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Photo thread: The GIants during WWII

truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 8:52 am
With the Memorial Day weekend approaching it seemed like a good time for a visual retrospective.

It started on Tuffy Leemans Day at the Polo Grounds and ended with the Al Blozis memorial four years later.

These years were trying times for the NFL. Many players, coaches and owners careers were interrupted with service to the country. The man shortage trimmed roster limits and travel restrictions abbreviated the schedule. Former players were called out of retirement. There were three merged teams (Eagles-Steelers 1943, Cardinals-Steelers 1944, Yanks-Tigers 1945) and one that suspended operations (Rams 1943).

Emerging on the other side of the conflict was a league that was stronger than ever and ready to enjoy a boon in popularity. Players who had returned from the war were eager to play again and the surplus allowed the formation of a new league, the AAFC in 1946.




Giants vs Brooklyn Dodgers 12/7/41
#32 Len Younce, #60 Bill Edwards


Giants vs US Army All-Stars 9/12/42
#7 Mel Hein


Merle Hapes, Leo Cantor, Dom Principe, Ward Cuff & Steve Owen 1942






Giants vs Green Bay 11/22/42
#44 Emery Nix




Al Blozis & Emery Nix 1943






Giants at Detroit 11/7/43
#30 O'Neil Adams, #24 Will Walls, #55 Cahrley Avedisian, #60 Len Younce (tackling ballcarrier), #32 Al Blozis


Emery Nix, Steve Owen & Bill Paschal 1943


Giants vs Chicago Cardinals 11/21/43
#60 Len Younce, #20 Lelend Shaffer, #14 Ward Cuff (with the ball), #5 Dave Brown






Giants at Brooklyn Tigers 10/15/44
#30 O'Neal Adams, #36 Frank Cope, #60 Len Younce








Giants vs Boston Yanks 11/5/44
#60 Len Younce, #2 Len Calligaro






Giants at Washington 12/10/44
#14 Ward Cuff (intercepting a Sammy Baugh pass), #24 Howie Livingston








Giants vs Green Bay NFL Championship Game 12/17/44
#24 Howie Livingson attempting to cover Don Hutson


The Giants first team-published media guide




Ken Strong, Steve Owen & Mel Hein 1945


1945 Giants team autographs






#8 Steve Filipowicz






Giants vs Cleveland Rams 11/4/45
Bill Paschal carrying the ball










Pregame presentation of Al Blozis' memorial plaque at the Polo Grounds
Giants vs Philadelphia 12/2/45
Wow!  
DC Gmen Fan : 5/20/2020 9:03 am : link
Outstanding pictures! Thanks!
I should've included this in the OP.  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 9:15 am : link
The Giants who served from a reprint of the 1945 Media guide:



man the mara boys had some huge  
Platos : 5/20/2020 9:29 am : link
cinderblock heads lol
truebluelarry  
M.S. : 5/20/2020 9:34 am : link

Thanks so much for posting all of these wonderful photos!

My Dad was at the Polo Grounds December 7th, 1941 and when he heard the public-address system call for military / government officials (especially the name Colonel Donovan), well, that got his attention real quick.

Great stuff Larry  
cosmicj : 5/20/2020 9:35 am : link
I didn’t know the Giants played a game on Pearl Harbor Day. They lost it 8-3 to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Make sure to scroll down to read Steve Owens account of the unbalanced A formation he developed to counter what the Bears were doing.
Very neat stuff  
beatrixkiddo : 5/20/2020 9:35 am : link
I was hoping to find some write up on my great great Uncle Bill Petrilas, played Wingback on some of those teams for a few years in the 40’s. Never saw any write ups on him, only thing I spotted was his name in the service list at the end. Seems he was a key part of that “stingiest defense team” in ‘44 leading the team with 5 I take (2 for scores) over the season. Wish I could find more info on him. Thanks for sharing.
That was really really great  
cjac : 5/20/2020 9:56 am : link
Thanks so much for posting this
Thanks very much, Larry. That was educational and enjoyable  
Ira : 5/20/2020 9:57 am : link
.
RE: Very neat stuff  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 9:57 am : link
In comment 14907288 beatrixkiddo said:
Quote:
I was hoping to find some write up on my great great Uncle Bill Petrilas, played Wingback on some of those teams for a few years in the 40’s. Never saw any write ups on him, only thing I spotted was his name in the service list at the end. Seems he was a key part of that “stingiest defense team” in ‘44 leading the team with 5 I take (2 for scores) over the season. Wish I could find more info on him. Thanks for sharing.


