NATIONAL GRID LEAGUE PLANS FOR FULL-SCALE OPERATIONS NEXT FALL
MAR 30 (Chicago) - The NFL will be in full-scale operation next fall with probably more than 90 percent of its players working full-time war jobs while playing on the gridiron. That was revealed today when the league office laid down a tentative plan for the coming season. It showed that professional grid teams will feel the manpower pinch only slightly and it also mapped how the NFL is preparing to meet sports' voluntary 25 percent reduction in travel...25 ENTERED SERVICE: The 11 NFL teams have lost 25 players to the service since last season, but the prospects of losing many more are slim because most of the players now holds war jobs. It is practically certain that 90 percent or more will be working full-time war jobs come autumn. Leaders in the "War Work Campaign" are the Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and the Boston Yanks, who proved last fall that football players can work in war jobs during the week days, practice at night and still give worthy performances on the gridiron every Sunday. Almost 100 percen of the Chicago Cardinal-Pittsburgh squad did war work during the 1944 season. Philadelphia had 24 players in war work, Green Bay had 18 and Boston had almost as many...TO CUT TRAVELING: The pro circuit expects to meet the 25 percent travel reduction by cutting out several lengthy training excursions and eliminating unnecessary man miles. For example, clubs will limit their traveling squads by cutting down the number of handlers and leaving injured players - who probably would not see action - at home. The league will hold its annual meeting in New York, starting April 6, at which time the schedule, the yearly draft, rules and regulations will be drawn up. Almost certain to be dropped is the Washington Redskins' cross-country training trip to San Diego. Also, the league opening probably will be set back since baseball clubs will not permit the NFL to use their parks until the baseball team has completed its home season.
CHILI WALSH, ON VISIT HERE, REVEALS A LIFELONG AMBITION - TO SEE RAMS DEFEAT PACKERS IN BAY
MAR 30 (Green Bay) - When Coach Curly Lambeau of the Green Bay Packers and General Manager Charles (Chili) Walsh of the Cleveland Rams got together to talk some business Thursday, the Packer coach probably didn't realize it but Walsh expects to fulfill a lifelong ambition when he brings the Rams here next season for a contest with the defending champions. The two considered some of the things which will come before the National league's annual meeting in New York next week. "Ever since I handled the St. Louis Gunners way back in the 1920s, it has been my ambition to give the Packers a trimming in their own backyard, and I think we can do it in 1945," Walsh said after he had left Lambeau's office and prepared to depart for Chicago on an afternoon train. "We almost turned the trick last year (the Bays won, 30-21) and we're looking forward to doing it this year." While he was non-committal about business that league moguls will consider a week hence, he believes that a merger between at least two of the teams would benefit the league. "Cleveland is definitely not interested in combining with another team but I think that any two others, probably from the Eastern division, could do so with benefit to themselves. A 10-team league would certainly eliminate plenty schedule problems." (Earlier in the week, Lambeau had offered the possibility that Brooklyn and Boston would merge in 1945.) Walsh said he is not worrying too much now about the opposition which the National league would receive from some of the other proposed circuits. "We'll have to wait for developments," he said, adding that any new league must prove itself worthy of public support and capable of keeping that support through results. "The right of another league to start up is unquestioned," he said, "but its right to stay in business depends on the public."...MANAGER SIGNS BROTHER: The Cleveland manager, who recently signed his brother, Adam Walsh, as head coach of the Rams, said the club would have practically the same personnel as in 1944, including Tommy Colella, who sparked the team in a great exhibition at City stadium last October. Who Brother Adam's helpers will be has not been determined, Walsh said. He will, however, have a full staff of aides. Paying tribute to the Packer coach, Walsh said Lambeau had done more for the league than most people realize through planning for the future and giving the people what they want. "He and George Halas and George Marshall have done a great job in putting the league on top and keeping it there through their foresight."
