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Life-long Packers Fan

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by TJV, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Feb 22, 2011
    Like many here, I was "born into" Packers fandom and by a stroke of fantastic lucky timing, I became an avid fan a year before Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay. My user name is short for "Thanks Jack Vainisi" (you've probably already figured that out). In my opinion there are two Packers icons who are little remembered even by the most ardent Packers fans. One is George Calhoun. I'm not sure the Packers would exist without him. The other is, of course, Jack Vainisi.

    David Maraniss, in his highly regarded biography of Lombardi "When Pride Still Mattered", (a must-read for serious Packers fans IMO) said Vainisi had "one of the most exceptional and underappreciated careers in professional football." Jack was ahead of his time. At his hiring in 1950 as a talent scout, the art of drafting was in its infancy. Vainisi made it as close to a science as he could. He established an extensive network to gain information on college players and filled binder after binder with the information he gathered.

    In the 1956 draft, the Packers picked Hall of famer OT Forrest Gregg - who Lombardi would call the best football player he ever coached - in the second round. Indiana OT Bob Skoronski was added in the fifth round, DB Hank Gremminger in the seventh round, and a little known Alabama QB, Bart Starr, was selected in the 17th round. Notre Dame QB Paul Hornung and Michigan TE Ron Kramer were selected in 1957. Perhaps his best draft was in 1958, when his first pick was Michigan State's LB Dan Currie, in the second round Vainisi took Louisiana FB Jim Taylor, who would become a Hall of Famer. The Packers had two picks in the third round and with the first they took Dick Christy (who never played for the Pack). The next pick was acquired via a trade with the NYG for DE John Martinkovic. That pick was used to select Illinois' (who would become a) LB Ray Nitschke, who would anchor Lombardi's defenses and who is also in the Hall of Fame. With the fourth round pick, the Packers chose Jerry Kramer, the Idaho guard who should be enshrined in Canton.

    In addition, Vainisi is credited with bringing QB Babe Parilli, WR Max McGee, WR Billy Howton, DB Bobby Dillon, DL Dave “Hawg” Hanner, LB Bill Forester, and C Jim Ringo. I'm sure old timers like myself will recognize many of these names.

    This is from an article on Vainisi which appeared in a Madison paper:

    "Although he had absolutely no authority to do so, Vainisi began quietly asking around the league, trying to find a coach who could pull the Packers out of the 1950s doldrums and return them to championship stature. He called Halas in Chicago and Paul Brown in Cleveland, along with college coaches and others, and one name kept popping up: Vince Lombardi, the New York Giants' offensive coach.

    Still without authority, Vainisi called Lombardi and told him he should seek the job, and should demand to be put in complete charge, to overcome what Vainisi perceived as improper attempts by executive committee members to interfere with the three prior coaches, Ronzani, Lisle Blackbourn and McLean.

    Then he suggested to the executive committee that they should consult Halas, Brown and others to find a candidate, naming all those he had already checked with.

    The committee made those calls, and after interviewing candidates, picked Lombardi as the next coach. When he got the job, Lombardi bluntly told the committee he never would have considered coming to Green Bay had Vainisi not been there, according to Maraniss and other writers."

    So not only did Vainisi "set the table" for the greatest coach in NFL history, he had a hand in bringing Lombardi to Green Bay.

    Tragically, Vainisi died of a heart attack in 1960 at the age of 33. But he earned the unending gratitude of each and every Green Bay Packers fan. THANKS, Jack Vainisi!

    I look forward to reveling in more championships during the Thompson/McCarthy era with all of you!
  2. Green_Bay_Packers

    Green_Bay_Packers Cheesehead

    Mar 30, 2007

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