I found him a few times:


Giants vs Boston Yanks 11/5/44 from the NY Daily News


Giants vs Brooklyn Tigers 11/26/44 from the NY Daily News


Giants at Washington 12/9/45 from the NY Daily News


1/20/46 from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Love these.  
Big Blue '56 : 5/20/2020 10:08 am : link
Thanks tbl.
Awesome stuff, Larry.  
Klaatu : 5/20/2020 10:19 am : link
Thanks.
Yeah thanks!  
D HOS : 5/20/2020 10:32 am : link
One thing though I have always wondered, aside from the awful fortnite poses... vintage footballers always seem to me to be very svelt. Were there no huge heavy & muscular humans back then like we have today? Is the size, strength and athleticism of today's players purely the result of dedicated strength training and nutrition applied from their teens? If there were similarly sized and capable humans back then wouldn't they have been sought out by clubs? Seriously, why no 300lb lineman back then? Different game requiring different skillsets?

Maybe it's just the photo angles...
RE: RE: Very neat stuff  
beatrixkiddo : 5/20/2020 10:34 am : link
In comment 14907328 truebluelarry said:
Quote:
In comment 14907288 beatrixkiddo said:


Quote:


I was hoping to find some write up on my great great Uncle Bill Petrilas, played Wingback on some of those teams for a few years in the 40’s. Never saw any write ups on him, only thing I spotted was his name in the service list at the end. Seems he was a key part of that “stingiest defense team” in ‘44 leading the team with 5 I take (2 for scores) over the season. Wish I could find more info on him. Thanks for sharing.



I found him a few times:


Giants vs Boston Yanks 11/5/44 from the NY Daily News


Giants vs Brooklyn Tigers 11/26/44 from the NY Daily News


Giants at Washington 12/9/45 from the NY Daily News


1/20/46 from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle



Larry, I can’t thank you enough for how much this means to me. Keep this thread alive/ archived. I got to share this with my Dad, he will get a kick out of this. Thanks so much, and what a find!
BTW, these guys were heros!  
D HOS : 5/20/2020 10:36 am : link
Truly Giants.
RE: Yeah thanks!  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 10:41 am : link
In comment 14907369 D HOS said:
Quote:
One thing though I have always wondered, aside from the awful fortnite poses... vintage footballers always seem to me to be very svelt. Were there no huge heavy & muscular humans back then like we have today? Is the size, strength and athleticism of today's players purely the result of dedicated strength training and nutrition applied from their teens? If there were similarly sized and capable humans back then wouldn't they have been sought out by clubs? Seriously, why no 300lb lineman back then? Different game requiring different skillsets?

Maybe it's just the photo angles...


This was a single platoon era, endurance was a priority as they played both ways, substitution was restricted. Players began changing in size when the two platoon system with free substitution was adopted in 1949 as it allowed players to evolve (or is it devolve?) into specialized roles. During single platoon, versatility was worth a lot more to a team and ensured a player's value.
Thank You Larry!  
Frank from CA : 5/20/2020 11:25 am : link
Great Read. Thank you for putting this together.
RE: RE: Yeah thanks!  
D HOS : 5/20/2020 11:29 am : link
In comment 14907378 truebluelarry said:
This was a single platoon era[/quote]

I didn't think of that but I see the point. Still though, I see Big Al was 6'6" and 250 as a tackle. I think a different guy at 280 or 300 could be valuable as both offensive tackle and defensive tackle but I also get that the requirements of the positions were different then.

I did notice on the Mel Hein page from that media guide, bottom right corner, the statement that (in whatever year that was) substitutions w/o a timeout were just then legal. Plus no more elbows to the face.
RE: RE: RE: Yeah thanks!  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 11:32 am : link
In comment 14907452 D HOS said:
Quote:
In comment 14907378 truebluelarry said:
This was a single platoon era


I didn't think of that but I see the point. Still though, I see Big Al was 6'6" and 250 as a tackle. I think a different guy at 280 or 300 could be valuable as both offensive tackle and defensive tackle but I also get that the requirements of the positions were different then.

