The 1958 Baltimore Colts

Profiles of the NFL’s First Sudden Death Champions

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About the Book

The 1958 Baltimore Colts were one of the greatest teams ever in professional football. Owned by the controversial Carroll Rosenbloom and led by head coach Weeb Ewbank and six future Hall of Fame players—Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker, Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti—they won the NFL title that season, defeating the New York Giants in the first sudden death championship game in NFL history. The Colts laid the foundation for the ultra-popular spectacle football would become with the American public. They were a talented group of players. Many had been rejected or underappreciated at various points in their careers though they were loved and respected by the blue collar fans of Baltimore. This book tells the complete story of the ‘58 Colts and the city’s love affair with the team.

About the Author(s)

Retired attorney George Bozeka is the assistant executive director and assistant publications director of the Professional Football Researchers Association. He has written numerous articles in the association’s publication The Coffin Corner and was the recipient of the PFRA’s Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award in 2011. He lives in Akron, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by George Bozeka

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 340
Bibliographic Info: 50 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7145-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3455-5
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Great Teams in Pro Football History

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface (George Bozeka) 1

Part 1: The City and the Organization
Baltimore in the Fifties (Patrick Gallivan) 5
Owner Carroll Rosenbloom (George Bozeka) 13
Head Coach Weeb Ewbank (Lee Elder) 19
Assistant Coaches (John W. Lesko, Bert Gambini) 26
Building the 1958 Colts (Matthew Keddie) 34
The 1958 Draft (Bert Gambini) 39

Part 2: The 1958 Season
1958 Training Camp and Preseason (Mark L. Ford) 49
1958 Regular Season Game Summaries (Rich
Shmelter, Rupert Patrick and Simon Herrera) 59
1958 NFL Championship Game (Rupert Patrick) 95
Final 1958 NFL Standings 102
1958 Colts Statistics (Rupert Patrick) 102
1958 Colts Superlatives (Rupert Patrick) 104

Part 3: The Team
Alan Ameche (Rick Schabowski) 109
Raymond Berry (John Vorperian) 117
Ordell Brasse (Jay Zahn) 125
Ray Brown (Rick Gonsalves) 129
Jack Call (David Standish) 132
Milt Davis (Nick Ritzmann) 135
Art DeCarlo (Rick Schabowski) 139
Art Donovan (Neal Golden) 142
L.G. Dupre (Greg Selber) 145
Dick Horn, Avatus Stone and Gary Kerkorian (Mark L. Ford) 148
Don Joyce (Neal Golden) 156
Ray Krouse (Bill Lambert) 159
Gene Lipscomb (George Bozeka) 163
Lenny Lyles (Ed Gruver) 169
Gino Marchetti (Neal Golden) 175
Lenny Moore (Rich Shmelter) 178
Jim Mutscheller (Joseph Wancho) 186
Steve Myhra (Rick Gonsalves) 189
Andy Nelson (Joshua M. Anderson) 194
Buzz Nutter (Randy Snow) 200
Jim Parker (George Bozeka) 202
Bill Pellington (Nick Ritzmann) 208
Sherman Plunkett (John W. Lesko) 213
George Preas (Rick Schabowski) 219
Billy Pricer (John Maxymuk) 222
Bert Rechichar (Rick Gonsalves) 226
Johnny Sample (Greg Selber) 230
Alex Sandusky (David Standish) 234
Leo Sanford (Joshua M. Anderson) 237
George Shaw (Jay Zahn) 242
Don Shinnick (Nick Ritzmann) 248
Jackie Simpson (John Maxymuk) 253
Art Spinney (Bill Lambert) 257
Dick Szymanski (David Standish) 259
Carl Taseff (Joseph Wancho) 262
Fuzzy Thurston (Rick Schabowski) 266
Johnny Unitas (George Bozeka) 269

Part 4: The Stadium
Memorial Stadium (Matthew Keddie) 281
The Baltimore Colts Marching Band (Randy Snow) 286

Part 5: The Press
Joe Croghan and Ernie Harwell (Joe Marren) 295
Cameron Snyder and John Steadman (Joe Marren) 300
Chuck Thompson and Bailey Goss (Joe Marren) 306
Sam Lacy (Ed Gruver) 311
Bob Wolff (John Vorperian) 317

About the Contributors 323
Index 327

Author Interview

Review Fix chats with The 1958 Baltimore Colts: Profiles of the NFL’s First Sudden Death Champions and The 1966 Green Bay Packers: Profiles of Vince Lombardi’s Super Bowl I Champions author George Bozeka, who details the creation process and why these teams are so special.

 


Review Fix: What inspired this book?

George Bozeka: In 2014, I became aware of a book series produced by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) that covered memorable teams in baseball history. I proposed to the Board of the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) that we produce a similar series on great teams in pro football history. The Board liked the idea and voted to move forward with the series. We have since published two books…The 1966 Green Bay Packers: Profiles of Vince Lombardi’s Super Bowl I Champions and The 1958 Baltimore Colts: Profiles of the NFL’s First Sudden Death Champions.

Review Fix: What was the writing and editing experience like for you?

Bozeka: It was a wonderful experience. Each book in the series is a collaborative effort involving between 25 to 30 members of the PFRA who contribute either writing or editing services. I organize each book project and also act as the lead editor for each book project. Our organization is blessed to have very supportive leadership and members all of whom share an intense passion for pro football history.

 

Henthorn
Bozeka

Review Fix: Did you learn anything you weren’t expecting?

Bozeka: It was really not something I did not expect given Coach Lombardi’s character, but i was pleased to learn that the Packers were truly a color blind team because Lombardi would not tolerate racism, bigotry, or prejudice on his team. As an Italian American he had experienced prejudice first hand. As a result he fostered a culture of diversity, acceptance, and respect in the Packers organization.

Review Fix: What else makes the original Packers here so special?

Bozeka: It all started with Coach Lombardi. His leadership and teachings about the pursuit of excellence on the football field and in life were the foundation of the great Green Bay teams of the 1960s. Add to that foundation an amazing group of players led by Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Paul Hornung , Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Dave Robinson, Henry Jordan and Willie Wood, all of whom understood the value of team over individual, and had a shared love, faith, and respect for each other, and you have a great recipe for sustained championship success…and for the Packers it extended beyond the football field, as many of the players went on to lead very accomplished lives off the gridiron.

Review Fix: How do you think they’d fare in today’s NFL?
Bozeka: I think they would perform very well. Because of Coach Lombardi, this team knew how to win. They would succeed in any era.

Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy this book the most?

Bozeka: Fans of the Green Bay Packers and fans of pro football in general will enjoy the book and the book series.

Review Fix: What are your goals for this book?

Bozeka: The goal of the Packers book and the book series is to memorialize the history of these great teams. This aligns with the purposes of the PFRA… to foster the study of professional football as a significant and athletic institution; to establish an accurate historical account of professional football; and to disseminate research information. Each book in the series is a complete history of the season of the team covered with game summaries, statistics, and bios of each player and coach. Each book also includes bios of key media members that covered the team, a history of the team’s home stadium, photographs, and special feature chapters about the team.

Review Fix: What’s next for you?

Bozeka: We are currently working on the third book in the series. It will cover the 1951 Los Angeles Rams. The Rams book will be released in 2021. A fourth book covering the 1964 Buffalo Bills is also planned with a 2024 release date.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

Bozeka: To learn more about the PFRA and to become a member visit our website at profootballresearchers.org. Further, to purchase any of the books in the series go to the McFarland Publishing website at mcfarlandbooks.com.