Packers Top Rookie: 1923

rookies1923mbasing

Just four rookies played for the Packers in 1923, and three of them never again appeared in an NFL game after their brief tenures in Green Bay. Moreover, there was something a little odd or mysterious about the background of each of those three.

End Wes Leaper had attended the University of Wisconsin and actually played for the Packers in both 1919 and 1920, before the independent team joined the fledgling NFL in 1921. He appeared in just two games in 1923.

Back Hal Hansen is one of three Hal Hansen’s from the University of Minnesota from that time period. As I wrote in NFL Coaches when trying to sort out which Hal Hansen coached the Staten Island Stapletons in 1932:

The three Golden Gopher Hal’s include Harlan C. Hansen who lettered in 1915 and 1916 as a lineman, Harold Frederick. Hansen who lettered as a halfback in 1916 and Harold Walter Hanson who was a two-time All-American guard from 1925-1927 and played for the Frankford Yellow Jackets and Minneapolis Marines from 1928-1930. Harlan played a game in the backfield for the Packers in 1923, although he was a lineman at Minnesota.

End Jack “Dolly” Gray, though, will likely remain a complete mystery forever. In October 1923, Curly Lambeau purchased the contract of Dolly Gray from the St. Louis All-Stars, whose owner/coach Ollie Kraehe asserted was a former All-American at Princeton. After one game as a Packer, Gray was cut by Lambeau who could tell the end could not possibly be the 1922 Princeton player whose name was actually Howard Gray. Bob Carroll wrote about this episode in the Coffin Corner (http://profootballresearchers.com/archives/Website_Files/Coffin_Corner/05-07-148.pdf) and Cliff Cristl added more details on the team site (http://blog.packers.com/2014/05/31/the-mystery-of-dolly-gray-remains-unsolved/).

So that leaves us with the fourth rookie for 1923, all-purpose back Myrt Basing from Lawrence University who was one of the team’s top rushers for his first three years. Altogether, Basing spent five seasons with the Packers, retiring following the 1927 season. In his first year, he scored two of his nine career touchdowns; Myrt Basing was the Packers’ top rookie in 1923.

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