I did notice on the Mel Hein page from that media guide, bottom right corner, the statement that (in whatever year that was) substitutions w/o a timeout were just then legal. Plus no more elbows to the face. [/quote]

That was a one-year experiment in 1945 to help cope with the man shortage. Free substituion returned for good in 1949.
Fantastic!  
Ryan in Albany : 5/20/2020 11:53 am : link
Could look at this stuff all day.
More Bill Petrilas:  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 12:40 pm : link
Apparently he had a way of intercepting passes thrown by Sammy Baugh. :-)

https://i.imgur.com/3fEa60V.jpg
Giants vs Washington 12/3/44 from the NY Times

https://i.imgur.com/SdZhlOH.jpg
Giants vs Washington 12/3/44 from the NY Herald-Tribune

https://i.imgur.com/UnKtlVS.jpg
Giants at Washington 12/10/44 from the NY Times

https://i.imgur.com/NKadmA5.jpg
Giants vs Green Bay NFL Championship Game 12/17/44 from the NY Herald Tribune


11/7/45 from the NY Herald Tribune
(too large for the forum, click the link to see the full size)

RE: More Bill Petrilas:  
beatrixkiddo : 5/20/2020 2:58 pm : link
In comment 14907519 truebluelarry said:
Quote:
Apparently he had a way of intercepting passes thrown by Sammy Baugh. :-)

https://i.imgur.com/3fEa60V.jpg
Giants vs Washington 12/3/44 from the NY Times

https://i.imgur.com/SdZhlOH.jpg
Giants vs Washington 12/3/44 from the NY Herald-Tribune

https://i.imgur.com/UnKtlVS.jpg
Giants at Washington 12/10/44 from the NY Times

https://i.imgur.com/NKadmA5.jpg
Giants vs Green Bay NFL Championship Game 12/17/44 from the NY Herald Tribune


11/7/45 from the NY Herald Tribune
(too large for the forum, click the link to see the full size)


These are the first I’m seeing of these, was never able to dig up much info just some stats. Apparently he had an incredible nose for the football, A true ball hawk. I remember showing my Nan some info and pictures of him that I could find a few years ago and she told me some stories about him from her childhood. She Said his career was cut short due to a nasty shoulder injury from her recollection, said she remembered they went swimming together and he more or less swam with one arm which she thought was odd. Said he wasn’t able to lift one of his arms over his head. To think how far we have come with sport science and medicine, who knows he could have been a Giant legend we never got to know.

The similarities of him and my father are quite remarkable, the picture of the ‘44 championship team looks like I’m looking at a younger picture of my father. We both had a good laugh over it.

Thanks again Larry, this absolutely made my day, and I’m sure. Will make my fathers when I show him. Can’t thank you enough for this.
This is so cool  
dlauster : 5/20/2020 3:40 pm : link
Thank you everyone for contributing to the images on this post.
Thank you so much Larry. That was a great trip back to my very early  
plato : 5/20/2020 4:03 pm : link
childhood and eventual giant fandom. Blozis I remembered but confused his death as having occurred in the Pacific so that straightened an old mans memory.

What’s impressive is the number of athletes who served, same i expect for ML baseball. Try doing this today. Just use your imagination. And some went back during Korea.

There was I believe a gambling scandal too. I don’t want to guess at remembering names because I don’t want some to be falsely accused, but,some were suspended. The era was I think the Cuff era giants, so post war, late 40’s. By the 50’s I would have remembered.

Anyway thanks so much. I’ll keep reading the material, it just seems so familiar, if distant. Brings back time when to be a pro football fan was a bit rare and a Giant fan, at least among, pre teens, was distinctly rare. So I was alone in talking and rooting for NY Giant football, when almost all attention was on baseball, mostly Dodgers.

Again thanks so much.
RE: Thank you so much Larry. That was a great trip back to my very early  
truebluelarry : 5/20/2020 5:15 pm : link
In comment 14907661 plato said:
Quote:
childhood and eventual giant fandom. Blozis I remembered but confused his death as having occurred in the Pacific so that straightened an old mans memory.

What’s impressive is the number of athletes who served, same i expect for ML baseball. Try doing this today. Just use your imagination. And some went back during Korea.

There was I believe a gambling scandal too. I don’t want to guess at remembering names because I don’t want some to be falsely accused, but,some were suspended. The era was I think the Cuff era giants, so post war, late 40’s. By the 50’s I would have remembered.

Anyway thanks so much. I’ll keep reading the material, it just seems so familiar, if distant. Brings back time when to be a pro football fan was a bit rare and a Giant fan, at least among, pre teens, was distinctly rare. So I was alone in talking and rooting for NY Giant football, when almost all attention was on baseball, mostly Dodgers.

Again thanks so much.


The gambling scandal was Merle Hapes and frankie Filchock the day before the 1946 NFLCG. That would make for an interesting deep-dive post one day, there's a lot of intrigue to dig through.

