McNally is talland lean. He has a strong face and untroubled eyes and a good head of iron-grayhair. He looks like a scholar or a poet or a contemplative monk in mufti. Inrepose, he is a picture of utter relaxation and, moving about, he suggests theeffortless coordination of a cat. Ordinarily, he speaks quietly and briefly, asthough words were not things to be wasted. On occasion, he is not so frugalwith them. In his time, he has drawn street-corner crowds with rousingrecitations of Kipling and has silenced soapbox orators with strange but oddlyplausible arguments for or against any proposition under discussion.
Candidate John F.Kennedy met him for the first time in Green Bay, during the Wisconsin primarycampaign. "Your name," said Senator Kennedy, "was a household wordin our home." After the election, President Kennedy greeted McNally againat a White House reception which he attended in the company of his friend ByronWhite, then deputy attorney general, now a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Before thatevening at the White House, McNally had been around a bit. He had taughthistory and economics at his alma mater, St. John's University in Minnesota. Hehad entered the University of Minnesota to study for his master's degree at theage of 50. He had started writing a book on economics, a work still inprogress. He had read law as a clerk in his uncle's law firm. He had run(unsuccessfully) for sheriff of St. Croix County, Wis., on a platform promisinghonest wrestling. He had been an Air Force staff sergeant and cryptographer inIndia and China during World War II. He had done a few things calling for lessintellectual challenge. He had tended bar in Shanty Malone's place in SanFrancisco. He had been a stickman, a croupier, in a gambling house. He had beena seaman, a newspaper stereotyper, a miner, a farmhand, a feed salesman, afloor waxer, a sportswriter, a hotel desk clerk, a pick-and-shovel worker on aWPA project in Los Angeles during the Depression. He had spent a night in jailin Havana for fistfighting over a matter of principle. He had walked out of ahotel in Atlantic City wearing four shirts and two suits and had settled hisbill by mail later on.
In between allthis, he had played some football—a lot of extraordinary football—and it wasthe kind of football he played that Jed to his election (along with Jim Thorpe,Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, Cal Hubbard and a dozen others) as a chartermember of pro football's Hall of Fame which will be dedicated September 7 atCanton, Ohio, the birthplace of the National Football League.
September 1, 1963
His full name, asentered in the records at Canton, is John Victor McNally. If it rings no bell,then for John Victor McNally read Johnny Blood—the name he used when he was ahousehold word with the teen-age Kennedy boys, the name of the legendaryhalfback who scored 37 touchdowns and 224 points during his career with theGreen Bay Packers and helped them win four NFL championships. As Johnny Blood,he played all around the pro circuit and served three seasons as player-coachof the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team for which he once signed his friend,Whizzer White.
"I guess youcould say," Justice White said recently, "that if it were not forJohnny Blood's persuasiveness, I would not have played professional football.We played together only a year, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but we have keptin close touch ever since.
"He was agreat teammate. A cheerful fellow, friendly off the field. Nothing fazed him.Sometimes, although he was player-coach, he might miss a practice and explainnext day that he had been to the library. He was a fine defense man. He wasfast. I tried all season to beat him at 100 yards and couldn't. He was a greatreceiver. He thought there wasn't a ball in the air he couldn't catch. I valuehim as a friend as much as I admired him as a player."
Don Hutson, aHall of Fame man and Johnny Blood's teammate with the Packers, has said ofhim:
"I never sawa fellow who could turn a ball game around as quickly as Johnny Blood. When hecame into a game, the whole attitude of the players changed. He had completeconfidence in himself. He had tremendous football sense."
A man who hasseen all the great backs, from Johnny Blood to Jimmy Taylor of today's GreenBay Packers, said:
"Johnny Bloodwas one of the last great individualists of the football field when it wasstill called a gridiron. Like Red Grange, Bo McMillin and Jimmy Conzelman, hehad the speed, the change of pace, the swivel hips and the quick eyes to breakloose on his own and run through the opposition, whereas today's great backslargely depend on perfect execution of well-drilled blackboard plays laid outby their coaches. Johnny Blood could improvise, make up plays on the spot asthe occasion demanded. I don't suppose this always made a hit with his coach,but his performance did."
