First worn by Hall of Fame tailback Arnie Herber in 1934, 68 has been donned by just 15 Packers altogether. Herber was followed by end George Seeman in 1940 and back George Paskvan in 1941 in the Lambeau era.
Tackle Len Szafaryn was the first modern era player to wear 68 in Green Bay, and he has been joined by seven other tackles, two guards, a center and a defensive end.
T: Len Szafaryn (1953-56), John Dittrich (1959), Greg Koch (1977-85), Ed Konopasek (1987r), Joe Sims (1992-95), Gary Brown (1996), Breno Giacomini (2008) and Kyle Murphy (2016-18).
G: Gale Gillingham (1966-74, 1976) and Mike Wahle (1998-2004).
C: Chris White (2005).
DE: Blaise Winter (1988-90).
Although there have been gaps when the number was not worn from 1935-39, 1942-52, 1960-65 and 2009-15, 68 has been worn by some long-term stars of the team. Gale Gillingham wore it the longest at 10 years, and he and nine-year veteran Greg Koch are both members of the team’s hall of fame. Mike Wahle, who wore it for seven years, was another very fine lineman in Green Bay. Gillingham was a six-time All-Pro, and Wahle went to one Pro Bowl.
First six custom cards are colorized.
To conclude the series of Packer notables fronting backgrounds from the Play Ball baseball sets from the 1940s, here are a group from the 1970s.
Custom cards of Himes and Odom are colorized.
I recently posted cards of 1950s Packer notables fronting backgrounds from the Play Ball baseball sets from the prior decade. Here are some 1960s players in that style.
Custom cards of Long, Hart, Carpenter and Brown are colorized.
67 has been worn in Green Bay by 19 lineman, only a handful who were better than serviceable, and none of whom are in the team’s hall of fame. The number was never worn in the Lambeau era, but was first donned by rookie guard Dick Logan in 1952. He has been followed by eight more guards, three tackles, three centers and four defensive linemen.
G: Dick Logan (1952-53), Hank Bullough (1955), Jim Salsbury (1957-58), Andy Cvercko (1960), Dan Grimm (1963-65), Malcolm Snider (1972-74), Dick Enderle (1976), Bob Kowalkowski (1977) and Billy Ard (1989-91).
T: Karl Swanke (1980-86), Paul Hutchins (1993-94) and Don Barclay (2012-13, 2015-16).
C: Travis Simpson (1987r), Jeff Dellenbach (1996-98) and Grey Ruegamer (2003-05).
DL: Leo Carroll (1968), Dave Logan (1987), Sebastian Barrie (1992) and Russell Maryland (2000).
Swanke wore the number the longest, seven years, and the longest stretch when the number was not worn was from 2006-11.
Custom cards of Logan, Salsbury and Swanke are colorized.
Turning 48 today is fullback William Henderson, who spent 12 seasons in Green Bay and was the starting fullback in the last 11. In those 12 seasons, he gained just 426 yards rushing himself, but paved the way for eight 1,000-yard rushers: Dorsey Levens twice and Ahman Green six times. It takes a team man to take and dish out the punishment the 6’1” 250-pound Henderson did for a dozen years. Henderson told the Journal Sentinel, “You have to love the job everyone hates to do. I love blocking and creating the path, giving that lane, that extra budge to get my running back to gain 40 or 50 yards. My desire was to protect my quarterback and running back at all costs.”
Drafted in the third round out of North Carolina in 1995, Henderson established himself as one of the steadiest fullbacks in the game and also developed into a fine outlet receiver for Brett Favre. Henderson caught 320 passes in his career and was named All-Pro in 2004, perhaps as sort of a lifetime achievement award because by that time Green Bay was starting to bring in younger challengers to take on the blocking load. Ahman Green told the Journal Sentinel, “He’s basically the epitome of a fullback. He blocks, he catches the ball and carries and runs it. No complaints out of him. He does his job 110 percent.”
The pounding from a decade of crushing linebackers reduced his mobility and speed and led to retirement in 2007. Ted Thompson said at the time, “He’s had some great years. Are you kidding me? He played in more games than all but a couple of guys, which is a remarkable achievement. He’s been durable. He’s a professional, great in the locker room.” William was chosen for the Packers Hall of Fame in 2011.
Custom cards in a variety of styles.
A couple years ago, I did a post on the 84-yard touchdown run by Jim Taylor on a sweep play against the Lions in 1964 that was depicted on the 1965 Philadelphia Gum company football card entitled “Packers Play of the Year.” The year before, the Philadelphia set also included a play-of-the-year card, but this play was a much odder choice in that it described the second Packer touchdown of the 1963 season, a rather nondescript end run by Tom Moore for a 15-yard score.
Moore said of that score in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, “The boys cleared everyone out down there. There was a good hole and Boyd [Dowler] and Kramer went down and go the deep men. Everyone blocked perfectly on that one.” Yes, it was a fine play, but in the fourth quarter, Moore had a 77-yard touchdown on a cutback run that might have been a better choice.
