1957 Green Bay Packers
PACKERS' 39TH SEASON WORST EVEN FOR INJURIES
DEC 17 (Green Bay) - The Packers’ 39th season in professional football was perhaps the most painful in history from the standpoint of injuries and sickness. Trainer Bud Jorgensen said he couldn’t recall a season “anywhere near as bad as this one.” And Bud has been around for a long time – nearly thirty-five years. Coach Liz Blackbourn and aides Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Jack Morton suffered, improvised, sweated and switched personnel right down to the bitter end – in San Francisco Sunday when linebacker Tom Bettis sustained a complete tear of the internal lateral ligaments of his knee in the first quarter. When Tom went out, the Bays were down to one regular linebacker – Bill Forester. His sidemates were Carlton Massey, who was switched from defensive end, and Ernie Danjean, who needs rest at times. Danjean was the team’s fourth linebacker at the start behind Forester, Bettis and Sam Palumbo, who suffered a broken leg earlier. Massey had never played linebacker before Sunday. The 1957 Packiers were confronted with 10 major injuries, including four broken bones, a knee lock, a torn ligament, two ankle sprains and two knee injuries, Jorgensen listed, adding: “And there were many other injuries that cut players to half speed.” The broken-bone cases were Joe Skibinski, ankle in training camp; Sam Palumbo, ankle in Los Angeles Ram game in Milwaukee; Nate Borden, arm in Pittsburgh game; and Ron Kramer, leg in Ram game in Los Angeles. Breaks, of course, require casts and seem so much worse than other hurts but there were two other injuries that actually were worse – Gary Knafelc’s knee lock just before the 49er game in Milwaukee that required surgery, and Bettis’ hurt Sunday. Bettis, Jorgensen said, would have been out for six weeks – not counting getting-in-shape time. That makes six bad ones! The two ankle sprains, which are termed as “just as bad as breaks” by the trainer, belong to Billy Kinard, who suffered one bad sprain in one ankle in training camp and a sprain in the other later in the season, and Paul Hornung, who suffered his ankle hurt in the Pittsburgh game. That makes eight. The other two were the knee troubles of tackle Norm Master and guard Norm Amundsen. Both missed a few games and that’s why they were listed as major. Guard Jim Salsbury picked up a twisted ankle at Baltimore and didn’t expect to play in the New York game, but Amundsen was hurt early and Salsbury went the rest of the way. There were many tantalizing injuries and among the most serious were Howie Ferguson, knee, rib and shoulder; Jim Ringo, shoulder; Jerry Helluin, knee. Bart Starr missed the last three quarters of the Ram game in Milwaukee with an elbow hurt…THE FLU, TOO: And then there was the flu. Just about every member of the squad developed some on game weekends and that’s what hurt. Bobby Dillon was just a day out of bed when he played in the Giant game; Max McGee was sick on the field that day. Billy Howton had 101 degree temperatures in the Baltimore game but won the game with a last second pass catch. Hank Gremminger was in bad shape in the 49er game. Ringo had stomach trouble and couldn’t eat anything solid for nearly three weeks. Of the 35 players who started the season stadium-dedication season with a 21-17 victory over the Bears, only 28 were hale and hearty at the finish. Actually, the drop was from 37 because two players were added during the year – Frank Purnell, when Knafelc left, and Tom Finnin, when Borden departed. And so it went – right down to the painful 3-9 end!...The Packers arrived back in Green Bay as scheduled last night on the North Western after a six-hour United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Milwaukee. Blackbourn sat down with each player individually for a few minutes today as they received their last paychecks of the season. The players will be guests of the Packer Corp. at a dinner given by the board of directors tonight after which Blackbourn will make a report on the season. The team will break up after the dinner and some of the players will head for home immediately. Most of them will leave Wednesday morning…Three Packers still have another game to play – center Jim Ringo, halfback Bobby Dillon and end Billy Howton, who has been chosen to play with the Western Division team in the Pro Bowl in Los Angeles Jan. 12. Ringo is making his first appearance in the game, while Dillon and Howton are repeaters…WEIGHT LOSERS: Ringo finished the season weighing just 215 pounds and Massey got down to 200. Can you imagine an offensive center and defensive end, respectively, in the league with those weights? Ringo expects to get back up to 230 for the Pro Bowl game. Jim never could regain much weight after sickness during the season. Massey is down to offensive end weight and that’s where he might play next year – there or slot back.
STARR SHOULD CARRY A WHIP NEXT YEAR...?
DEC 17 (Green Bay) - Sunday’s Packer-49er game should pretty well settle the rookie-vs.-veteran quarterback argument. Remember all the yacking last year on Bart Starr, the rookie, and Tobin Rote, the veteran? Starr then was about the best rookie prospect you could possibly find and the home folks wanted him in action as soon as Rote went wild; Starr finished with a 54.5 percent pitching record. Starr did an excellent job but he didn’t keep Rote on the bench. Why? Experience is the best answer, but the Pack’s windup at San Francisco Sunday furnished a concrete example. The 49ers’ great veteran, Y.A. Tittle, was hurt so John Brodie, the rookie, was started. If anybody had any feelings for Brodie, it probably was Starr, because Bart knew exactly what the young Stanford star was going through. In fact, Starr said later: “I thought Brodie did a good job.” The newcomer, who threw the winning TD pass vs. the Colts a week ago when Tittle was forced to leave in the final seconds, led his team to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The pressure grew tough in the second quarter and young John, facing a thieving secondary, practically blew up. He pitched two interceptions and goofed up a handoff that Joe Perry got credit for fumbling; and Perry fumbled again in the same quarter. So Brodie was behind 20-10 at the half! Brodie finished with five completions in 12 attempts for 75 yards and two interceptions. Tittle, sticking with the short pass – maybe his shaky legs couldn’t stand the long ones, completed 10 out of 14 for 94 yards and his longest pitch was only 18 yards. Starr, who had 12 out of 16 in the first half, finished with 15 out of 22 for 163 yards, 1 interception and 1 touchdown. Incidentally, the Packers, with Starr and Parilli and Coaches Liz Blackbourn and Ray McLean in on the conference, decided to go with Parilli as a sort of luck-changer. Starr had been victimized brutally and physically and mentally as his protection broke down since the start of the second half when the 49ers doubled their strength behind Tittle. But Sunday wasn’t for Babe, who key-figured two of the Packers’ three wins. Dickie Moegle made a Dillon-type interception of Babe’s first throw in the end zone. Karl Rubke took Parilli’s second pitch and this hurt because Babe was aiming at Billy Howton, who was 10 yards behind the interceptor – and alone. Starr in ’58? Besides more experience, Starr picked up valuable stature that he’ll need next year – real bad. Bart is just the finest guy you could ever know – on and off the field. We hope he never changes but Bart also is wonderful guy on that field – not to his opponent but to his teammates. The Packers and Blackbourn in particular hope he takes the field next year with a mean, cocky and egotistical attitude. Bart has all the tools – a good football mind, absolute coolness under fire, amazing accuracy and a strong arm. Next year, Starr should carry a whip in his back pocket! Blackbourn was telling about Bobby Layne, the Detroit quarterback, Sunday night. “They tell me he just bristles at those linemen and threatens ‘em if they don’t protect or open holes. He’s the boss out there and let everybody know it,” Liz said. And nobody can argue with Detroit’s success with Layne – world championships in 1952-53, a division title in ’54, a skid to 3-9 in ’55 when Layne was hurt all season, and a 9-3 record in ’56 with a well Layne.
