesota) Brooklyn Dodgers 1946, Chicago Rockets 1947
He was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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 sent me this autographed copy of a Rams postcard.
Guard/Linebacker—(Ohio State) Fort Bragg 3rd Field Artillery Replacement Training Center Cannoneers 1943; Los Angeles Rams 1947-49
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
I obtained this autograph via a trade.
Guard—(Holy Cross) March Field 1943, Boston Yanks 1944 [All Service Team 1943]
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.
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.
Guard/Linebacker—(Richmond) Brooklyn Dodgers 1947, Richmond Rebels (AFL) 1949-50
I was the first Lithuanian All American in 1946.
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.
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
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.
Guard—(Ohio State) Detroit Lions 1951, San Francisco 49ers 1952 [All-American 1950]
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.
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
Guard—(Fullerton JC/Oregon) Chicago Cardinals 1943, Brooklyn Tigers 1944, Boston Yanks 1945, Hawaiian Warriors (PCFL) 1946-47, Detroit Lions 1947
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.
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
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 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.
Guard—(Illinois Wesleyan/Illinois) Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station 1943; Washington Redskins 1949-51
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.
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
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 is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Max Starcevich is one of three who autographed this 1936 Phil Berube cartoon. The other two were Ave Daniell and Marshall Goldberg.
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.
Guard/Linebacker—(Texas A&M) Detroit Lions 1945-46, Green Bay Packers 1947-49
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.
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.
Guard—(Georgia) Green Bay Packers 1938-45
I was only making $100 a game.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
Guard/Tackle—(Florida) Cleveland Indians 1931, Boston Braves 1932, Boston Redskins 1933
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 sent me this letter in 1990 on a copy of a 1935 news article announcing his selection as an A.P. All American.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I also have a signed typescript note dated September 14, 1990, sent to me by Gust Zarnas.
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.