There was a quick internet search last week to confirm a detail about Curly Lambeau, the player, coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer with his name on the Green Bay stadium. Imagine my surprise when this headline appeared:
“Ward Cuff on Curly Lambeau: ‘A miserable guy.’ ”
The fabulous part is the piece was offered by Cliff Christl, the Packers’ current team historian, and posted on Packers.com on June 21, 2018. Christl was a longtime reporter for Milwaukee and Green Bay newspapers and this Q-and-A came from two interviews Christl conducted with Cuff in 2001.
Cuff was a native of Redwood Falls, Minn. He died in 2002 in Vallejo, Calif., at age 89.
Cuff was a star on the Marquette Warriors’ 1937 Cotton Bowl team. He was a running back and kicker for the New York Giants, and shares the jersey retirement of No. 14 with quarterback Y.A. Title.
Cuff’s final season was with Lambeau and the Packers in 1947. The Packers started 4-1, then hit the skids, including a 21-20 loss to the Chicago Cardinals when Cuff missed a late 23-yard kick.
Cuff said Lambeau accused him of missing it on purpose and refused to give him a game check. Cuff had bills to play as a Milwaukee family man and had to threaten Lambeau to get his money.
Asked for “overall impressions’’ of Lambeau, Cuff said he was a bad guy in “every way you can think of … A lot of the players didn’t like Curly, and there was pretty good reason for it. He was taking their money, trying to date their wives.
“If the team had a bad day, he’d fine the whole bunch, even the [injured] guys who couldn’t play.’’
Players wives? “Guys who had nice looking wives, he tried to date them,’’ Cuff told Christl in 2001, now to be found on Packers.com.
Wow. I can’t wait for Vikings.com’s 25th anniversary retrospective on the Star Tribune investigative piece on Winter Park hijinx that ran on Jan. 29, 1995.
Read Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick.
Charles O. Johnson, executive sports editor for Minneapolis newspapers, on Nov. 22, 1959 explaining in print local attendance woes:
• Only 16,000 for showcase regular-season NFL game between Philadelphia and Chicago Cardinals at Met Stadium: A) Local fans depressed over Gophers’ loss previous day to Michigan; and B) tickets overpriced at $4 and $6.
• Crowds under 2,000 for early Minneapolis Lakers games: NBA home games should never be scheduled before end of Gophers football season.
• Season-long attendance of 150,000 for Minneapolis Millers, American Association champions: Too much midsummer “raiding’’ [call-ups] of the Class AAA farm club by Boston Red Sox.