Bob Peterson never tired of telling the story of Anson Mount and the Cocktail Meatball. This was not the Anson Mount well-known today as an actor but his father, the Anson Mount who was an editor at Playboy and the selector of the magazine’s annual Preseason All-America Team.
Mount had the duty from 1958 to his death in 1988. For the first two decades of that, the Playboy issue featuring college football was considered an important source of publicity for the sport.
Playboy was headquartered in Chicago, which was also the site of the College All-Star Game from 1934 to 1976. For you young-uns, the early-August game featured the defending NFL champions against a selection of star players fresh out of college and about to become rookies in the NFL (for the most part).
The College Sports Information Directors of America – CoSIDA – held its annual convention to coincide with the All-Star Game.
I’m guessing the year of Mount and the meatball was 1967. Peterson was the SID at St. Cloud State. Mike Augustin was the St. Cloud Times sports editor and I was his full-time reporter.
We referred to Bob as “Burly’’ and drank many beers in his company. Burly convinced Augie and me to join him in Chicago for the CoSIDA revelry.
There were many hospitality events tied to the convention. One was sponsored by Playboy. There weren’t many young ladies with bunny tails, but the hors d’oeuvres were plentiful.
It seemed that way, anyway, until we freeloaders went to work. Finally, there was a single cocktail meatball left in a tray and Mount moved casually to lance it with a toothpick.
As Peterson told it, I sprung with a quickness belying my bulk and speared it away from Anson Mount, celebrity.
Burly, Augie and I wound up in the Twin Cities, with Peterson as the long-serving SID for the Gophers until his retirement in 1994. He died this week. His ashes were placed inside a game ball he had received from a Gophers’ football victory over Iowa in 1984.
Burly treasured the Gophers. And he treasured having witnessed Mount and the meatball.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Three sports traditions lost to the ages:
*College All-Star Game. The NFL’s defending champions played played college seniors from the previous season in an August game at Chicago’s Soldier Field from 1934 to 1976.
*East-West Shrine Game. The must-watch college all-star game when played in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium from 1925 into the 1960s. It’s now a poor cousin to the Senior Bowl.
*NHL All-Star Game (pre-expansion). The defending Stanley Cup champions hosted an all-star collection from other teams 15 times from 1953 to 1968. The teams split, 6-6-3.