Monday, October 26, 2015

Crazylegs at Marquette, 1952

Cliff Christl's column is always a good read. In the most recent installment, he takes a quick look at a largely-forgotten period in Packers' history. David from Sonoma, California writes in to say:
I fondly remember going to a game with my dad against the L.A. Rams in October 1954 – it was probably a birthday gift to me from my dad – that was played at Marquette Stadium. Can you tell me the final score and rosters?
Cliff's response is interesting in its own right, but also includes a picture of the game in question.

Associated Press
The Packers played their Milwaukee games at County Stadium for the first time in 1953. On Oct. 11, they lost to the Rams, 38-20. On Oct. 17, 1954, they beat the Rams at County Stadium, 35-17, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. The only year the Packers played at Marquette University’s stadium was 1952. On Oct. 12, they lost to the Rams, 30-28, in a game that will forever live in infamy in Packers history. In the last 12 minutes, the Rams scored 24 points and erased a 28-6 deficit. I’m taking my chances here that it’s more likely you remembered the site better than the year. If that’s so and you were there in ’52, you saw six future Pro Football Hall of Famers. Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin shared quarterback duties for the Rams. Elroy Hirsch and Tom Fears were their receivers. Andy Robustelli was a defensive end for the Rams. Tony Canadeo was in his final season with the Packers and rushed for 15 yards in seven carries. A few of the Packers produced some startling stats. Quarterback Tobin Rote passed for 214 yards and ran for 91 in 13 attempts. Billy Howton caught five passes for 156 yards, including a 70-yard TD. And Bobby Dillon held Hirsch without a catch. Gene Ronzani, in his third year as coach, concocted one of his exotic game plans and used Rote and Babe Parilli, his two quarterbacks, in the same backfield at times. No doubt, the P.A. announcer also had a field day with nicknames. The Rams’ roster not only included Crazylegs Hirsch, but also Paul “Tank” Younger, Deacon Dan Towler and Vitamin T. Smith. Attendance was 21,693. Packers Bob Forte and Ab Wimberly cried their eyes out as they walked off the field. Wish I could have tagged along with you and your dad if that was the game you were at. What memories to rekindle!
That must have been a very good-looking matchup, the Packers in their early 50s green and metallic gold and the Rams in their athletic gold jerseys. Certainly better than the gold-on-gold game Los Angeles fans got to see when the Packers played the rematch just ten weeks later.


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