BAYS WON'T ALIBI AWAY BAD SEASON
DEC 17 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Was it a case of not going all out all the time or lack of experienced help? Why were the Packers such a darn good first half team - then time and again blow leads sky high in the second half? Did they lack a real leader? If you come up with these answers, you're a better man than Liz Blackbourn who Sunday completed his worst season (3-9) in pro football. There's no question that injuries had a lot to do with this dismal record. But breaks of the game? As one Packer explained, "a good team makes its own breaks." The players cussed the word "breaks". They wanted no part of alibi talk. The unanimous opinion - "a lousy season". Yet, there were some encouraging signs. The desire shown against the 49ers at San Francisco Sunday was amazing. Here was a critically crippled team fighting a title-bidding club on sheer determination down to the wire. Green Bay came up with a real running threat this season with the acquisition of Don McIlhenny from the Lions. McIhenny could be the greatest breakaway threat since Tony Canadeo. But McIlhenny alone wasn't enough after injuries disabled Howie Ferguson and Paul Hornung. Fergy was the powerful guy needed as proven in more than one instance when failure to score from the one yard line meant the difference between winning and losing. The responsibility for making the attack go rested on the shoulders of young Bart Starr. He made many a believer out of a doubting observer who thought Tobin Rote was the only man for the job. Yet, Starr would be the first to admit he's got to lot to learn. They're expecting great things of this passer. But he's still a year or two away from being a topnotcher. His replacement, Babe Parilli, was a big disappointment even though he was individually responsible for two of the Packers' three victories. Lost confidence or not, Parilli didn't have it. One of the best performances was turned in by the pass defense unit. Sparked by the old pro, Bobby Dillon, and the roughneck rookie, John Symank, the Bays gave just about every opposing quarterback a headache. Bill Forester turned in his best season since joining the club. But there was not enough of the Forester type to stop such runners as John Henry Johnson of the Lions, Jon Arnett of the Rams, Rick Casares of the Bears or Lenny Moore of the Colts. The offensive line, after a sputtering start, came around during the second half of the campaign. Yet,
there is reason to believe there are better games in linemen like Ollie Spencer, Norm Masters, Jim Salsbury and Al Barry. Center Jim Ringo deserved an all-pro vote. Billy Howton established himself seasons ago - they come no better. But Max McGee seemed to have lost some of his stuff after a service hitch. McGee wasn't a Gary Knafelc, not this season. One statistic probably pinpoints the Packers' second half failure better than any. Green Bay scored exactly seven points in all games during the third quarter.
RUNNERS AND LINE MAJOR PACKER NEEDS
DEC 17 (Milwaukee Journal) - For the Green Bay Packers, this was the season of breaks - on plays and to players. Almost all breaks, or so it seemed, went against the Packers. There were broken legs for Joe Skibinski, Sam Palumbo and Ron Kramer and a broken arm for Nate Borden. There were torn knees for Gary Knafelc and Tom Bettis and for Mike Hudock, who was put out for the season before he ever reported. The Miami (Fla.) rookie was hurt in the college all-star game. There are not to mention the usual injuries which laid up regulars for from one to four weeks - ankles for Paul Hornung and Bill Kinard and knees for Norm Masters and Norm Amundsen. And there were breaks on the field - blocked punts (twice), failures to make a touchdown from the one yard line in four plays (twice) and fumbles and interceptions which always seemed to go the wrong way at the wrong time. So Green Bay finished last in the Western Division of the NFL with three victories and nine defeats. The only thing, then, is look ahead to next season. Most players will be back with the probably exception of rookie slotback Ron Kramer and veteran place kicking fullback Fred Cone. Kramer, when his broken leg mends, will become property of the Air Force, perhaps for three years. He will be difficult to replace. Cone probably will retire to coach in a Mobile (Ala.) prep school. He tried to retire to the same job two years ago and was lured back. He has been money in the bank on field goals and extra points. Others have mumbled around retiring, but in their case the long and losing season has influenced them. Next July they will feel differently. What does Green Bay need to become a winner? It needs runners, badly, and it needs a better line to clear the way. At season's end, Don McIlhenny was carrying the ball carrying load alone. A pro team nowadays needs at least four good runners - to keep fresh pressure on and to allow for inevitable injuries. Paul Hornung might be another topnotch running back, but Coach Lisle Blackbourn sees the boy at quarterback. "I'm sure he'll throw well enough if he works at it seriously," Blackbourn said, "and with the way he can run, Paul will be a fine quarterback." The Packers have one quarterback on his way to greatness already - Bart Starr. The young Alabaman gained stature in a losing season after playing strictly in Tobin Rote's shadow in his rookie year. Starr still needs more confidence in his own ability. He could be more of a "take charge" guy. That will come, for he is intelligent and talented. Blackbourn says that Starr "has the finest voice for calling signals I've ever heard in football." Green Bay's league leading total of 30 interceptions stands out. The Packer secondary is second to none in coverage. Its record was attained with little or no pressure on the passer. This phase will have to be improved next season. The Packers were extremely thin on defense at end and linebacker when the season ended. Carlton Massey, Texas cowboy, was found too light at defensive end. Blackbourn plans to give him a shot at slotback on offense. Massey has speed and smartness and was a fine pass catcher in college. Dan Currie, first draft choice from Michigan State, probably will be used at linebacker. Help for the offensive line must come from service returnees Forrest Gregg, Hank Bullough and Bob Skoronski (if Skoronski gets out in time for next season). Help could also come from Oliver Spencer and Jim Salsbury of this year's team, if they ever play up to potential, and from rookies Norm Masters and Carl Vereen, if they improve as expected. In the backfield, Doyle Nix and Veryl Switzer will be back from service. Nix is a proven defensive back and Switzer is a fine handyman. Both may add depth because of versatility. Certainly needed, too, though, is good luck with the draftees - Currie, Jim Taylor, Dick Christy, Ray Nitschke, Jerry Kramer - and those selected in previous years and now eligible and those still to be picked at Philadelphia in January.