The exploits ofJohnny Blood McNally on and off the field during a professional career thatspanned 22 seasons were often as wild as they were unpredictable, and yet therewas a weird thread of logic running through them. There was the time, forinstance, when the Packers were in Los Angeles for a game, and Johnny foundhimself in need of funds. He approached Coach Curly Lambeau (also a chartermember of the Hall of Fame at Canton) in the hotel lobby and stated his case.Lambeau not only refused to advance him 10¢, he said he was retiring to hiseighth floor room and locking himself in for the night. If Johnny came to hisdoor, he declared, he would not let him in.
Johnny pondered,pacing the lobby. He reviewed the facts. He had asked and had been refused. Butdoes a man take no for an answer without making certain that the other partyfully understands the urgency of the matter? Johnny decided that his coach mustbe made to listen again. But he had said that he would not open his door. Theanswer, by all rules of logic, must be found in another method of approach. Thedoor would be locked, but had anything been said about the window?
Johnny hurried tothe elevators and rode up to the eighth floor. He found a door leading to afire escape and then determined that by making his way along a ledge, he couldput himself within a mere five or six feet of Coach Lambeau's window. He movedconfidently along the ledge until he was in position. He looked down to thecourtyard eight floors below. He balanced himself, placing his hands behindhim, palms against the wall. He bent his knees slightly and was about to leapwhen the voice of a teammate rang out from a window two floors below.
"Is that youup there, Johnny Blood?" cried the teammate.
"Thesame," answered Johnny.
"Dear God inHeaven," shouted the teammate, "what are you going to do,Johnny?"
"Coach wantsto see me," Johnny called back. "Told me to drop in and talk over amatter of business." With that he jumped, landed neatly on the windowledge, threw up the half-open window and presented himself to Coach Lambeau whofell back, clutching his heart.
"I thoughtthat perhaps I didn't make myself clear, Coach," said Johnny, "aboutthat advance I asked for. Now the fact is—"
Curly Lambeaustaggered to the chair where his trousers hung. He thrust a hand in a pocketand pulled out a wad of bills.
"Take it,take it!" he cried. "Take it and go. Go where you want, JohnnyBlood."
"Thank you,Coach," said Johnny politely. "I knew we could come to an understandingonce we talked things over in a calm, reasonable way."
"Justgo," groaned Curly. "Go, please go."
Johnny went tothe door, turned the lock and opened it.
"Have a goodnight's sleep, Coach," he said, closing the door behind him.
Although thatstory is vouched for by Curly Lambeau himself, the legend that has grown uparound Johnny Blood is so filled with truths and half-truths and no truth atall that it is necessary to try to grasp a few facts of record and hold fast tothem. Throw out the fable that he once stayed up an entire night in a bar andengaged in a toe-to-toe Shakespearean performance with John Barrymore. He nevermet Barrymore in his life. Nor did he ever heckle a nightclub comedian and thentake over the spotlight to put on an impromptu show of his own. To be sure, hedid dance a jig on the football field as the band played Piccolo Pete. Butsportswriters invented scores of other tales, because they knew that Johnnywould not bother to deny them.
One truth is thatJohnny is not an easy man to catch up with. His home is the house where he wasborn, in New Richmond, Wis., but he is seldom there long, for he roams thecountry, visiting old friends, making new ones out of anyone who has somethinginteresting to say, rarely staying in any one place for long. People meetinghim for the first time usually want to know exactly how scholarly John McNallybecame the Johnny Blood of legend, the hell-raisingest, most excitinglycolorful player on and off the field that the professional game has everseen.
He was capturedfor a little while on the evening of last New Year's Day. That afternoon he hadseen the University of Wisconsin lose a thriller to USC in the Rose Bowl. Twodays before, he had watched the Packers beat the Giants in New York. He hadhoped to witness a complete sweep, professional and collegiate, for the teamsrepresenting his home state. Now he sat in the cocktail lounge of theAmbassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He rattled the ice cubes in his empty glass(he rarely drinks before sundown) and called to a passing waiter his standardorder for another Scotch and water. "A man," he said, "could die ofthirst in a place like this." The waiter looked back and smiled andnodded.
The usualquestion was asked.
"How did Ibecome Johnny Blood? I think some background should be given here. I was smallas a kid in New Richmond. Precocious, I suppose, a quick study. I graduatedfrom high school when I was 14. I had been too small to participate in any kindof athletics. Unless you count climbing. I loved to climb things. Trees,telephone poles, the outside of houses. This addiction stayed with me in laterlife. Once I went to visit a friend in the hospital. It was after visitinghours, and I was turned away on the ground floor. So I went around the back andclimbed up to my friend's room on the third floor and went in through thewindow. My friend seemed to be greatly cheered by the visit. I not only likedto climb up, I liked to climb down. One time when I was playing with ErnieNevers' Eskimos, I was giving a poetry reading on the street outside our hotel.The team manager came along, took me by the arm, escorted me to my room andlocked me in. My room was on the sixth floor. It was child's play for me to goout the window and back down to the street and pick up my recitation at thepoint where it had been interrupted.
