Monday, September 23, 2013

Have a Coke (or a Smoke) and a Smile [UPDATED]

This photo has been making the rounds a lot lately.

Press-Gazette Archives
And no wonder - it's a beauty.

Vince Lombardi enjoying a Coke in the locker room, surrounded by Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung and Bart Starr. Taylor, like his coach, is enjoying a Coke. Hornung has a cigarette and Starr a rather uncomfortable facial expression.

I don't know when it was taken. Speculation has been that it was after a championship game, and Lombardi's expression certainly leans in that direction.

The uniforms can help narrow our timeframe; the green/white/gold pant stripes were only used through 1962. In 1963 the Packers adopted the green/white/green Braisher stripe pattern they still wear today.

Similarly, that jewelry on Lombardi's finger looks like a men's fashion ring than the Packers' 1961 World Championship ring. That could help us narrow it down even further - perhaps even to that 1961 Championship Game itself.

If we could see more of Hornung's number font, maybe we could know for sure.

UPDATE 9/26:  We have confirmation - Tom Farley recognized the locker room as County Stadium. Jeff Ash from the Green Bay Press-Gazette recognized the photo as one of theirs, and was able to supply us with this caption:
In the locker room at County Stadium after clinching Western Division championship with a 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on Dec. 3, 1961.
Jeff comes through again! I have added a photo credit to the image above.

I'm glad that our little detective work had us on the right track. I had the year right, and it was a victory party of sorts, just not the one I thought it might be. This was Week 12 out of a 14-game season, when the Packers clinched their conference.

Looking at the Milwaukee Journal's coverage of the game, we get a couple good shots of the game itself, including a photo of the Packers wearing the blue-and-gold sideline capes left over from previous years:

And there, along the right margin, is a photo of Jim Taylor. Note the distinctive cuts on his nose, matching our original post-game photo (although it does appear that his dentist was given new work to do between the two).

Taylor looks pretty pleased with himself, and rightly so; his 186-yard rushing performance against the New York Giants that day was a Packers team record, and remained his career best.

The only thing I love more than a good mystery is a good mystery solved.


Tom Farley said...

Chance, that's the County Stadium locker room. The stalls there jutted out more so than those in the locker room at City Stadium/Lambeau Field.

I'm pretty sure, but not certain, that this is from Dec. 3, 1961, the day the Packers clinched the Western Conference title by beating the Giants at County Stadium.

Chance Michaels said...

Tom, you are absolutely right. Good eye!

Nathan Schultz said...

Is Taylor wearing any pants in this pic?