BOGDA RESIGNS AS PACKER PRESIDENT
DEC 18 (Green Bay) - The resignation of Russell W. Bogda as president of the Green Bay Packers was announced at the meeting of Packer directors at the Beaumont Hotel Tuesday night. Bogda said he was giving up the position he has held since 1953 because of ill health. A special meeting of the directors has been called for next Monday noon to consider the resignation. Bogda has been a director and a member of the Packer executive committee since 1946, and succeeded Emil R. Fischer to the presidency when the latter became chairmen of the board. Packer directors last night voted for the appointment of a committee to study all of the facts involved in moving any additional league games to Green Bay. The committee will report back to the board shortly after the first of the year. Packer players, coaches, trainers and officer personnel were guests of the directors at the dinner. Each player was presented with an electric razor by the corporation. Player representatives Bill Howton, Dave Hanner and Fred Cone spoke, with Howton praising the manner in which the Packer corporation has handled relations with the players organization this season. He said that in his contacts with players from other teams in the league he could say that Green Bay has the best set-up in the league for dealing with player problems. Coach Lisle Blackbourn, in assessing the season just concluded, said that he thought there were a few bright spots to consider along with the bad. He felt the Packers are over the hump as far as the quarterbacking situation is concerned, with two veterans who have now had a full season’s baptism of fire, and that the same is true with the offensive line, which he pointed out has been reshuffled in each of his last four years. He also felt that the defensive secondary had been considerably improved this year in its pass defense. General Manager Verne C. Lewellen told the directors that preliminary figures indicate that the corporation will be in the black for the fourth consecutive year and will show a gross profit before taxes of about $50,000.
CONE, DILLON AND SYMANK WIN SECOND PLACE HONORS
DEC 18 (Green Bay) - Two old pros and a rookie came closest to winning major individual championship during the Packers’ 1957 season. Final National League statistics, released today, pointed a finger at veterans Fred Cone and Bobby Dillon, and that freshman fighter, Master John Symank. Those three posted second-place finishes – for the best spots among the Packer players who are blessed with the opportunity to get into the statistical columns. Cone posted 74 points and placed behind the 77s scored by Sam Baker of Washington and Lou Groza of Cleveland. Freddie, who was playing his seventh and final season, scored two touchdowns, 26 extra points and 12 field goals in 17 attempts. Cone made all of his extra point tries but “that last one (in San Francisco Sunday) just barely stayed inside the upright,” he explained later. Freddie now ranks as the Packers’ all-time toe and No. 2 scorer. He has scored 200 extra points and 53 field goals to better the 174 extra points by Don Hutson and the 36 field goals by Ted Fritsch who trained Cone in the art of field goaling when he reported back in 1951. Cone also scored 16 touchdowns and his grand point total is 455. Hutson, of course, leads with his fantastic 825 mark, while Fritsch now is third with 392. Dillon and Symank, the Bays’ deep secondarymen, each intercepted nine passes and placed behind Jack Christiansen of Detroit and Milt Davis of Baltimore, who tied for the top with 10 each. Jack Butler of Pittsburgh also tied with the Packer pair. Dillon, affectionately called “coach” by his teammates because he assisted the staff during the training season, points to Symank as his prize pupil. The heady and skilled Dillon is pretty much like a traffic cop back deep and John has done the rest with a good pair of hands and a real love for mixing it up. Al Carmichael placed third in punt returns for the next best finish, while Billy Howton was sixth in pass catches. Howton, who placed second with 55 catches a year ago, snared 38 this season. Don McIlhenny placed sixth in kickoff returns. Bart Starr, who carried the load at quarterback for the first time, came in ninth in passing, which is based on average gain per attempt. Babe Parilli was 11th and Bart’s quarterback mate of a year ago, Tobin Rote, came in 13th. The difference, though, is merely that Rote will be pitching next Sunday to put his team, Detroit, into the league championship game. Starr turned in an excellent passing percentage – 54.4 on 117 completions in 215 attempts. He had only 10 passes intercepted – most of them early in the season. Dick Deschaine actually wound up with a 42.0-yard punting average despite the fact that he had two boots blocked and two others were under 15 yards. He ranked sixth…HORNUNG’S RUN LONGEST: The Packers failed to place among the leaders in ground gaining, although Paul Hornung’s 72-yard run against the New York Giants here turned out to be the longest of the season. There is one regularly-scheduled league game left – Pittsburgh at Chicago Cardinals next Sunday. The ground gaining title was won by Jimmy Brown, the Cleveland Browns’ great rookie, who wheeled 942 yards on 202 attempts for a 4.7-yard average. He set the single game record during the season – 237 yards. Cleveland also has the passing champion – Tommy O’Connell, the former Illinois star who was released by the Chicago Bears before the Browns picked him up.
SWITZER, GREGG GET ALL-STAR GRID POSTS
DEC 18 (New York) - Two servicemen from the Green Bay Packers are included in an Armed Forces All-Star football team named Tuesday in a worldwide poll by the Armed Forces press, radio and TV service. Veryl Switzer of Bolling Air Force Base near Washington D.C. won the fullback honors. Forrest Gregg, who is stationed at Ft. Carson, Colo., was picked as one of the all-star guards. Both Switzer and Gregg are expected to play again with the Green Bay Packers after they finish their military service.
2 FAVORITES FOR PACKER PREXY
DEC 18 (Green Bay) - It was learned here Wednesday that Leslie Kelly and Dominic Olejniczak have the inside track in the scramble for the successor to Russ Bogda, Packer president who resigned because of ill health. The Board of Directors will meet Monday to accept Bogda's resignation and elect their new president. Olejniczak, former mayor of Green Bay, has been serving as vice president of the club. He and Kelly, president of the Green Bay Food Co., have been long time residents of Green Bay. Kelly was the only executive committee member to follow the team on its recent western trip. Bogda had been a director and a member of the executive committe since 1946, and succeeded Emil R. Fischer to the presidency when the latter became chairman of the board. Bogda has been confined to his home since mid-summer due to ill health. While electing a successor to Bogda is the first order of business, the board appointed a committee to study all of the facts involved in moving any additional league games to Green Bay. The Packers have been splitting their home card, playing three games in Green Bay and three in Milwaukee. But because of poor turnouts in Milwaukee compared to three sellouts in Green Bay last fall, there has been agitation to play four and possibly five league games in Green Bay next season. The Baltimore game was the biggest attraction at Milwaukee, drawing 26,322 customers. The 49er contest drew 18,919 and the Rams 19,540. Green Bay sold out all three of its games (Bears, Lions and Giants). The new Green Bay stadium has a seating capacity of 32,500. The Packers drew plenty of heat from the West Coast clubs for their Milwaukee "take", which amounted to a few dollars over the $20,000 guarantee. On the other hand, the Bays' big purse from California put the club in the black for the fourth straight year. Coach Liz Blackbourn, who has another year to go on his five-year contract, told the directors he thought the Packers were "over the hump" so far as the quarterback situation is concerned, with two veterans who now have had at least one full season under fire - apparently referring to Bart Starr and Babe Parilli. He said the same was true of the offensive line, which he pointed out had been reshuffled each of the last four years. He said he also felt the defensive secondary had been improved this year.
