Packers in Oral Histories

I recently did a post on the wealth of oral histories concerning Vince Lombardi, but there have been several oral history books on NFL players over the years and usually Packers have figured prominently in them.

The first was Bob Curran’s Pro Football’s Rag Days (Bonanza Books, 1969). Curran’s book is the exception here in that not only did he not interview any former Packers, the team is almost never mentioned in its pages. It’s still an interesting title, but not for Packer research.

Myron Cope came out with The Game That Was (Crowell, 1970) a year later. Cope has interviews with Johnny Blood, Clarke Hinkle and Don Hutson, while Dutch Clark discusses the 1931 Packers and Art Rooney recalls Johnny Blood.

1929cjblood4flags  1948lchinkle  1948ldhutson

Richard Whittingham’s What a Game They Played (Harper & Row, 1984) features interviews with Blood, Hinkle and Hutson as well as Tony Canadeo. In addition, Glenn Pressnell talks about playing the 1930’s Packers and Alex Wojciechowicz and Jim Benton remember Don Hutson.

1948ltcanedeo

Stuart Leuthner’s Iron Men (Doubleday, 1988) only talks with Jim Ringo, but it’s a very good interview.

1962fjringo2

Bob Carroll’s When the Grass Was Real (Simon & Schuster, 1992) combines a narrative and oral histories to chronicle the decade of the 1960s. He includes interviews with Willie Davis, Jim Taylor and Forrest Gregg, but the whole book is a feast on the Lombardi Era.

1965tswdavis3  1963ffgregg  1966tjtaylor

Andy Piascik focused on African- American pioneers in Gridiron Gauntlet (Taylor Trade, 2009). He has a nice interview with Bob Mann, the Packers’ first black player, while Bobby Watkins remembers Curly Lambeau from the College All-Star Game.

1953bbmann

Most recently, Jackson Michael came out with The Game Before the Money (University of Nebraska, 2014) that features a host of lesser known players in its mix. Packer interviews were Nolan Luhn, Bob Skoronski, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Carroll Dale. Also, Sonny Jurgensen discusses Lombardi and Don Maynard mentions college teammate Jesse Whittenton.

1948lnluhn  1967tbskoronski  1964tbstarr2  1970kcdale

1959bphornung2

All pre-1959 custom cards are colorized.

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