Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happiness is a (Green and Gold) Blanket

Green Bay Press-Gazette digital content editor (and friend of the blog) Jeff Ash sends us this amazing photo:

Green Bay Press-Gazette Archives

From 1951...

Former Green Bay Packers players receive blankets for their selection to the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame for college football players. From left are Don Hutson, Charley Brock, Cub Buck accepting for Cal Hubbard, R.E. Lambeau accepting for Curly Lambeau, Johnny "Blood" McNally and Arnie Herber. This was during halftime of the Packers’ 31-28 loss to the New York Yanks at old City Stadium on Dec. 2, 1951.

I’ve enclosed a close-up of Herber and his blanket so you can see details. Each player’s years of service with the Packers are in the football at center. Their uniform number is at lower right with their name just above it.
Green Bay Press-Gazette Archives

Outstanding. "R.E. Lambeau" is Curly's brother Raymond; Curly was in his last year of coaching the Chicago Cardinals at the time, and unable to attend even if he wasn't still harboring hard feelings over his departure two years earlier. Charley Brock is holding Clarke Hinkle's blanket, obviously accepting on his old teammate's behalf as Buck was for Hubbard.

We've seen team-issued blankets before; one issued to Forrest Gregg in 1959 and a blue-and-gold 1926 team blanket now residing in the Packers Hall of Fame.

This was the annual "homecoming" game for the Packers, and a very special one. In addition to commemorating the induction of six former Packers into the Helms College Hall of Fame (the above five plus Clarke Hinkle, who was also unable to attend), the Packers retired their first-ever jersey number.

Don Hutson's famous #14 was retired in the same halftime ceremony that saw the former Packers receive their blankets.

This was a relatively new honor for professional athletes; on that day in 1951, only four baseball players had seen their numbers retired (Lou Gehrig, Carl Hubbell, Babe Ruth and Mel Ott). The Chicago Bears had retired the numbers of Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski and Bill Hewett in December 1949, forcing the Packers to play catch-up.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if any of these blankets have survived to this day?

Jenny Saunder said...

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Jenny Saunder said...

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