SINKWICH AWARDED CARR TROPHY AS PRO FOOTBALL'S MOST VALUABLE
APR 2 (Chicago) - Quarterback Frankie Sinkwich, the heart and head of the Detroit Lions' grid machine last season, today was named the NFL's most valuable player for 1944. The award marks a great comeback for the 24-year old Georgia Fireball. One of the most publicized college players ever to make his debut on the pro grid fields, Sinkwich was a flop in 1943, his first year. However, he warmed up last season to become the league's top all-around back and his season-long stardom earned him the nod by two points over Don Hutson, Green Bay's veteran end. The former Georgia All-American made his comeback despite physical handicaps. He was bothered by a heart murmur, high blood pressure and a mid-season attack of appendicitis. He took it easy in practice during the week, but on Sunday he was a "million dollar" ball player...SEVENTH ANNUAL AWARD: The selection, made by a committee of 17 newspapermen who covered NFL teams all season, carries with it the seventh annual award of the Joe F. Carr trophy. Sinkwich and Hutson each received six first place votes. The Detroit star, however, was named on four second-place ballots while Hutson received only three runner-up votes. The final tabulation gave Sinkwich 38 points, Hutson 36. The five other players who received votes were Bill Paschal, the league's leading ground gainer for the past two seasons, and Ward Cuff, backfield teammates of the New York Giants; Leroy Zimmerman, Philadelphia T-quarterback; Frank Filchock of Washington, the league's 1944 passing champion, and Johnny Grigas, Card-Pitt fullback. In the opinion of the committee, there was little to choose between Sinkwich and Hutson. Both players were on a part in leadership, but the committee believed that the Lions would have mised their rampaging quarterback more than the Packers would have missed their fleet-footed end...LEAGUE'S BEST PUNTER: Sinkwich led Detroit to a tie for second place in the league's Wesern division last fall. He topped the league in punting, finished second behind Hutson in scoring with 66 points, averaged 3.8 yards per try for third in the ground gaining department, and was the league's sixth best passer. As usual Hutson was tops in pass receiving and scoring. He caught 58 passes for 866 yards and scored 85 points. Last season marked the seventh time in the 10-year professional career that the Alabama Express had led receivers. He has won the scoring title five consecutive seasons. Hutson was nosed out of the title last year when the Chicago Bears' Sid Luckman won the award. Other winners are: Huston, 1942 and 1941; Ace Parker, Brooklyn, 1940; Parker Hall, Cleveland, 1939; and Mel Hein, New York, 1938.
PACKER COACH ATTENDS NEW YORK GRID MEETING
APR 3 (Green Bay) - Coach E.L. (Curly) Lambeau left late Monday for New York where he will attend the annual meeting of the NFL. Lambeau, a member of the circuit's executive committee, will take part in committee discussions prior to the regular meeting on Friday. Important business for the session includes making up the 1945 schedule, the annual draft of college talent, and consideration of the problem of territorial rights involved in the proposed transfer of the Brooklyn Tigers from Ebbets field in Brooklyn to Yankee stadium, now owned by Capt. Dan Topping of the Tigers.
SIDNEY TINSLEY SIGNS CONTRACT FOR TRYOUT WITH PACKER TEAM
APR 3 (Green Bay) - Sidney Tinsley, a tailback with the Clemson college football team, has signed a contract for a tryout with the Green Bay Packers and will report for practice in mid-August. He is a brother of Pete Tinsley, veteran guard on the defending championship eleven. The younger Tinsley entered Clemson in 1939 and left in 1942 to enter the Army, from which he received a medical discharge recently.
HARRY JACUNSKI TO COACH IRISH
APR 4 (South Bend, IN) - Harry Jacunski, veteran end on the Green Bay Packers, Tuesday was signed as end coach at Notre Dame. Jacunski replaces Clem Crowe, who resigned to become head coach at the University of Iowa. The new end coach went to work at Tuesday's practice session. He has been a standout end at Green Bay for six years since coming from Fordham university, where he played from 1936 to 1938. Jacunski was signed by Hugh Devore, acting head coach and athletic director at Notre Dame, who coached Fordham's ends when Jacunski was in school. Married and the father of three children, Jacunski lives in New Britain, Conn. During his half dozen years on the Packer squad, Jacunski became recognized as one of the outstanding defensive ends in the NFL, and several times received mention for all-league honors. Never a high scorer, he teamed with Don Hutson, making the combination one of the most formidable in the circuit. He scored six touchdowns for 36 points for the Packers. Whether he will be able to play against the College All Stars next August in Chicago is not known at present.
PRO FOOTBALL HASN'T ANY ACUTE MANPOWER PROBLEMS, ASSERTS GEORGE PRESTON MARSHALL
APR 4 (Washington) - Professional football has no acute manpower problems and instead of thinking about team mergers, it should increase the size of squads to accommodate discharged servicemen. George Preston Marshall, president of the Washington Redskins, made that suggestion Tuesday for National league members to consider at their meeting in New York Friday and Saturday. Marshall also said that the sport's transportation difficulties probably will be negligible by next October, "if gas rationing is eased" after the defeat of Germany, as the Office of War Mobilization indicated over the weekend. Game trips could then be taken in private cars. League officials have disclosed that mergers of teams may be effected to reduce the circuit to eight teams next season. Arthur Sampson, general manager of the Boston Yanks, mentioned among teams that might merge with other clubs, seconded Marshall's remarks about manpower...INCREASE PLAYER LIMIT: "We ought to increase the player limit from 28 to the prewar total of 33 per team," Marshall said, "to take care of players who may be discharged from service before next season. They certainly will be entitled to their old jobs back." The entire professional football season, including exhibitions, can be played by using no more transportation than one major league baseball team requires, Marshall said. "We play on Sundays, non-working days; our players work in war plants and we sever as a substantial travel deterrent by keeping thousands of flush weekenders off trains, buses and the highways," Marshall said.