HOWTON, RINGO, DILLON TO WEST ALL-STAR TEAM
DEC 19 (Los Angeles) - Billy Howton and Jim Ringo of the Green Bay Packers Wednesday were named to the offensive team for the NFL's Western Division All-Star team which will meet the eastern squad in the eighth annual Pro Bowl contest January 12. Bobby Dillon of the Packers was named to the defensive unit. The contest will be played in the Memorial Coliseum.
TOM WHITE, SPORTS LEADER HERE, PASSES
DEC 19 (Green Bay) - William T. (Tom) White, former Main Street clothier and well known local sports figure, died early this morning in a Green Bay hospital. Mr. White, who was 56 years old and lived at 515 S. Baird St., has been in poor health for several years. A Green Bay resident for 36 years, Mr. White operated White's Better Clothes for 34 years, first in association with his father. He sold the business for reasons of health in 1955, later recovered and became a representative of Distributors, Inc. He was active in city baseball, football and basketball circles, having been associated with the old Green Sox in the 1930s and later with the Bluejays of the Wisconsin State League. He was official scorer for the Jays and field announcer from 1946 until the State League disbanded in 1953...PACKER FIELD ANNOUNCER: Following the retirement of the late Jim Coffeen, Mr. White took over the field microphone for the Packers, but was forced to give it up when he became ill. He also served as a scout for the New York Giants of the National Baseball League. As a member of the Park Board, he was instrumental in the organization of the Recreation Dept.'s major basketball program and was general manager of Green Bay's first professional basketball team, the Green Bay Majors, in 1950-51. Mr. White was born in Chicago, March 16, 1901, and came to Green Bay in 1921 as a salesman for the Frank C. Schilling Co. After working as a salesman for the Standard Oil Co., he joined his father in the clothing business. He served in a Coast Guard auxiliary unit during World War II and was an unsuccessful candidate for the State Assembly in 1956.
'IT'S COLD WHERE I SIT' - J. JOHNSON
DEC 19 (Green Bay) - Hey, Joe! What you wearing those long handles for? It's not that cold! Joe Johnson, the Packers' old reliable who was getting dressed before the Lion game in Detroit Thanksgiving Day, looked at the writer and grinned: "It's cold where I sit." And, we might add, pretty well because it poured all through that game. Old J.J. from B.C. (Boston College) didn't get to play much this year on account of Ron Kramer, the belting 235-pound No. 1 draft choice, who took over Joe's slot back position like he owned it right from the go. Kramer had things to learn, of course, but he caught on in a big hurry - quick enough to keep the wise and clever Johnson on that cold bench. Joe went in on an occasional "surprise" situation - like that much-disputed touchdown in the Bear game. The boys were kidding Joe one day about all the ink he got on that one play, to which Joe answered in his best New Englandish: "Those pictures of me in action are to make up for the ones that I shoulda been in earlier.
Anybody around here want an autograph? Maybe I can have some of those pictures made special and sign 'em." Every paper in the country ran the Associated Press' four-picture sequence layout of Johnson scoring the touchdown that never counted. It would have given the Packers a 21-14 lead with just a few minutes to go. And, by the way, this department's six-picture layout of the play was sent to a certain party in Philadelphia. That was a tough play for Johnson because up to that time he hadn't caught one pass. And in an earlier game, he'd had a lot of trouble finding the handle on four well-aimed pitches. After the Bear Break, the Bomber (all of his buddies call him that) never played much until Kramer broke his leg early in the Ram game in Los Angeles last Dec. 8. Johnson got off the warm bench (it was 82) and caught three passes for 30 yards, which was one reception more than Billy Howton and the same number as Max McGee. Up in San Francisco the next Sunday, Johnson caught four passes for 45 yards and, yippee, scored a touchdown. So, in two games, Johnson caught seven passes for 75 yards and one touchdown - which was pretty good for a guy who spent just about all of the season on the cold and drafty bench. Big Ron, of course, couldn't be budged out of his spot by anyone. The Michigan slammer wound up with 28 catches for 324 yards in 10 games and a few minutes in the 11th. He ranked as the No. 2 snatcher on the club behind Howton who nailed 38. Kramer never scored, which was unusual in view of his ability to catch the ball with half the enemy team on his neck. And speaking about scoring, one dozen players had a finger in the Packers' scoring pit - an unusually high spread of pointmakers. The Bays scored 26 touchdowns; Howton counted five; Paul Hornung, Don McIlhenny and Bart Starr three each; Fred Cone, Gary Knafelc, Babe Parilli and Howie Ferguson two each; and Al Carmichael, Bobby Dillon, Max McGee and Johnson one each.
ADD TOM BETTIS TO PACKER SURGERY LIST
DEC 20 (Green Bay) - Add one more surgery case to the Packers' 1957 season: Linebacker Tom Bettis, who suffered a complete tear of the knee ligaments in the early minutes of the San Francisco game, went under the knife at St. Vincent Hospital Thursday to correct the injury and prevent a reoccurrence. Bettis is the second '57 veteran to experience surgery, although Tom missed only the last three quarters (plus) of the season. After the third league game, end Gary Knafelc suffered a knee lock and had to go through "unlocking" surgery, knocking him out for the season. Both athletes will be as good as new next year, Coach Liz Blackbourn said today. So will be the club's four broken-bone cases - Joe Skibinski, Ron Kramer, Nate Borden and Sam Palumbo, and the two players who suffered major ankle sprains, Paul Hornung and Billy Kinard. Bettis actually stayed in the game for six or seven plays after hurting his knee...HAD MUD CLEATS ON: "I had my mud cleats on but it wasn't as muddy as I thought it would be, and they got stuck in the ground when I tackled Perry and got blocked from the side at the same time," Bettis explained later, adding: "Maybe I should have come out right away but it didn't hurt so much at the time. I had planned to change my clears the first chance I got." It rained all morning in San Francisco, and, although the Kezar Stadium field was covered, the turf appeared to be wet. Actually, it was quite dry except for the surface. Incidentally, the field is worn of grass except for the near sidelines and inside the 20s - as you'll note during the TV of the 49er-Lion game Sunday. Several high school teams in the Bay area use Kezar for their home games...Coach Liz Blackbourn, sporting a cold, left for Florida today and a chance to recuperate from six months of tension - the 1957 season, that is, and take in three bowl games. Liz will view the North-South Shrine game, the Orange Bowl, and the annual Senior Bowl battle. He also will watch the practice sessions of the North, South and Senior teams - a good opportunity to watch potential pros. The Packers will have "eyes" on all of the other bowl games, including Earl Klapstein on the East-West and Rose Bowl games; Bobby Dillon on the Cotton Bowl; and Stretch Elliott on the Sun Bowl. Assistant Coach Jack Morton will take in the Blue-Grey game later. Special scouts will watch the other games for the Bays, giving Assistant Coaches Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus their first chance in a long time to spend Christmas at home with their families. Talent Scout Jack Vainisi is now compiling date for the second phase of the draft - in Philadelphia Jan. 28. After the earlier draft last Dec. 2, he visited four of the five picks - Dan Currie at Michigan State, Ray Nitschke at Illinois, Jim Taylor at Louisiana State and Dick Christie at North Carolina State. The fifth player, Jerry Kramer of Idaho, was a guest of the Packers at their game in San Francisco last weekend. Kramer remained there to start training with the West team in the East-West game.
