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Oral history

Former player remembers Lambeau, Blood, Herber


Johnny "Blood" McNally

Cliff Christl started gathering oral histories with former Packers and others associated with the team in 2000 and will continue to gather them as Packers historian. Excerpts from those interviews will be periodically posted at

Herm Schneidman was a back for the Packers from 1935-39 before finishing his career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1940. Schneidman was listed as a quarterback, but essentially was a blocking back in Curly Lambeau's "Notre Dame Box" offense. On defense, Schneidman played what today would be a cornerback position. At the time, players played both ways.

On Curly Lambeau:

Schneidman--"He had his way. He'd come in at halftime and say, 'Some of you are playing, some of you aren't. Some of you are loafing.' Either get in there and get this game won or we're going to fire somebody.' He'd get them all pepped up. He'd walk out of the dressing room and the boys would go out and play twice as hard."

On how often Lambeau would do that:

Schneidman--"Every game we were behind."

On Lambeau's superstitions:

Schneidman--"You ever hear about Curly wearing a shirt and tie the first game of the year? If Green Bay won, he wore that same shirt and tie every game. If we'd lose, he'd wear a different shirt and tie."

On Lambeau's rules:

Schneidman--"We'd get through with the meeting and the rule was we had to be in our room by 10:30 or 11 o'clock. And if you were seen on the street one minute after 10:30 or 11, whatever it was, Lambeau knew about it. Somebody called him. Everybody was a fan."

On Lambeau's practice philosophy:

Schneidman--"I know (one) year we trained in Green Bay and he said if we went out to this country club and played golf, we'd only have one workout a day instead of two. He thought you'd get enough of a workout over 18 holes. He said, 'You golf it or walk it.' So everybody went out to the course."

On Lambeau's personality and lifestyle:

Schneidman--"Lambeau was a different kind of a fellow. Before I joined the team the story was they were going to Honolulu for an exhibition to play some games and one of the boys was talking to a girl on the boat. They were on this boat and Roger Grove saw this girl and he falls in love. He starts talking to her and another player comes over and he sort of fell for her. To end the argument, Lambeau took her and ended up marrying her."

On Richard "Red" Smith, Lambeau's assistant from 1935-'43:

Schneidman--"If the players were upset about something or mad at Lambeau, Red took the message. And if Lambeau had a message to get to some of the players, Red took it the other way. He was a real nice guy. He was like one of the players. They could tell their problems to him. Lambeau wouldn't listen to them."

On Hall of Famer Clarke Hinkle:

Schneidman--"He was a very friendly guy, but the day of the game, he'd get his ankles taped, his wrists taped and if you walked in and said, 'Hi, Clarke, how you doing?' He'd jump up and he was ready to fight. He didn't talk to anybody. He was ready for the game. He was tough."

On Hall of Famer Johnny Blood:

Schneidman--"I remember we were playing the Bears my first or second year at Green Bay. We were ahead by three points and it's about three minutes to go in the half. Blood calls a long pass down the field to him. (Milt) Gantenbein says, 'I'm the captain, no, we're not going to run it.' Blood says, 'No, we're going to run it.' So he tells (Arnie) Herber, 'Throw it to the right of the goal post crossbar high.' Blood ran down, had three men hanging on him and caught it for a touchdown. He came into the dressing room and said, 'You have to give these people their money's worth. They paid a lot of money for these tickets.' What was it, maybe $3 in those days?"

On Blood's athletic ability:

Schneidman--"He was a brilliant, great athlete, but you didn't know what the hell he was going to do. There was only one Blood. He could play anything. He was fast. He had guts. He liked to drink. The year I went there, he had been kicked off the team. We trained up in Rhinelander and played four exhibition games in four different towns before we came back to Green Bay. Every time we went into play, Blood was on the other team and was the star of the game. So we got back to Green Bay and Blood was back on the team."

On Blood becoming head coach of Pittsburgh and holding training camp in Two Rivers:

Schneidman--"We went over to see (Walt) Kiesling (assistant coach) and he says, 'Blood sent me a telegraph that he was coming in late.' He said, 'LOOK UP COOK AND START PRACTICE.' Kiesling said, 'I looked all over town and there was nobody by the name of Cook in the whole damn town.' The next night, he came over and said, 'I found out who Cook was. We were supposed to eat in the basement of a church and I was supposed to find somebody to do the cooking.' But Blood had disappeared. They didn't know where he was."

On the Packers playing Pittsburgh in a preseason doubleheader in Green Bay in 1939 when Blood was coaching:

Schneidman--"They played short games. (Art) Rooney was buying the beer for both teams after the game at a nightclub downtown."

On Hall of Famer Cal Hubbard, who also was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as an umpire:

Schneidman--"Cal Hubbard was a heck of a man. If you had a question, he'd sit down and explain the answer. The top referee in the league was out of Chicago (Bobby Cahn) and Cal would lean on one knee and the top referee would come up and say, 'Cal, what's the rule on that?' He'd (Hubbard) quote the rulebook word for word. He was really good. Big and fast. He was All-Pro. There was no doubt about that."

On Hall of Famer Mike Michalske:

Schneidman--"He was like our coach. If you really wanted to know something, he was the guy you went to. He was on our board of strategy. If you had trouble with something and wanted to know how to handle it, he'd be the guy you'd go to. Lambeau would say we need a couple new plays and Mike would suggest something. They wouldn't say much about it. But when we started practicing on Tuesdays, the things Mike would suggest would be put in by Lambeau."(Schneidman said Lambeau had five or six players on his board of strategy.)

On Hall of Famer Arnie Herber:

Schneidman--"One year … (we had) a big tackle, Leo Katalinas. He was a Golden Glove champion; I think of Washington, D.C. Anyway, he joined the team and looked around and said, 'I think I can whip anybody on this team.' So the first game, we're leaving (on the train). Herber is playing cards and full of beer. Something happens in the smoker and so he says to this big tackle, 'You did it. I'm going to get you.' They start fighting and finally work their way halfway down the sleeper. Herber throws a right and breaks a bone in his hand. He's out about six weeks. We had a lousy year that year. But (Herber) liked to fight."

On Herber's passing ability:

Schneidman--"I have small hands and his hands were no larger than mine. He put the thumb on the lace of the ball instead of the four fingers. And he could hit a dime 50 yards away."

On comparing Herber as a passer to teammate Cecil Isbell:

Schneidman--"They were completely different. Isbell threw a different kind of pass. I think Isbell's was a little faster, more of a direct pass. Herber's would hang out there."

On Dave Woodward, the Packers' first official athletic trainer:

Schneidman--"He was a heck of a guy. He brought a little machine with him that had a positive pole and a negative pole. You'd lie on the table and put the negative pole on your back and then take the positive pole and it would work every muscle in your arm or leg or back. In two days time, he'd have you running."

On playing blocking back:

Schneidman--"We didn't get much publicity. I liked it. I always thought I was a team man."

On the "Notre Dame Box" offense:

Schneidman--"You had more passing under the "Notre Dame Box" than the single wing."

On where the players lived in Green Bay in the 1930s:

Schneidman--"If you made $150 a week, you stayed at the (Hotel) Northland. A few of the married ones had apartments. But most of the players stayed at the Astor Hotel. It was like a traveling man's hotel, second rate. But it was clean and they took good care of you. If you had a button off one of your shirts, one of the girls behind the desk would sew it on for you."

On his salary:

Schneidman--"My first year I made $85 (a game)."

Schneidman died in 2008 at age 95. These excerpts were taken from interviews conducted in 2000, 2001, 2003 and a lengthy one in 2006 at the Sunset Nursing Home in Quincy, Ill.

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