"Getting backto my boyhood, my parents thought I was too young to go away to college at 14.So I stayed home and learned to type and studied commercial subjects. I read agood deal. I remember that it was in those days I first read about Cincinnatus,the Roman general who would farm his land until war came, then would lead histroops to victory and go back to farming again. I made him my hero and, as Igrew older, I realized that what Cincinnatus was, was a clutch hirer. I'm agreat admirer of clutch hitters."
(Cal Hubbard, theAmerican League's chief of umpires and also a Hall of Fame man, picked analltime pro team some years ago. He did not pick Johnny Blood, but he said thatif he could have had a 12th player—the equivalent of a clutch hitter inbaseball—Johnny Blood would have been his man.)
The waiter setdown a fresh Scotch and water.
"When I was17," Johnny went on, "I entered St. John's, a Benedictine college nearCollegeville, Minn. Suddenly, I started to grow like a weed. I went out for allsports—football, baseball, track, basketball. I guess I was St. John's firstfour-letter man. St. John's was a two-year college then, but I stayed on doingsome postgraduate study for a year and then decided I wanted to finish up atNotre Dame."
And so you laterbecame known as Johnny Blood, "a vagabond halfback from Notre Dame?"That was in TIME magazine.
"Time erred.I was neither Johnny Blood nor a halfback at Notre Dame. And I was not yet avagabond. I went out for the freshman squad—although I was actually ajunior—and they put me at tackle. I didn't like that. A tackle's job is to makebody contact; a ballcarrier's job is to avoid it. I was fast, and I wanted tobe a halfback."
What happenedwhen you became eligible for the varsity the following year?
"I wasn'taround the following year. I was suspended from Notre Dame in the spring of1924 for absenting myself from the campus, along with some classmates whosenames I refused to reveal. It was just as well that I didn't stay and try outfor the varsity. I would have been competing with Don Miller of the FourHorsemen for the right halfback position in that great backfield."
Still, suspensionfrom college is a traumatic experience for a boy. Were you ashamed? Did youfeel disgraced? Did you go to the authorities, fall to your knees and begforgiveness, plead for reinstatement?
"No, I boughta motorcycle. I was just learning to drive it fairly well, when I happened toattend a party in South Bend. There was a girl there, and we got to talking. Itold her that I had purchased a motorcycle and was planning a tour of theeastern seaboard. Two of my sisters were sailing for Europe, and I wanted to bein New York to wish them bon voyage."
Your devotion toyour sisters doubtless impressed the girl at the party. Possibly you wereattracted to her as well. Did you see this girl again?
"I did. Onthe back seat of my motorcycle. She confided to me that she was married to asailor who was due to sail from Norfolk on a battleship, and she was mostanxious to wish him bon voyage. So we set out. We spent a night in Chicagositting on a park bench to conserve funds for fuel. Then we paid a visit to herfamily in Fort Wayne, Ind. Her parents approved of the motorcycle tour, withoutreservation, and so we set off in the general direction of Norfolk."
The girl on theback seat of the motorcycle?
"Correct. Weran out of money at Washington, Pa. The girl suggested hocking her watch andher wedding ring. I concurred and promised to redeem them later. I did redeemthem. Well, at any rate, we got to Norfolk and found her husband's battleshiphad sailed. The girl was distraught. She had no place to stay, and I was due inNew York. So I took her to a YWCA, explained our predicament to a nice lady incharge, and she agreed to let the girl stay until I could send her money to gohome on. Which, fortunately, I was able to do."
And you drove offalone to wish your-sisters bon voyage in New York?
"That'sright. Unfortunately, however, my motorcycle broke down several times along theway. I borrowed some money from a cousin in Baltimore and pressed on, but I wasunable to reach New York before my sisters' ship sailed. Happily, I had anothersister at Radcliffe, so I drove to Boston, called upon her, wished her well andborrowed some money for fuel. At my sister's suggestion, I also wrote home andasked that a small sum be deposited in my checking account, which had beendrained completely enroute to Washington, Pa.
