Saturday, August 15, 2015

1950 Exhibition Program; The Day Curly Came to Town

Heritage Auctions has an interesting artifact up for auction; the program from an exhibition game played at City Stadium in Green Bay on Wednesday, August 16th, 1950.

The Packers were hosting the Chicago Cardinals, and what's interesting about this game is not the revelation to our younger readers that the Arizona Cardinals used to play in Chicago but the identity of the Cardinals' coach: Packers founder Curly Lambeau.

There he is, right on the cover. As strange as it seems to us now, it must have been doubly strange back then. Curly had coached the Packers since their inception thirty years earlier until January 31, 1950, when he abruptly quit to take the Chicago job. Now, less than seven months later, he was back for the first time, standing on the wrong sideline.

This was a game of many firsts: Curly's first return, and new coach Gene Ronzani's first home game since taking over from him. But for the fans, there were also some holdovers from the previous administration, including most of the squad (most notably Tony Canadeo) and the uniforms they were wearing.

For that August exhibition, Ronzani dressed his men in the navy jerseys, gold pants and gold helmets of the 1949 season, as seen in the Milwaukee Journal's coverage of the game. Curly had introduced the solid navys as an alternate to his gold-yoked jerseys.

I love the headline: "Packers Beat 'Lambeau'".

Although Ronzani's troops were dressed in Lambeau finery for that game, that would quickly change. Ronzani was quoted as saying "We are the Green Bay Packers" and would soon set about proving it, with green jerseys over green pants.

Proxy bidding on this program ends tomorrow, August 16th, at 10:00 pm CDT. Get those bids in now!

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