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Letters To Lee Remmel


Lee, I'm sure you get this one a lot, but I've sent e-mails to a lot of NFL "experts" like Dr. Z and Peter King, and have never received a response. In your opinion, how is it that Jerry Kramer was one of the two best guards in the first 50 years of the NFL, but -- at least so far -- hasn't been deemed worthy for the Hall of Fame? Every year, I see another O-lineman inducted, and I keep asking myself, "Was that guy any better than number 64?" Just doesn't make sense to me. - Pat (Waukesha, WI)

As you suggest, why Jerry Kramer has not been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a continuing mystery. Not only was he the ONLY guard named to the NFL's 50th Anniversary team, he also was selected to the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team and the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team.

Several explanations have been informally advanced to "explain" this glaring omission. One is that the Packers have 10 representatives from the '60s Green Bay teams, of which Number 64 was a member, in the HOF and the board of selectors thus has been reluctant to enshrine another Packer from that era. Another alleged explanation is that some selectors may have been put off by the candor Jerry evinced in co-authoring (with the late Dick Schaap) the book "Instant Replay" toward the end of his playing career.

Somehow, these "reasons" don't strike me as particularly meritorious -- because they aren't. The bottom line is Jerry Kramer definitely should be in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, as time passes, the chances of it happening continue to diminish.

Lee, one of my prized possessions is a Green Bay Packers, Inc., check that was drawn out of the payroll account. It was signed by Vince Lombardi on August 8, 1959. It was made out to Lance E. Olsen for $34.20. I haven't been able to determine what role Lance performed for the Packers organization. Do you have any insight into his role? - Dan (Fishers, IN)

As a matter of fact, I do. It turns out that the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Lance Olson -- one of the most talented and versatile athletes in the state of Wisconsin's prep history -- was being paid for his services as an assistant trainer for the Packers in August of 1959 while on vacation from Michigan State University, where he was a starter on MSU's varsity basketball team.

Olson, who had been an all-state selection in football, basketball and track at Green Bay West High School, now lives in Spokane, Wash., and recently retired from practice as an ophthalmologist.

With respect to his employment by the Packers, he recently reported by phone, "For two years I worked as an assistant trainer during summer camp -- first during Scooter McLean's 1958 training camp as head coach and then in Vince Lombardi's first Packers summer camp in 1959. I worked for Jorgie (then trainer Bud Jorgensen) and (equipment manager) Dad Braisher. I taped ankles and did stuff like that. ... I started probably the first of July and then, when the team started to travel a little later, I went back to school."

Mr. Remmel, I've heard that Bob Harlan answers his own phone, and that anybody can call to talk to him. Is this true? Do you know if any other president/owner in professional sports does this? - Zach (Phoenix, AZ)

Bob Harlan not only answers his own office telephone, he also responds to all of the personal mail he receives and, additionally, has been known to make a call to discuss a given issue that may have been addressed in a letter or a phone message from a fan.

I have no way of knowing if any other president/CEO of a professional sports franchise answers his own phone and personal mail, but my guess is that Bob Harlan stands alone.

Lee, according to Results By Season in the Packers History section of the website, the Packers played only two home games from 1919-1932, both the last game of the season in 1921 and 1922 against Racine Legion. There certainly had to have been some games played in Green Bay! Why are all other games shown as away games? - Steve (Wausau, WI)

"Away" games for those seasons are indicated by the symbol @ preceding the score of each game, while those not so designated were home games. That said, there have been some recent modifications to the data base, so it's possible those results displayed incorrectly at the time you viewed them.

Where was Hagemeister Park? On the Packers web page for Packer firsts, it lists the first win against Minneapolis, and the first loss against Rock Island, both at Hagemeister Park. In the yearly stats, these games are both listed as away games. Can you explain this? - Howard (Appleton, WI)

As with the previous question, changes to the data base may have affected your search. Hagemeister Park, the Packers' first home field (1919-22), was located near Green Bay East High School, at the end of East Walnut Street and close to what subsequently became the original City Stadium, which opened in 1925. The Packers played their home games at Bellevue Park, on Green Bay's northeast side, in 1923-24.

The games against Minneapolis and Rock Island were home games -- played at Hagemeister Park.

A friend and I were debating Packer drafts. I said that picking Terrell Buckley over Troy Vincent was their biggest draft day mistake. Troy is bigger and he was a University of Wisconsin guy. He said that Tony Mandarich over anybody was worse. What do you think? Thank you for all your great answers and insight. - Tony (Shanghai, China)

I regret that I must agree with your friend. Tony Mandarich was a considerably bigger "bust" than Terrell Buckley, an opinion I think can be corroborated by the fact that "T-Buck" will enter the 2004 season as the third-ranking interceptor among the NFL's active players, with 47 career picks -- no small accomplishment. Admittedly, it is difficult to truly "measure" an offensive tackle's performance but I never have seen any indication that Mandarich was anything but very average at his position.