"All beingwell at Radcliffe, I decided to start back to Wisconsin. My motorcycle brokedown at Sandusky, Ohio. Luckily, I remembered that the Four Horsemen of NotreDame had summer jobs in a resort there. I looked up Harry Stuhldreher, remindedhim that I had written his poetry for him when we were in Father Carroll'spoetry class at Notre Dame and asked him to cash a check. Harry was happy tooblige. I got the motorcycle fixed, and it performed magnificently until Iarrived at Amherst Junction, Wis., where it collapsed completely, beyondrepair. I abandoned it and caught a freight train for New Richmond. I rode theblinds. Older hoboes will remember the blinds as the space between the coaltender and the baggage car." He raised his voice: "A man coulddie—." The waiter, standing by, nodded understandingly.
This is allleading up to the story of how John McNally became Johnny Blood?
"It is. Backhome again, I decided to go to work. One of my uncles was owner and publisherof the Minneapolis Tribune, and another uncle was in charge of the mechanicaldepartment. In the company of a former classmate from St. John's, Ralph Hanson,I went to the newspaper and asked for a job. Ralph and I were put to work inthe stereotyping department. We hadn't been working long when we read that aprofessional football league was being formed in Minneapolis and that the East26th Street Liberties were conducting tryouts. Ralph and I decided to try out,but we agreed that since we both had a year of collegiate eligibility left, wewould do well to try out under assumed names."
The waiter putdown a glass.
"Check,please," said John McNally. "Well, sir, we tried to think of names, butwe couldn't think of any we liked. We were still pondering the problem as werode out to the ball park where the tryouts were being held. Along the way, wepassed a theater. The marquee advertised a Rudolph Valentino picture calledBlood and Sand. I grabbed Ralph's arm. 'There are our names,' I said. 'I'll beBlood and you be Sand.' "
And that was thestart of your professional career?
"I made theteam, yes. I had a very good year. The East 26th Street Liberties won the citychampionship. I then moved on to a team that was being formed at Ironwood,Mich. From there I jumped to Milwaukee, and then I got an offer to join ErnieNevers in Duluth. Then I went to Pottsville, Pa. and finally was signed by thePackers. In my negotiations with Curly Lambeau, I asked for $100 a game. Hecame back with an offer of $110 a game, providing I would initial a clause inthe contract forbidding any drinking after Tuesday of each week. I counteredwith an offer to take the $100 I had proposed and drink through Wednesday.Curly agreed."
Johnny BloodMcNally finished his drink and got up. "Excuse me," he said, "I amflying to San Francisco to see Shanty Malone." He waved a hand and wasgone.
Months later,Johnny Blood sat at a table in Dinty Moore's Restaurant in New York.
"I foundShanty Malone looking very well, still merry-eyed and curly-haired," hesaid. "I hadn't seen him since 1947. We recalled the old days, startingwith the night Shanty knocked on the door of my hotel room, a perfect stranger,and invited me to join him in a drink at a nearby speakeasy. He was a greatfootball fan. Our friendship prospered, and Shanty was there in the clutch whenI was caught in San Francisco between seasons without funds. It was then that Iwent to work for him as a bartender."
Does Shanty stillhave a bar?
"Oh yes. Hehas moved several times, but all his places have been pretty much the same asfar as atmosphere is concerned. Genteel, in a sort of knock-down-and-drag-outway. Shanty himself is a working philosopher. We discussed some of the greateternal questions, as we had done in the past."
Do you recall anyparticular eternal question?
Johnny Bloodpushed back his plate and ordered some coffee. "Yes. One question wediscussed has been on my mind for years. It was posed to me when I was coachingthe Pittsburgh Steelers. Just before the start of the season it becamenecessary for me to cut four men from the squad. I hated to do it. But I toldthe boys that I had heard of an independent pro team being organized in St.Louis. I suggested that they go there and try out. I persuaded Art Rooney,owner of the Steelers, to advance money enough to get them to St. Louis. Well,the boys went out, worked hard to make the team, but all four failed. They sentme a wire after their release. It read, simply, 'Where to now, Coach?' I didn'tknow the answer. In the large sense, does anybody?"
Johnny Blood tooka sip of coffee and declined a cigarette. He looked around Dinty Moore'sRestaurant. "This old place," he said, "hasn't changed a bit sincethe Packers used to eat here back in the '30s."
He was silent fora moment, and then he went on: "I saw a lot of old friends on the Coast. Iplayed golf with Ernie Nevers."
