Running back Bill Butler played for Green Bay for only one season, but items he has held onto from that year will have an outsized effect on the team's physical archives.
Ex-Packers player donates rare Lombardi-era team apparelThat is absolutely amazing. And in outstanding condition, for having been "hanging in (his) closet for 55 years".
Written by Adam Rodewald Press-Gazette Media
Apr. 30, 2014
A retired Green Bay Packers player has given his rare Vince Lombardi-era team blazer and basketball uniform to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame archives.
Bill Butler talks Tuesday about the donation of his 1959 Packers basketball team uniform to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette MediaFormer running back Bill Butler said he was glad to see them put on display where others can enjoy them.
“Basically, this coat and this basketball uniform have been hanging in my closet for 55 years. Now I don’t have to move it anymore, and if I want I can come up here and see it,” he said. “I’m glad the Hall of Fame wants it, and I hope people enjoy it.”
The 1959 Green Bay Packers road game blazer, right, and the 1959 Packers basketball team uniform donated Tuesday by former player Bill Butler to the Packers Hall of Fame. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette MediaButler was a 19th-round draft pick by the Packers in 1959, Lombardi’s first year as coach and general manager.
The Berlin native led the Packers in kickoff and punt returns in 1959, and led the NFL with 635 combined return yards. He scored his only Packers touchdown on a 61-yard punt return in the fourth quarter of a 28-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field on Nov. 8, 1959.
That year, each Packers player and coach received a custom tailored jacket to be worn for team photos, media events and other occasions.
The 1959 Green Bay Packers road game blazer worn by former player Bill Butler. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette MediaButler received his Packers basketball uniform while playing for the traveling team in the offseason. The team raised money and awareness for local charities.
The 1959 Packers basketball team uniform worn by former player Bill Butler. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette MediaThe Green Bay Packers' basketball team in the winter of 1959-60. Top row, from left, Jack Morton, Dan Currie, Jim Temp, Bob Skoronski and Gary Knafelc. Bottom row, from left, Al Carmichael, Babe Parilli, Bill Butler, Tom Bettis and Lew Carpenter. Butler donated his basketball jersey and shorts to the Packers Hall of Fame on Tuesday. / Courtesy of Jim Temp“We’ve never before had one of these blazers from the 1950s. Needless to say, we’ve never had one of the basketball uniforms,” said Tom Murphy, archivist for the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, a nonprofit corporation independent from the team.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to get this donation (from Butler),” Murphy said.
Butler said he insisted the Hall of Fame take his apparel, and he didn’t need to think twice about giving it away.
“From the time I started (playing football) in fifth grade, I have all the clothing and written articles. I just have stacked it up over the years. I’m kind of a pack rat. And, after 55 years, I’m not going to miss it in my closet,” he said.
Butler, 76, coached football at Green Lake High School and retired in 2009 as the defensive coordinator at Ripon High School.
He played only one season for the Packers. He was chosen by Dallas in the 1960 NFL expansion draft and played that season for the Cowboys. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1961, the Minnesota Vikings from 1962 to 1964 and the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1965.
Butler’s donated apparel is on display at a temporary exhibit in the Neville Public Museum while the Lambeau Field Atrium undergoes renovations.
We've seen the travel blazer before, but never so good a view of the embroidery itself. A simple, sharp graphic.
And the basketball uniform? Outstanding. I wonder if they were known as the "Packer-derms" back in 1969.