PACK GETS FIRST CHOICE IF CARDS BEAT STEELERS
DEC 21 (Green Bay) - If the Cardinals beat the Steelers Sunday, the Packers will get clear title to the first choice at the Jan. 28 draft in Philadelphia. Such a turn of events would give the Cards 4-8 and make the Packers' 3-9 the lowest percentage (.250) in the league. If the Steelers win, the Packers and Cards then would be tied for "last" and would be required to flip a coin for the first draft pick. In addition, if the Cards win, the Packers would bottom the entire league for the first time in their history. The Bays have had a few poor records since '48 but there was always one or two worse. In '48, for example, the Bays had 3-9 while Detroit (even the Lions were awful once) posted 2-10. Green Bay came in with 2-10 in '49, while the New York Bulldogs, with Bobby Layne, scored 1-10-1. In '50, the Baltimores showed 1-11 under the Pack's 3-9, while the following year Green Bay repeated its 3-9 against the New York Yanks' 1-9-2. After 6-6 in '52, the Pack skidded to 2-9-1 in '53, but the Chicago Cardinals were worse with 1-10-1. Two clubs finished worse than the Packers' 4-8 in '54, while the Bays posted 6-6 in '55. A year ago, Philadelphia had 3-8-1 against Green Bay's 4-8...The Bears scored 363 points and posted a 9-2-1 record a year ago. They skidded to 5-7 and 203 points in 1957. The Bruins were known as the offensive marvels of the league a year ago. Yet, the Packers actually outscored 'em last fall, with 218 marks - 15 more than the Bears. The Bays, however, dropped off some of their point production this season. Their total a year ago was 264. The Bay defense tightened up a wee bit. The Pack allowed 342 points in '56 against 311 in '57...The Packers had a most amazing third quarter record this season. They scored only seven points in that period all season, that total coming on Don McIlhenny's 40-yard run and Fred Cone's point kick against the New York Giants here. The Packer foes, meanwhile, scored 84 marks in the third frame. Here's the Bays' composite scoring by quarters for the year:
GREEN BAY - 30 99 7 82 - 218
OPPONENTS - 72 61 84 94 - 311
The Packers scored 129 points in the first halves of their 12 league games and only 89 in the second halves. Since the Bays scored 24 points in the last period to defeat Baltimore Oct. 24, they have had terrible trouble trying to score in the second half. Here's what they counted in the second halves of the seven games after that Baltimore test: Seven points on New York (third quarter, lost game 31-17); none on Bears (lost game 21-14); six on Steelers (won game 27-10); none on Detroit (lost game 18-6); 14 on Rams (lost game 42-17); none on 49ers (lost game 27-20). Thus, the Bays were shut out in the second halves of four of their last seven games and scored 27 in the last halves of the other three...Here's a tip: The Lions will whip the 49ers Sunday. Final Score: Lions 38, 49ers 17.
PACKERS HAVE A RISING 'STARR'
DEC 22 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - There's a Starr in Green Bay tonight, a Starr among the oft-whipped Packers who played his heart out for a losing cause. He's from "you-all" land, this Bart Starr, a soft spoken southern lad who had to fill the shoes of one of the best quarterbacks in pro football, Tobin Rote. He had the confidence of his coach. He gained the confidence of his teammates with an every improving performance. And he will gain the respect of the fans, because this Starr is rising. Another Rote? He could become even better. Take this season, for example, his first real crack at the toughest football job ever. Quarterbacking a cellar-dweller, he ranked ninth among the best passers ever assembled. His first grade teacher, Rote, who joined a champion, ranks 13th going into Sunday's playoff battle. This doesn't mean that Starr is a better player today than Rote is - far from it. Rote has the savvy, the know-how which is gained from being in the big time for eight years. But it does mean that Starr potentially could become a great one, the kind Coach Liz Blackbourn needs to mold a winning team. Starr is a student of the game, and an ever improving one...ALABAMA STAR: Here is a gridder who went unnoticed through 16 rounds of the 1956 draft. Nobody wanted him despite being tabbed as the best passer in Alabama history. He came to Green Bay for insurance purposes. With a veteran like Rote in the saddle, Starr rode the bench. But he learned a lot from the sidelines and when the few times for action came, he rose to the occasion. The 6-1, 200 pound newcomer completed 24 out of 44 passes that first year for a 54.5 completion average. This season Starr attempted 215 passes. He completed 117 for 1,489 yards, a 6.9 yard average and a 54.4 completion average. Only five passers in the league had a better completion average...LOOKS TO NEXT YEAR: Bart wants to come back next year and trigger a winner. With a rough baptismal year under his belt, we believe he can, providing he gets the other ingredients necessary to spring a free scoring offense - a hard nosed line and a super-charged running attack. If the Packers had elected a most valuable player, there would be little question that it would be Starr this season. He's that well liked. The Bays didn't want to vote on anything, not after the season they had. But keep the name Starr in mind - the Packers are bound to rise with this one.
RESIGNATION OF BODGA REFUSED BY PACKER GROUP
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - The executive committee of the Green Bay Packers this noon refused to accept the resignation of Pres. Russell W. Bogda of the Packer corporation. The committee, meeting at the Hotel Northland, elected Dominic Olejniczak as executive vice president to serve until the annual meeting of the corporation in March. Bogda had submitted his resignation last week for reasons of health.