GRID EXECUTIVES STUDY NEW PROPOSED LOOPS
APR 4 (New York) - Whether there is room in the United States for the postwar operation of three and possibly four major league professional football circuits may be determined today. The executive committee of the National league, only major professional circuit now in operation, began two days of momentous meetings here today, prior to opening the regular league meeting Friday. What they decide may have a definite future bearing on the operations of the three embryo circuits, the United States Football league, the All-America and the Trans-America. Each of the new enterprises wants to put a team on the field a year after the end of the war in Europe, but before that can be done definite arrangements must be made for securing of stadium sites, establishment of contractual agreements with players, and working out territorial rights and schedules...SEEK STADIUM SITES: Although not actually rivals as such, the promoters of the new leagues are waging a keen fight for stadium sites. Chick Meehan, former Manhattan college coach and head of the Trans-America circuit, said he would abandon plans to keep the league going if he was unable to get a playing site in New York. Shortly before the National league executives met, Meehan proposed a 16-club league consisting of 11 in the National league and the five strongest in the Trans-America circuit combine into one powerful organization which would operate similar to the American and National leagues in baseball.
BROOKLYN TIGERS WILL MOVE INTO YANK STADIUM, UP WRITER SAYS
APR 5 (New York) - A little pressure promised Thursday to solve a major problem of the National Professional Football league. The United Press learned that the league, exerting the influence it wields as the only going concern in the business, will transfer its Brooklyn franchise to Yankee Stadium to make sure that no rival league obtains a major New York outlet. Such a move may cost the New York Giants some money, but in the long run it will keep one of the proposed postwar professional leagues from getting a foothold in the city which thus far has been the financial angel of the game. The Giants, owned by Tim Mara and his sons, Jack and Wellington, have been the pillar of the financial structure of the NFL and now are asked to share their booty with a team which operated none too successfully across the river in Brooklyn. This issue is this: Shall the National league take a chance with a competing postwar group or shall it secure New York fandom for its own organization at the risk of monetary loss to the team which has put more dollars into professional football than any other? The answer is that the National league does not with to take a chance. Whatever pressure is required to force the Maras to consent to the transfer of the Brooklyn franchise to Yankee stadium will be exerted. The Mara never have revealed whether they would permit the invasion of their protected territory by Capt. Dan Topping's Brooklyn eleven. That became a problem when Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn National league baseball club, disclosed that he planned to end the professional football field and refused to grant Topping's team more than a year's lease on Ebbets field. The Brooklyn football group not care to go along on such a temporary basis. It seemed to have solved this problem when the Yankees were sold to a syndicate of three men, one of whom was Topping. But then the question arose whether the Giants would permit Brooklyn to transfer its franchise to the stadium. While the Maras have not revealed how they fell, the National league decided for them which way the wind is blowing. It wants no competition of its own making. It believes that no rival circuit could become a major competitor without a home base in New York City. So the directors of the league have decided that whether the Mara clan likes it or not, the Brooklyn Tigers will set up house this fall in Yankee stadium and its gridiron seating capacity of 72,000. The schedule makers will see to it that the Giants and the Tigers are not at home on the same day unless they are meting each other.
SERVICE ACADEMY STARS NAMED IN PRO GRID DRAFT
APR 7 (New York) - A new policy by NFL teams in their annual player draft was evident today because of the inclusion in the selection for the first time of stars from the
Army and Navy military academies. Three players, Jack
Green, captain and guard on Army's 1945 team, George
(Barney) Poole, a dependable Army end and Bob Jenskins,
bone crushing backfield star from Navy, were included in
the 330 players named Friday in the long and involved
selection bee. Green, a brilliant football tactician, was
selected by the Chicago Bears, Poole by New York, and
Jenkins by the Washington Redskins. Selection of the
academy players was unusual for several reasons. Each
of the three has from one to three seasons left to play. Each
is outstanding not only as an athlete but in his academy
career and none of the three is likely to leave military
service to take over in the professional gridiron realm...