RE: RE: Yeah thanks!  
JohnF : 5/20/2020 5:33 pm : link
In comment 14907378 truebluelarry said:
Quote:
In comment 14907369 D HOS said:


Quote:


One thing though I have always wondered, aside from the awful fortnite poses... vintage footballers always seem to me to be very svelt. Were there no huge heavy & muscular humans back then like we have today? Is the size, strength and athleticism of today's players purely the result of dedicated strength training and nutrition applied from their teens? If there were similarly sized and capable humans back then wouldn't they have been sought out by clubs? Seriously, why no 300lb lineman back then? Different game requiring different skillsets?

Maybe it's just the photo angles...



This was a single platoon era, endurance was a priority as they played both ways, substitution was restricted. Players began changing in size when the two platoon system with free substitution was adopted in 1949 as it allowed players to evolve (or is it devolve?) into specialized roles. During single platoon, versatility was worth a lot more to a team and ensured a player's value.


Larry is 100% correct. Today's players (for the most part) could not play single platoon, they'd have heart attacks all over the field. Remember, your linemen were playing 60 minutes, before TV (so no time outs for commercials...look at all the stoppage of play today, most noticed if you're at a game). You didn't have a ton of subs, either, since there were smaller rosters. If you weren't fit, you'd kneel over after the 1st quarter.

Training methods (and drugs) are more sophisticated today, which help foster larger athletes. However, it was rare to see 300lb linemen as late as the early 1980's. Just check out the rosters of teams during the 70's...you had LB's at 210lbs! Also, back in 1945, a man that was 6-3 248 lbs was a monster compared to the average male:

Quote:
In the US Army during WWII, logs were kept by the Quartermaster Corps of what sizes of clothes were issued for supply purposes, as well as by the Medical Corps for statistical purposes. It was found that the average male inductee was 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 144 pounds; an inch taller and eight pounds heavier than his Great War counterpart.



What was the average height of different armies in World War 2? - ( New Window )
trueblue  
Lines of Scrimmage : 5/20/2020 6:03 pm : link
Thank you for your efforts. Makes you proud to be a fan of a historic franchise despite the last few years.

As you would expect the franchise honored those Giants whoserved. I would have love to attend a game in the early years.
Team photos  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 7:11 am : link
The team photo up above in the OP is from 1943 - note that #32 standing on the right is Al Blozis.

Here are the other years:


1941 - #29 front row Jack Lummus


1942 - #32 front row Al Blozis (seated next to #7 Mel Hein)


1944 - #32 front row Al Blozis (seated next to Steve Owen)


1945
Thanks for posting these pictures Larry!  
markky : 5/21/2020 7:29 am : link
Those color program covers are surreal. And the early pictures of Wellington Mara are really nice as well.
Here's one of my all time favorite photos:  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 12:33 pm : link


1941 - Steve Owen, Wellington Mara, Mike Palm & Bill Owen.

Are they members of a professional football organization or button men for Murder Inc.?
Heights and weights of players  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 12:51 pm : link
from the Giants-Dodgers game at Ebbets Field 10/25/42:




The heaviest player on the field was Al Blozis at 245lbs.
Brooklyn's largest player was Mike Jurich 6'1' 230lbs.

The majority of backs (and some of the ends) for both teams are under 200lbs.
Early service roll  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 1:01 pm : link
This comes from the Giants-Bears 11/14/43 game program:

Read this John Mara letter from 1943 to a potential football recruit.  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 2:46 pm : link
It sure was a different world back then.

Very rare photo of Jack Lummus  
truebluelarry : 5/21/2020 3:02 pm : link
training camp 1941.

great stuff as always -  
Del Shofner : 5/21/2020 3:58 pm : link
thanks Larry!
Larry, awesome collection  
Red Dog : 5/21/2020 7:34 pm : link
You have really outdone yourself this time!

Your posts are the most entertaining, informative, and worthwhile of anything in the corner forum.

Thanks again !!
Hapes and Filchock. Right I think they were suspended for a year. But  
plato : 5/21/2020 8:37 pm : link
as was suggested as other day another thread for a deep dive. Until then read Larry’s great stuff on the beginning of my Giant fandom at the Polo grounds.
Radio broadcast.  
truebluelarry : 5/23/2020 5:30 pm : link
A friend sent this to me today, I'd never heard it before.

It's an excerpt of the broadcast of the Giants-Dodgers game being interrupted by the announcement of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Link - ( New Window )
Al Blozis  
revmoran : 5/24/2020 11:10 am : link
Never saw the photo of the players and family at the dedication before - thanks Larry! Here's a True Comic telling the story of Al Blozis



$60 in today's USD  
Knineteen : 5/24/2020 1:19 pm : link
to attend the Championship.
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