DILLON RATES HIGH IN ALL-PRO VOTING
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Bobby Dillon, the Packers' sticky-fingered defensive specialist, was one of right players to receive 20 or more votes in the balloting for the United Press all-pro offensive and defensive teams. Dillon won 20 votes to make the first defensive unit as a safetyman with Jack Christiansen of Detroit who polled 19 votes. Billy Howton was the only other Packer to make the first team, the veteran pass catcher scoring 17 votes, to win one of the two offensive end positions with San Francisco's Billy Wilson, who received 25 votes. Center Jim Ringo was the only Packer to make the second team and linebacker Bill Forester was the only Packer to receive honorable mention. Jim Brown, rookie fullback for the Cleveland Browns, and Gino Marchetti, veteran Baltimore Colt end, led the voting. Brown, winner of the rushing title with 942 yards in 12 games, received 27 votes for fullback and two for halfback. He collected 29 of a possible 31 votes and became the first rookie ever to lead the balloting for the mythical two-platoon team. Marchetti, who charged into rival backfields so savagely this year that some teams assigned as many as three men to try to block him, received 28 votes. It was just Sunday afternoon fun for Marchetti, a 240-pounder, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge when he was 18. While Brown and Marchetti earned berths by huge margins, Y.A. Tittle of the San Francisco Forty-Niners won the closest race when he edged John Unitas of Baltimore by one vote for the quarterback post. Tittle received 13 votes and Unitas 12. Tittle was one of four Forty-Niners who won first team berths. End Billy Wilson made the offensive unit while tackle Leo Nomellini and linebacker Marv Matuszak made the defensive platoon...LIONS PLACE THIRD: The Detroit Lions and New York Giants each placed three players. Linebacker Joe Schmidt, halfback Yale Lary and safetyman Jack Christiansen won defensive positions. Tackle Roosevelt Brown and halfback Frank Gifford of the Giants made the offensive team while teammate Andy Robustelli won the other defensive end berth. Cleveland, Baltimore, the Chicago Bears and Packers each filled two positions. Besides Jim Brown, Lou Groza of the Browns won an offensive tackle berth, while tackle Art Donovan of the Colts joined Marchetti on the defensive platoon. Center George Strickland and linebacker Bill George of the Bears won berths along with Howton and Dillon. Guard Dick Stanfel of the Washington Redskins and Duane Putnam of the Los Angeles Rams and halfback Ollie Matson of the Chicago Cardinals completed the offensive unit. Jack Butler of the Pittsburgh Steelers won the other defensive halfback post.
LITTLE JOHNNY A MAN! HEARDEN BACK TO WORK
DEC 24 (Green Bay) - This is the day before Christmas. Let's open a few heart-warming packages: How about that John Symank, the Packers' littlest roughneck. He represents "footsteps" enemy pass catchers don't like to hear because he hurts when he hits. "My Johnny plays so hard," his mother, Mrs. Ann Symank, was telling between the Ram and 49er games on the west coast recently, "but that's the way he does everything. He's really a man, I'll tell you that. He's been a man since he was six. His father died when he was six and when we left the cemetery he took me by the hand and said, 'Mother, from now on I'm going to be the man of the house.' I raised him ever since and I never married. And he was a real man all the way. He was just 10 or 11 when he started to handle the payment of bills for me while I worked. My Johnny is a real gentleman. He respects all of his elders and he thinks all the world of that Bobby Dillon. He says, 'I don't know what I'd do without him.' Do you know that Johnny could have been an undertaker right now if he had wanted to? He was just in high school when he worked at a funeral parlor (in Caldwell, Tex.) and they wanted him to stay on because he had no trouble learning how to embalm. It's been so much fun watching him grow up. And now he's married to a wonderful girl, and I'll be a grandmother soon." Were you worried when John was kayoed during the 49er game? "I was scared to death at first, but we put the glasses on him and I felt better when the trainer gave him smelling salts. I knew it wasn't serious then. But he sure was wobbly for awhile. He knocked his head on the ground," Mrs. Symank said...Tom Hearden is back at work, so to speak, and that's just a wonderful Christmas present at the Hearden residence, 722 Emilie St. The Packer
defensive expert, who suffered a stroke last May, is working on a flock of material Coach Liz Blackbourn sent over last week. Tom is breaking in easy like, viewing and cataloguing plays. It's a gradual process, but it's a start and Tom is confident of increasing the workload. Hearden's speech has improved considerably and he has learned to write with his left hand - "good enough to draw out plays," Mrs. Hearden said. Loss of Hearden was a severe blow to the Packers and Blackbourn, who was hoping, when Tom returned last winter, that he could "just turn that defense over to Tom and
forget it." Tom handled the Bay defense in 1954-55 and then went to the University of Wisconsin in '56 before returning to Green Bay a year ago. The Heardens have been flooded with Christmas cards and holiday "get well" notes, and "we just simply can't answer all of them," Mrs. Hearden said, adding: "We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been so kind."...And wasn't it great to see Tobin Rote come through for the Detroit Lions. The big Texan played some 125 games, including exhibitions, with the Packers in seven games, and always gave it 100 percent. He took a lot of punishment along the way and, ironically, seemed to bloody up the most against the Lions. Rote and the Packers never bettered 6-6 (twice) but his success Sunday seemed like sort of a reward for Tobin for experience learned the hard way. It would be nice if he could bow out of pro football as a league champion since this is his final year. Maybe the men that the Packers obtained from the Lions in exchange for Rote (Jim Salsbury, Don McIlhenny, Norm Masters and Ollie Spencer) will help make champions out of the Packers. We have a hunch Rote would like to see that happen!
OLEJNICZAK ELEVATED TO NEW PACKER JOB
DEC 24 (Green Bay) - Dominic Olejniczak, former mayor of Green Bay and one of two vice-presidents of the Green Bay Packers, was elected executive vice-president at a meeting of the club's Board of Directors here Monday. Olejniczak will serve until the annual meeting of stockholders in March. He will act for President Russ Bogda who resigned a week ago because of ill health but whose resignation the executive committee at Monday's meeting refused to accept. A new Board of Directors, executive committee and officers will be elected in March. Monday's meeting, first of the Board of Directors and then of the executive committee, also produced these new developments in the strife torn football corporation: 1. An offer by Curly Lambeau, who founded the Packers in 1919 and resigned as coach under fire in 1949, to help in any way he can to resolve differences which have recently split the executive committee. Lambeau's feelings were made known to the executive committee. Rumors began to fly at once that Lambeau, who is in Green Bay for the holidays, might be the real dark horse in the fight for the permanent club presidency in March. Or the general managership in the very widening circle of internal controversy. Or the presidency and general managership both. Lambeau, who has lived in California for the last 15 years, bought a house in nearby Fish Creek a year ago and proposed to move back here. Verne Lewellen is the present General Manager. 2. A call for a meeting of the Board of Directors January 6 to review the entire coaching situation and determine what to do about Coach Liz Blackbourn and his assistants. The coaching staff has been under fire in some quarters for the poor showing in the season just closed. At least one member of the executive committee is already known to have approached several possible successors. Blackbourn, whose ironclad contract has one more year to go, is in Florida. 3. Appointment of a committee of eight by Acting President Olejniczak to consider the feasibility of playing at least four league games here next season, leaving only two for Milwaukee and to recommend a long range schedule policy. Milwaukee support has not been good. Green Bay this year opened a new 32,000 seat stadium here. Whether Olejniczak was actually elected vice-president or came to the job by parliamentary maneuvering was not quite clear. The club announcement said he was elected. One member of the split executive committee, however, declared that Lee Joannes, second of the vice-presidents, resigned to leave the ascension of Olejniczak as a normal formality. Joannes has been a strong supporter of Olejniczak for the permanent presidency. Twenty-nine of the 45 members of the Board of Directors and 10 of the 13 members of the executive committee attended the meetings.