USED UNWRITTEN RULE: In normal times, the pro clubs
made it an unwritten rule not to draft players from the
service schools because the odds were long against the
players being of any use to them. Only one other academy
player. Don Whitmire, Navy tackle of last season, ever had
been selected in the draft. He was chosen by Green Bay in
1943. At that time he was not a member of the gridiron
squad. Each of the players named Friday wen to another
college prior to training at the service schools. They were
selected from those schools rather than from Army or Navy.
Green was a star lineman at Tulane, Jenkins went to
Alabama and Poole to Mississippi. Selection of academy
men along with other players, now in military service, who
may or may not be available in 1945, indicated also how
desperate is the manpower situation, since a very small
percentage, probably less than 10 percent of the players,
are 4-F's, the only group which will be available for the
coming season. Many of the players were from schools
which abandoned football several seasons ago. others
were stars overlooked in the 1944 draft...TRIPPI FIRST
CHOICE: First man to be selected was Charley Trippi of
Georgia, who led the Bulldogs to victory in the 1942 Rose
Bowl game against UCLA. He went to the last place
Chicago Cardinals. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who shared
the Western division cellar in an amalgamation with the
Cardinals last year, got second choice and named Paul
Duhart, former Florida halfback. The Brooklyn Tigers, East
cellar occupants, picked Joe Renfro, Tulane back. Players
selected by the Packers included: Walter Schlinkman,
Texas Tech; Clyde Goodnight, Tulsa; Joseph Graham,
Florida; Donald Wells, Georgia, and Casey Stephenson,
Tennessee. Subject of the meeting's major controversy
was Duhart of Green Bay. Duhart, who decided to play pro
football last fall after being discharged from the Army, came
under a special ruling. The NFL rule holds that no player
can be signed until his college class has been graduated,
but since Florida had no football team last fall the Packers
were permitted to sign him. Under the special ruling the
Steelers can send Duhart back to Green bay in a trade but
not to any other club. Elroy Hirsch, the Wausau product who
cut a wide swath in the Western football conference with
Wisconsin and Michigan, was picked by Cleveland in the
draft. Hirsch is now in the Marines and stationed at
Quantico, Va.. His Badger grid career was interrupted when
he entered service but he continued to play for Michigan
under the Marine training program. Jack Meade, also a
former Wisconsin gridder, was drafted by New York. Steve
Enich of Marquette went to Brooklyn and John Strzykalski,
also of Marquette, went to Boston.
LARRY CRAIG HAS DOUBLE LIFE; NOW HE'S IN HILLBILLY
APRIL 7 (New York) - The "Binder Twine Kid" is doing his
spring planting now among the hills somewhere around
Clinton, S.C., for he is in the middle of his hill-billy season.
He will continue in that role until August when he will come
down out of those hills to go the training camp of the Green
Bay Packers, NFL champions. And in a football suit - or in
the street clothes he wears when he leaves his native
hearth - he is anything by a hill-billy. For Larry Craig leads
two lives. In the fall months he's "Don Hutson's muscle".
The rest of the year he roughs it as the directing head of the farming operations of the Craig family. And if it wasn't for pro football there probably wouldn't be any Craig homesteads. To the people around Green Bay, and Clinton, Craig is pretty well known. But to the average football fan he is known as a workmanlike player - one of the best in the league - but you don't hear much about him because he lacks what they call color in the sport. But that color isn't lacking to anyone who knows Larry very well. As soon as he leave those mountains every fall he goes back to wearing shoes, suit, shirts and ties and you won't find many arguments among the pro football players if you cal him the best looking guy in the bunch and one of the best dressers. And when the Packers go into a hotel in some league city the prettiest girl in the lobby will be there - waiting for Larry Craig. He's the pro football league's sailor with a girl in every port of call in the circuit. He doesn't forget what he is hired for, either. In all his years with the Packers, he probably hasn't handled the ball more than a dozen times, and then it was usually scooping up fumbles. But he's been throwing the key blocks on offense and taking over for Hutson on defense for a long time. For when the opposition gets the ball, Don drops into the backfield and Larry moves up to left end. He's one of the best defensive ends in the league and to his coach, Curly Lambeau, he's the game's all-time quarterback for the Packer system. Larry likes his football rough, too. His frame is built for it - 210 pounds over six foot, one and a half inches. They tried him as a linebacker-upper in a game a couple of years ago, but his complaint was that the line wasn't letting any enemy players through whom he could hit. So Larry went back to left end. When the season's over, Larry forgets his football world, changes to the garb of a South Carolina hill farmer and loses touch with the world. He takes his money home with him - he saved his dad's farm with his football earnings and then bought another farm. The farms in a pretty remote section so getting in touch with Larry becomes a major league task during the offseason.