Do you considerNevers the greatest football player of all time, as some people say?
"Well, PopWarner said that under his system, Ernie was better than Jim Thorpe. That'spretty high praise, but the peculiarities of the Warner system required thefullback to be the absolute core of the team. He did the signal calling, thepassing, the kicking, the spinning and the ball carrying. It was a system thatdepended utterly on the fullback. Ernie certainly met the test for thatposition under the Warner system better than anybody else. He certainly was thegreatest of the Pop Warner fullbacks, and he was at least the equal of any ofthe greatest fullbacks of all time.
"Ernie and Italked about the days when we played 60-minute football, the days before theplatoon system. We were proud to stay in there for the full distance. If wecouldn't stay in there, we felt that we did not measure up. I think present-dayplayers miss that full-time effort, although today's game is better for thespectators. What really created modern football was the platoon system and theslow-motion camera. The camera showed the coaches things they didn't knowbefore. They knew in detail what every man did right and wrong. This helpedthem to coach more effectively. Now the player knows that the coach is seeingevery detail of the action in slow motion and so, playing this part-timefootball, he is giving his maximum effort every minute. I used to say in theold days that the only thing wrong with pro football was that the stadiums weretoo small. That turned out to be a pretty good diagnosis in view of the way thegame has caught on with the fans. It's a great show. It's dead on the level,you can't fake it, and it's all out there in front of you."
You couldn'tthrow a game?
"You couldthrow it, but it would be obvious to everybody in the stadium."
What aboutplayers betting on games, as happened last season?
"Well, thatcan't be tolerated today. Frankly, in the old days, we all bet on the games.But we bet on ourselves to win. I never heard of a player betting against hisown team." He glanced at his wristwatch, touched his napkin to his lips andgot up from the table.
"I have torun. I am on a tour, inspecting lighthouses from Florida to the Canadianborder. I am very much interested in lighthouses. My favorite is at CapeHatteras."
How did youbecome interested in lighthouses?
"I used to gowith a lighthouse keeper's daughter." He walked out the door.
One day lastsummer, Johnny Blood sat on a park bench opposite the White House.
"I have beenvisiting Justice White in his office at the Supreme Court," he said,"and he told me he had been invited [he later accepted] to present myplaque at the Hall of Fame dedication ceremonies in Canton."
That would behighly appropriate, since you signed Whizzer—Mr. Justice White, that is—for thePittsburgh Steelers. Exactly how did that come about?
"Well, ofcourse, every pro team was anxious to get Whizzer. He was an All-America at theUniversity of Colorado, and the kind of player we all knew would make thetransition to professional football without any difficulty. Art Rooney, theowner of the Steelers, was particularly anxious to get him. He sent me toBoulder to have a talk with Whizzer.
"Whizzer saidhe couldn't possibly turn pro. He had a Rhodes scholarship, and he wanted to goto Oxford more than anything else, especially since his brother had been therebefore him. I used my best salesmanship, but I saw that nothing could changehis mind, and so I reported back to Art Rooney.
"With Whiteeliminated, we went into the draft meeting with the idea of claiming a boy fromDuquesne, if we had the chance, as the third team in the draft selections. Butthe Duquesne boy was claimed ahead of us, and I turned to Art Rooney and said,'Who do we pick now?' Rooney said, 'Pick Whizzer White.' I told him Whitewouldn't accept a draft. Rooney said, 'Pick him anyway. I'll offer him so muchmoney he can't refuse. I'll offer him $15,000.' So I picked White. When Icalled him and made the offer, Whizzer said the money did interest him, but theRhodes scholarship interested him a great deal more. His answer was stillno."
Johnny stared offin the direction of the White House. "Do you know," he said, "thatGreen Bay claims to have invented touch football? I guess a lot of other townsclaim the same thing. But I wouldn't be surprised if it began in Green Bay. ThePackers were always a passing team and still are. It makes sense that the fansand the kids would work out a passing game."
You still haven'tsigned Whizzer White for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Oh, yes.Well, Whizzer had been thinking things over. He had made some inquiries. He hadlearned that he could delay his entrance at Oxford until January, untilwhatever they call the second semester over there. Art Rooney and I were inAtlantic City one evening, and a call came through from Whizzer for me.'Johnny,' he said, 'Is that $15,000 offer still good?' I said it sure was.Whizzer explained about the Oxford situation and said he would report. He did,and he was everything we hoped for and more. He led the league in yardagegained."