PACKER OPERATIONS ANGER GOLDENBERG
DEC 24 (Green Bay) - Buckets Goldenberg, former Green Bay Packer great and a member of the club's Board of Directors, said Monday night he would protest to the club's stockholders at their annual meeting in March the methods by which a small clique of Green Bay old-timers maintain their control. "We're a bunch of strangers down here," he said, referring to Milwaukee directors. "We're window dressing for what they like to say is a Wisconsin operation, and which should be for the good of the club, but which is strictly Green Bay." Goldenberg was disturbed about the official approach to Monday's Board of Directors meeting in Green Bay. He said he had received the notice of the meeting in an unsigned letter Friday, had arranged to go up with several Milwaukee directors, but then was told in a telephone conference with acting President Dominic Olejniczak Sunday night that it wouldn't be necessary. "The whole thing was unbusinesslike and contradictory," he said. "We should have been up there and it wasn't entirely our fault that we weren't." Goldenberg has been a vocal critic of Packer management. At the San Francisco game here six weeks ago, he and Lee Joannes, vice-president of the club, got into a shouting argument in the stands.
It all added up to his finest hour in professional football. Rote, traded from Green Bay to Detroit last July for four players, had the well wishes of Packerland for his championship effort Sunday. "Got a big wire from Green Bay with 35 names on it," Rote said bedding down in the Sheraton-Cadillack Hotel Saturday night, "and it makes me feel real good. I got a nice letter from Bart, and he'll be pulling hard, too." Rote hit the sack that night feeling completely relaxed because as a he put it, "I know how everybody feels about me back there." In the wild excitement of the Lions' noisy dressing room after the game, Rote said he was "completely relaxed," explaining for the benefit of a horde of writers around the league: "I must have had 10 cups of coffee before the San Francisco game (Western Division playoff) and I couldn't relax until it was nearly too late. This time it was different. I just wanted to play a good game and the winning or losing didn't make so much difference. We just felt like playing football today - all the way." This was excitement and admiration that Rote never experienced before. And, of course, it represented one of sports' great switches - a loser to a champion in just about an even six months to the week he was traded. Three spaces away from Rote's dressing stall sat Bobby Layne with his arms around his two young sons. Layne, the backbone of the Lions' offense for years who broke his leg four games ago, said "my friend from Texas was simply great," indicating what he thought of Rote's showing. But it was a new experience for both Layne and Rote, who together represent a quarterback investment of more than $40,000. And they wore their new boots well! Rote said he thought there were a "lot of turning points and I guess it depends how you look at it. I was that faked field goal or the long one." On the fake, Rote, down to hold the ball for Jim Martin's "boot" from the 33, ran toward his right and threw a touchdown pass to Steve Junker, making the score 24 to 7. The "long one" was named by Brown Coach Paul Brown as "the one that broke our backs." The Browns had just made it 31 to 14 and "we felt that we had a chance then," when Rote uncorked a 78-yard aerial strike to Jim Doran on the Lion's first play after the Browns scored to start the second half. Rote flamed in the last half. He threw five passes and completed all of them - three for touchdowns on pitches of 78, 23 and 32 yards. And when he was called out of action in the fourth quarter, he received a tremendous ovation. Rote said, "we decided against kicking a field goal on the fake. The bench sent in a field goal but we decided in the huddle to go for the touchdown. I could have run - it was set up that way, but Steve was open." The Browns played it as a run - probably too much so because the linebackers shot in quickly figuring Rote was sure to run. Steve Junker broke behind Galen Fiss, who seemed to be going the other way, and Rote just lobbed the ball to him. Both Rote and Lion Coach George Wilson were in agreement after the game that the faked field goal was the right play to call. In fact, Wilson said, "It was the key play of the game; it kept us going." Big Aldo Forte, the Lions' line coach who played a season with the Packers back in the 1940's, said the faked field goal play "was put in Friday." And speaking about ex-Packers that Roger Zatkoff had himself a special time whooping it up after the game. "That back of mine, look it's all taped up - it's been hurting me, but I've got no pain now." Zatkoff played the outside position on the right side of the defensive line most of the afternoon - similar to defensive end. This was a pretty good pay season for Tobin and Roger. They got an extra game's salary for the playoff in San Francisco a week ago and the loot from yesterday's triumph was over $4,200 per man. And what about next year? Saturday night, Rote said he wasn't sure "but a lot will depend on what happens Sunday. If we win, that All Star game next year will mean an extra game’s pay.” During the hilarity of the dressing room, the ’58 question wasn’t popped. But out in the cold corridor under Briggs Stadium and racing toward the crowded entrance to the Lions quarters was “the little woman” – Betsy Rote. Is Tobin going to play next year? “I guess that’s up to him now – after today,” Betsy beamed, thoughtfully. And she had another thought. “Everything worked out so well but we’d much rather have been a part of this same thing in Green Bay. Wouldn’t that have been wonderful?” And how, Betsy. The Rotes weren’t staying around long. They were to fly out of here last night for Honolulu where Tobin will play in the Hula Bowl game Jan. 5. He’ll set up the offense for one of the teams and do the quarterbacking. The Browns’ headquarters were pretty quiet – expect for a dozen writers huddled around Brown. But Paul had the situation well in hand as he machine-gunned his answers all over the practice. “We clinched the Eastern championship Dec. 8 and hardly could maintain a sharp competitive edge for this game during that time,” he said in answer to a question, adding: “Being off last Sunday must have hurt us. We just didn’t have that sharpness, that ability to fall back and fire away.” Brown was high in his praise of the Lions and observed, also, that “you have to admit that the ball was rolling for Detroit.” And nobody denied that, including the Lions who admitted that they had all of the breaks. This was one of the three worst beatings Brown had absorbed (he lost to the 49ers 56-28 in the old All-America Conference and 55 to 27 to Pittsburgh two years ago) but the astute mentor said he told his players to “pass it off as one of the oddities of the game; an experience.” The other two lopsided losses were in league play. Despite the loss, the Browns gave you that well-drilled soldier look right down to the bitter end. But maybe the jig was up for the Eastern Division – a point that Brown didn’t find funny when it was brought up. The Eastern representatives outscored the Westerns, 141 to 31, in the last three championship games, the Browns whipping the Lions 56 to 10 in ’54 and the Los Angeles a year later 38 to 14, and the Giants belting the Bears last December 47 to 7. Whether the jig was up or not, the Lions looked awfully powerful Sunday – and the big strong man of Detroit’s greatest hour was a guy who learned to pro in Green Bay – Texas Tobin!