Mr. Remmel, I'm from Kansas (KC area) and have been a Packers fan for over 30 years. I also claim to be a Packers history (and trivia) expert, but there is one question that I still find elusive in its clarity. Can you give us a sequential rundown on the quarterbacks that succeeded Bart Starr, up through Lynn Dickey? I think I know most of the players, but am foggy about who replaced whom and which seasons they played. Thank you very much. -- Jim (Overland Park, KS)

The Packers essentially employed four "starting" quarterbacks between the retirement of Bart Starr (following the 1971 season) and Lynn Dickey's arrival upon the Green Bay scene in 1976 by way of a trade with the then-Houston Oilers -- Scott Hunter, Jerry Tagge, John Hadl and David Whitehurst.

Hunter, who previously had started 13 games during Starr's final season ('71), started all 14 games in the NFC Central Division championship year of 1972 and six in 1973 before giving way to first Jim Del Gaizo (three games) and Tagge, the starter for the last five games of the '73 season and the first six of the '74 campaign.

Journeyman Jack Concannon followed Tagge for Games 7 and 8 of '74 immediately prior to the stunning trade that brought a fading Hadl from the Rams to start the last six games of the '74 campaign, the Packers' final season under the late Dan Devine. Hadl also was the nominal starter in 1975, Starr's first year as head coach, opening at quarterback in 13 games.

Dickey came aboard in 1976, by way of a transaction which dispatched Hadl to Houston, and started 10 games before suffering a shoulder separation which sidelined him for the last four games of that season. Dickey returned to start the first nine games in '77, suffering a broken leg in Game 9 that sidelined him for two-plus seasons. During this span, Whitehurst, a rookie out of Furman in '77, started the last five games of that season, all 16 in 1978 and 13 in 1979 before Dickey returned to the starting role for the last three games of the '79 season.

Dickey remained entrenched as the starter for the next six seasons (1980-85), leading the Packers to a playoff victory over the St. Louis Cardinals following the 1982 season and throwing for a club record 4,458 yards in 1983 -- a mark that still stands. His playing career came to an end when he was released by Head Coach Forrest Gregg in the final roster cutdown for the 1986 season.

Lee, I was told by somebody that the Packers did not always use the green and gold for the team colors. I have looked around on the internet and have not found any information regarding any other colors used in their history. Is this true? Thanks - Joe (Onalaska, WI)

A detailed history of Packers uniforms through the years can be found in the History section of, complete with color renderings. From the homepage, go to History, then to Packers Fast Facts, then to Uniform History - or, click here.

Lee, who wore number 86 in 1965/1966? - Nanci (Madison, WI)

A complete listing of Packers uniform numbers through the years can be found in the History section of From the homepage, go to History, then Record Book. Under the Results/Rosters section, select Jersey Numbers - or, click here.

From there you'll be able to access a pull-down menu that will allow you to select any number and see the players that wore that number for the Packers in a regular-season or postseason game.*

* Players only become part of the official record when they play in a regular-season or postseason game. The policy for recording uniform numbers on an official basis is the same.

Do you know who scored the first TD in Packers history? - Chris (Coos Bay, OR)

For the answer to this question and others like it, go to the History section of and select Fast Facts. Then click 'Packers Firsts' - or click here.

Mr. Remmel, everyone knows how valuable Paul Hornung was to Lombardi's offense, but is it true that in his entire Hall of Fame career with the Packers, that Hornung only rushed for over 100 yards in a game on two occasions? - Tim (Watertown, WI)

The NFL's official records, compiled by the Elias Sports Bureau, reveal that Paul Hornung rushed for over 100 yards in three regular season games -- one in 1957 (15 for 112), his rookie year, one in 1959 (28 for 138) and one in 1961 (11 for 111). He also forged another in postseason play, gaining 105 yards in 18 carries in the Packers' 23-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the 1965 NFL championship game.

I think, in fairness to Number 5, it should be noted that Paul wasn't known for any one skill but was a truly great, all-around player, as you suggested while raising your question. He was an effective runner, an adequate passer, an outstanding pass receiver, an excellent blocker, a reliable place-kicker and an inspirational leader. He still holds the NFL record for most points scored in a single season (176) and remains the fourth-ranking scorer in Packers history with 760 points.

Hornung also had an exceptional "nose" for the end zone, a talent that prompted Vince Lombari to observe, "At midfield, Paul Hornung is an ordinary football player but, inside the 20-yard-line, he's the greatest I've ever seen."

Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former *Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for as part of his new assignment.

In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here. *

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