Probably the most memorable play of that year was a fourth quarter 80-yard return of a blocked field goal by Hank Gremminger to clinch a 37-28 victory over Minnesota on October 17, but that would not diagram well. However, that game also featured a 19-yard halfback option pass from Moore to Max McGee that went for a score. Since the halfback option was such a big part of the Packer attack, that would have been a better choice as well.
My favorite, though, would have been the Pack’s final touchdown of the year. Trailing the Bears by a half game, Green Bay finished their season on a Saturday in San Francisco and clinched the win that day with the second of Boyd Dowler’s two 50-yard scoring receptions of the game. The first was for 53 yards in the second quarter, and the game winner was for an even 50 in the third quarter. The 49ers played the whole game with all their defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop the run, which left them vulnerable to deep play action. Dowler commented on cornerback Kermit Alexander going for the fake twice, “Alexander’s a pretty good little back, but you can’t play that position as a rookie and not get sucked in sometimes.” Unfortunately, the next day, the Bears defeated the Lions to make the two-time defending champion Packers former champions, but Dowler’s score had kept the season alive.
Dowler custom card is colorized.
66, of course, is one of the six officially retired numbers in Green Bay, so this is a review, not an update. It was first worn by halfback Bob Monnett in 1934, subsequently by center Bud Svendsen in 1939 and then his brother George in 1940-41. The fourth and final player to wear the number under Curly Lambeau was guard Ralph Davis from 1947-48.
In the modern era it has been worn by just seven Packers–three linebackers, a guard, a tackle, a fullback and a nose tackle.
T: Don Stansauk (1950).
G: Al Barry (1957).
FB: Fred Cone (1951).
NT: Mike Lewis (1980).
LB: Deral Teteak (1952-56), Ray Nitschke (1959-72) and Paul Rudzinski (1978).
66 was retired for Nitschke, the Hall of Fame leader of Lombardi’s defense, in 1983, but not before two transients donned it in 1978 and 1980. Although only 11 Packers have worn the number, it has attracted several members of the team’s Hall of Fame besides Ray. Monnett, both Svendsen brothers, Cone and Teteak have all been so honored by the franchise, too.
All custom cards but Nitschke are colorized.
As with previous sets I’ve done using 1930s and ‘40s baseball sets as backgrounds, here are some 1950s Packer notables fronting backgrounds from the Play Ball baseball sets from the prior decade.
All custom cards except Forte are colorized.
American hero Hal Van Every would have turned 101 today were he still alive. Van Every was born in Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota on February 10, 1918 and graduated from Wayzata High School in 1936. He attended the University of Minnesota when the Gophers were a national power on the gridiron. A triple-threat tailback, Hal led the team in rushing as a sophomore and senior. In 1939, he led the nation with nine interceptions and was the team’s MVP leading up to being drafted in the first round by the Packers in 1940.
In two years for Green Bay, he was part of the regular rotation of backs and showed promise as a runner, although his passing record was not very good. He also picked off three passes in both 1940 and ’41. In the wake of Pearl Harbor, Van Every entered the army in 1942 and eventually moved into the Air Corps as a pilot. He played football for the Second Air Force Bombers that year before heading overseas in 1943 to fly missions over Germany. On his ninth mission on May 9, 1944, Van Every’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and he and his crew were forced to bail out.
Hal injured his back while parachuting and was captured and sent to a POW camp for the remainder of the war. When his camp was liberated, he was 50 pounds underweight with a bad back, effectively ending his football career. Upon returning to the U.S., he and his wife settled in Minneapolis where they had two children, while Hal built a successful career in insurance, eventually attaining Million Dollar Round Table status. A devoted family man, he and his wife celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary shortly before Hal passed away at the age of 89 on August 11, 2007.
Custom cards all colorized.
65 has only been worn by 14 players in Packer history, although two linemen wore the number for 11 seasons a piece: Ron Hallstrom and Mark Tauscher. Tauscher and the man who first wore the number in 1934, guard Lon Evans, are both members of the team’s Hall of Fame, as is Mike Douglass who donned the number briefly. After a 12-year gap from 1935-46, Gene Wilson was the next player to wear 65 from 1947-48. There was another significant gap from 1964-71.
In the modern era the number has been worn by one halfback, five linebackers, four guards, one center and one tackle.
HB: Rip Collins (1951).
LB: Chuck Boerio (1952), Tom Bettis (1956-61), Ed Holler (1963), Mike Douglass (1978) and Brian Cabral (1980).
G: Keith Workman (1972-75), Ron Hallstrom (1982-92), Lindsay Knapp (1996) and Lane Taylor (2013-18).
C: Mike Wellman (1979-80).
T: Mark Tauscher (2000-10).
All custom cards but Tauscher are colorized.