Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Arts and Letter(head)s

This letter has been making the Packer blog rounds, having recently been posted on Scribd. Far be it from me to miss the party, so let's look at a 1944 Uniform Player's Contract between the Packers and a player named E.J. McGroraty:

This is the players' copy, signed only by Lambeau. The other would have been signed by McGroraty and returned to the Packers.

The document is an interesting look at the indentured servitude NFL players of the time lived under; my brother (who asked to be described as "a crackerjack attorney") got a huge kick out of parsing the language, noting that Section 9 eliminates any leverage a player might conceivably have. The real gem from our sports æsthetics perspective, however, is the accompanying cover letter:

A gorgeous example of 1940s team letterhead. I particularly love the graphic at the top, with the small figures rushing the line. The elegant script "Packers" is notable for its strong vertical "k", the quotation marks breaking the arc of the elegant script "P", and the way the foot of the "P" forms a football shape to enclose "THE".

Shame about the photocopy - I'd love to see this in a better resolution, not to mention in color.

Along the bottom of the page, you can just make out "Five Times World Champions." Just five months later the letterhead would be out of date, as the Big Bay Blues defeated the New York Giants in the 1944 Championship Game to claim Curly Lambeau's sixth and final title.

As for Mr. McGroraty, it appears that he never made it out of Training Camp. A search of the Packers' all time roster fails to turn up anyone by that name. But for one brief Training Camp (presuming he actually returned the contract), he was a member of the greatest pro football team in the world. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

UPDATED 1/25/2012:   We now have an example in color, re-used in 1950 by staff members engaged in the team's third stock drive:

Wisconsin Historical Society

1 comment:

sharon said...

I received a copy of the contract and letter for Ed McGroarty in my mailbox this morning at my home but have no clue who it came from. Is this something to hold onto since I am a Packer memorabilia collector or some fake thing. Would love feedback on this. If it's something to hold on to I will get it framed and display it in my home, but I'm at a loss.