When did you hearthat you were picked for the Hall of Fame in Canton?
"Well, I hadheard rumors from sportswriters, but the official word came last January when Iwas visiting Curly Lambeau at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. We read the newsin the Los Angeles papers. We were both very proud that, with Cal Hubbard, DonHutson, Curly and myself, the Green Bay Packers had four men in the firstcontingent. I told Curly that I felt my reputation for so-called color probablywas what influenced the sportswriters and broadcasters in voting me in as acharter member. Curly was kind. He said I had more than so-called color, and heprayed that the saints would preserve him from any more of that."
What is your ownestimate of yourself as a player, Johnny Blood?
"Well, Ialways figured I was a pretty fair all-round back. I could kick with almostanybody. I wasn't a real good thrower, but in my time I guess I was as good areceiver as there was around—the best, maybe, until Don Hutson came along. Somepeople said I was the fastest man in the league until Hutson, who was a 9.6 manin college. I could carry weight—I mean the weight of equipment. Lots of greatsprinters can't carry weight. I don't know—I was said to be an imaginativesignal caller. I called signals for three championship teams. I scored 13touchdowns for the Packers in 1931, and that was a record for the time. Butthere were an awful lot of good men. I still say the electors were influencedby the so-called color of the so-called Vagabond Halfback."
Which youweren't, you said.
"I said Iwasn't a Vagabond Halfback from Notre Dame. Ollie Kuechle, sports editor of theMilwaukee Journal, first called me a vagabond. There's a story connected withthat. I was leaving New Richmond to report to the Packers one year and, assometimes happened, I decided to ride the blinds on a freight-and-passengertrain. Now, there was no direct train from New Richmond to Green Bay, but therewas a connection at Amherst Junction. The connection got in and left a fewminutes before the New Richmond train, unless a wire was received requesting itto wait for passengers. Before taking the freight, I sent such a wire and, whenwe got to Amherst Junction, the Green Bay train was waiting. I hopped off theblinds of one train and onto the blinds of the other. Along the way, thebaggage-car door opened and the baggageman looked out and saw me. He said, 'Isthat you, Johnny Blood?' I said yes. He said, 'Did you send that wire tellingus to hold for a passenger?' I confessed that I was the party. He shook hishead, but he invited me into the car, loaned me his razor and gave me half hislunch.
"Well, OllieKuechle heard about the incident. He told Curly he was writing a story aboutthe Packers' Hobo Halfback. Curly was very proud of the Packers, and he askedOllie if he couldn't avoid suggesting that the team employed hoboes. Olliethought awhile and then proposed vagabond. Curly thought that sounded much moredignified. And that's the way it came out in the Journal and was reprinted allaround the league."
Johnny Blood gotup from the bench and stretched.
Where to now,Coach?
"I am goingto the University of Maine to observe the solar eclipse. Then I plan to visitthe baseball shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y. and see what a Hall of Fame lookslike."
Before you go,Coach, would you mind a few personal questions?
You are notmarried?
"I wasmarried for 10 years. We came to a parting of the ways. But I have nothing butthe highest admiration for the state of matrimony."
You move around agood deal. This takes money, Coach.
"Well, I havea competence from a trust fund."
What would yougive as your occupation?
"Reading,studying, writing. Meditating. Once meditation was an honorable occupation.Today, it would appear on a police blotter as a form of vagrancy, Isuppose."
Could you givejust one sample subject of your meditation?
"Moby Dick. Ithink the whale could think. He could read your mind. Captain Ahab, anotherhero of mine, did not realize this; so he had the courage of ignorance,comparable, I should say, to the courage of a fullback playing his first seasonof professional football. He hurls himself against the line. But go back andlook at him at the age of 30. He will not be hitting the line with quite thesame abandon. For the courage of ignorance, he has substituted the restraint,the caution of a little wisdom."
Johnny BloodMcNally is obviously pleased and certainly very proud to be included in thefirst band of heroes whose heads have been sculptured and cast in bronze andwill be placed on display in the Hall of Fame. In his wanderings up and downthe land, meditating as he goes, he probably asks himself from time to time thequestion a horrified teammate called to him as he perched on a ledge eightfloors up many years ago. The answer should come easy, even if he insists thathe is the least worthy of the heroes who will look down on the pilgrims atCanton. For just as it was when Coach Curly Lambeau saw the figure come throughhis hotel window, it is Johnny Blood up there, this time up there to stay.