IT'S A MIRACLE THAT JERRY KRAMER'S EVEN ALIVE
DEC 26 (Moscow, ID) - No matter what happens to Jerry Kramer in the East-West Shrine football game at San Francisco Saturday he's had it worse. Jerry is a guard from Idaho. He is 22, stands 6-3, weighs 235. The Packers have drafted him. That he's even alive is something of a miracle. When he was a freshman in high school at Sandpoint, Idaho, Jerry backed into a lathe in manual arts class. It tore the heavy muscle in one hip. Next he was banged up in an automobile accident. Then his shotgun exploded while he was hunting. It destroyed half the muscles in his right forearm, fractured both bones, crushed the ulnar nerve in his wrist. Some of the pellets penetrated his liver. Kramer went through weeks of plastic surgery and skin grafts. He still was yielding shotgun pellets 18 months later. But five months after the accident he set a new shotput record at the Idaho High School track meet with his patched up arm. The record still stands. Just before the start of football practice in his senior year at Sandpoint, Jerry was chasing a calf on the family farm. The calf stepped hard on a board and shattered it. A lance-shaped splinter shot through Jerry's abdomen and stuck out his back between two vertebrae. Doctors cut the splinter in two and pulled the pieces out front and back. Two weeks later, Jerry was out for football practice. He came through his college football career practically unscathed - only a slight knee injury in his final game for Idaho. Jerry still can't use the little finger on his right hand and the second finger is about half effective - as the result of the shotgun accident which nearly killed him. Poor circulation causes extreme pain in the hand and arm when it is cold and much Idaho football is played in the cold. Skip Stanley, Idaho, calls him one of the best guards he has ever seen, both on offense and defense. He also kicks placements. After his date in the Shrine game at San Francisco, Kramer will go to Mobile, Ala., for the North-South Senior Bowl January 11. He's the only Idaho player ever selected for that one.
'ENGAGEMENT' PUBLICITY GAG, HORNUNG SAYS
DEC 26 (Louisville) - Former Notre Dame football star Paul Hornung denied today he had sent an engagement ring inside a football to television actress Pat Mowry. Reports of his engagement were termed by Hornung, now playing with the professional Green Bay Packers, as a publicity gag. "You know how Hollywood is," said Hornung at his home here today. "I laughed when I saw it in the papers. I don't have any marriage plans at the present." Hornung said, "When I do get married I'm not going to send my ring in a football." He called the report ridiculous, adding that he had three dates with Miss Mowry, but "nothing serious. We are just mutual friends." Miss Mowry said Wednesday at Los Angeles the football and the ring were mailed from Hornung's home. She said they had no immediate marriage plans because he is to report soon for induction in the armed forces. Hornung said he will enter the Army January 26 for a 6-month tour of duty and then return to the Packers.
PACKER SIGN FIVE PLAYERS SELECTED RECENTLY IN DRAFT
DEC 26 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers took a major step in their rebuilding for the 1958 football season by signing all five collegians picked in the recent NFL draft. They include in the order of their choice: Dan Currie of Michigan State, Jim Taylor of Louisiana State, Dick Christy of North Carolina State, Ray Nitschke of Illinois and Jerry Kramer of Idaho. Christy, a halfback was signed immediately after the draft in Philadelphia December 2. Kramer, a guard, was signed on the club's recent visit to the West Coast to conclude its season. Currie, a center or guard; Taylor, a halfback, and Nitschke, a fullback, were signed later. The Packers got five choices in the first four rounds of the draft because they had New York's third round choice obtained in the Martinkovic deal. The pick in this instance was Nitschke. Purpose of the early rounds of the draft is to thwart Canadian clubs in the fight for athletes. It was instituted three years ago. The last 26 rounds of the draft will be held in Philadelphia in late January.
PACKERS SIGN DICK CHRISTY; NEW TOE?
DEC 28 (Green Bay) - All-American Dick Christy, the hard-nosed 190-pound record breaker from North Carolina State who officially joined Green Bay's NFL entry today, could become the Packers' new "toe" in 1958. Christy, the stubby Chester, Pa., native who led State's Wolfpack to a 7-1-2 record and the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, is the first '58 Packer draft choice to be announced signed. Dick, who broke seven Wolfpack records and rolled up 83 points to lead the ACC in scoring, was the Packers' third choice in he NFL's recent preliminary draft. Officially, signatures are still awaited from No. 1 pick Dan Currie of Michigan State; Louisiana State's Jim Taylor, the No. 2 pick; Ray Nitschke, Illinois fullback-linebacker who came as the Giants' No. 3 choice in a trade for John Martinkovic; and Jerry Kramer, College of Idaho, a guard, No. 4. Christy could be the man Head Coach Liz Blackbourn is seeking as a successor to placement specialist Fred Cone, who recently announced his retirement after seven years as the Packers' "top kick". Dick, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 190-pound dynamo who shared most valuable player honors with Michigan State's Jim Ninowski in the North-South game at Miami Christmas Day, kicked a 47-yard field goal on the last play of the game when he established an Atlantic Coast Conference single game scoring record by accounting for all 29 points as State shredded archrival South Carolina, 29-26. Among his other State records (that 29-point burst also set a Wolfpack standard) are most points in a season, 83; most touchdowns in a game, 4; most touchdowns in a three-year career, 20; most points in a career, 127; most yards rushing in a career, 1,817. Dick, who missed by just six yards the school's single season rushing mark of 634 yards held by Alex Webster of the New York Giants, carried the ball 348 times during his varsity career and averaged a handsome 5.2 per try. He also led the ACC in kickoff returns with a 45.4 average. Called by State coach Earle Edwards "the greatest all-around back I've ever seen," Christy was honored as the ACC's player of the year and the only unanimous choice of 78 newspaper, radio and television writers, announcers and college sports publicity men who voted for the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Assn., all-star team. Christy also was the first player selected for the South team this year and he didn't take the honor lightly, as the North can attest. He broke through the line for 62 yards and a touchdown in the third period, carried back a punt 57 yards in the final quarter for another score, ran back another punt 47 yards with 2:15 left in the game, then caught a 23-yard pass with just 15 seconds left and raced to the North two as the game ended. So brilliant was Christy's performance that one Miami newspaper was moved to wax lyrical in its headline: "A Merry Christy to the Green Bay Packers." Dick, who North Carolina coach Jim Tatum said "could make any backfield in the nation," will participate in the Senior Bowl at Mobile, Ala., Jan. 11, along with five other Packer draftees - Currie, Taylor, Nitschke, Kramer and Baylor's Clyde Ledbetter. The latter was the Packers' No. 20 choice in the 1956 draft as a sophomore.
ROTE PITCHES HIS ANSWER: ESCORTS LIONS TO NFL TITLE
DEC 30 (Detroit) - We've all wondered somewhere somewhere during the Tobin Rote-Packer period (1950-56) what he'd do with a winning team. You have your answer today - several of them, such as: Detroit's 59-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns in Briggs Stadium Sunday; four touchdown passes; 12 completions in 19 pass attempts for 280 yards; 27 yards rushing; and the first of eight Lion touchdowns.