The 60's NFL Greats Who Played at Wrigley Field

Ron NelsonGuest ColumnistJune 27, 2011

The 60's NFL Greats Who Played at Wrigley Field

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    The Chicago Bears played a long time at Wrigley Field, from 1921 through 1970, and many of the greats played there. I was on the sidelines as a photographer during the 1960s when some classic matchups took place in the Friendly Confines. 

    Here are some of my favorite photographs from my book Pro Football at Wrigley Field.

    If you ever attended a football game at Wrigley, you will enjoy the book as it brings back the memories.

    Lead photo: George Halas and Vince Lombardi before a Bears/Packers game.

Dick Butkus Blocking a Bart Starr Pass at Wrigley Field

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    Butkus leaps to try and block a Bart Starr pass.  Another classic game at Wrigley.  No doubt Dick Butkus was probably one of the hardest-hitting linebackers to ever play the game.  Dick and Ray Nitschke on the same field at the same time—what a defense you got to see during that matchup.

Gale Sayers against the Detroit Lions

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    Gale Sayers, led by Jim Cadile, starts out around the right end.

    "The Kansas Comet" could really get going once he hit the line of scrimmage.  You had to get him in the backfield because otherwise he was gone.  Gale Sayers, who spent his entire career with the Bears, was one of the greatest running backs to ever play in the NFL.

Ronnie Bull and the '63 Championship Bears

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    Here's one, Chicago Bear's Ronnie Bull.

    Bull started at halfback and was named the 1962 UPI NFL-NFC Rookie of the Year.  After the Bears drafted Gale Sayers, Ronnie moved to fullback and opened a lot of holes for Sayers to go through.  As part of the '63 championship team, he played a big part on the team's run to the championship game with the Giants

    You will enjoy the forward in my book and his comments on the days the Bears played at Wrigley.

Jon Arnett and Roman Gabriel of the Rams with Bill George and Ed O'Bradovich

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    Roman Gabriel and Jon Arnett of the Rams during a snowy day at Wrigley.

Keeping It Loose Before the Game, Brian Piccolo Gets Rosey Taylor Laughing.

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    Brian Piccolo was a great team mate and kept things loose on the sidelines. Here he is probably giving Rosey Tayor a bad time about covering one of the Green Bay receivers.

The Players Favorite Coach-Abe Gibron

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    One of the most popular Coaches to follow George Halas was Abe Gibron. A great line man and Coach, Abe was a legend for the "pig roast" he had when training camp ended. Many a former player has great stories to tell about Abe. The league could use a few more like him today.

St. Louis Cardinal Quarterback Jim Hart

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    The Cards left Chicago and moved to St. Louis.  The rivalry was as hard-fought as ever.  Jim Hart was a favorite in Chicago.  Here, he drops back with some pretty good protection.

Green Bay and the Great Offense of Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor

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    One of the most potent offensive teams during the '60s, the Packers take a breather during a timeout.

Ray NItschke Makes a Hole and Heads for the QB

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    The great Hall of Fame linebacker usually made it a long day for the Bear line and also anyone who got in his way. More holding, face mask grabbing, went on in those days and the officials couldn't call em all. They pretty much just let them play ball.

Mike Ditka and the Detroit Lions

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    Ditka pretty much invented the tight end position.  He had great hands and was really tough to bring down once he got the ball.  Mike didn't mind doing a little blocking either.  A great combo with wide receiver Johnnie Morris.

George Allen and His Chicago Bear Defense

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    George Allen played a big role in developing the Bear Defense that took them to the 1963 Championship. After that winning season he left to become the Coach of the L.A. Rams and the Washington Redskins.

Bobby Douglas Warms Up the Arm

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    Bobby Douglas not only could throw the ball a mile he rushed for over 1000 yards one year. Tough to bring down and a real threat to score.  A fan favorite at Wrigley Field.

Bill Wade Quarterback of the 63 Champs

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    Bill Wade was a great field general and ran the offense with a great supporting cast of Ditka and Johnnie Morris.  Running backs Ronnie Bull and Ric Caseras added to his arsenal of weapons.  There were many outstanding players on the 63 team and all made contributions.

Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke of Green Bay and Johnnie Morris of the Bears

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    Johnnie Morris breaks loose in the end zone against Willie Wood and Ray Nitshcke of the Packers.  Morris and Mike Ditka were a potent combination and helped achieve the 1963 championship for the Bears.

The Baltimore Colts and Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas

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    Johnny Unitas, with his famous high-top shoes, dropping back behind that great Baltimore Colts line.  Classic battles against two legendary teams of the '60s, the Colts and the Bears.

Gino Marchetti of the Baltimore Colts Tries To Get to Rudy Bukich of the Bears

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    "Rudy the Rifle" stands in there under a great rush by Gino Marchetti of the Colts.

Bart Starr and the Bears Defense

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    The Bear/Packer games usually left a number of players on the injured list.  Here, Bart heads for the smelling salts after getting a hard hit by the Bear defense.  Bart was one of the best, and Bear fans appreciated his talents.  More often than not, he was the winning QB at Wrigley.

The Bears Larry Morris Charging Milt Plumb of the Detroit Lions

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    Larry Morris was part of a great linebacking trio.  Bill George (in the middle) flanked by Joe Fortuanto and Larry.  Here, Larry is about to get a sack on the Detroit quarterback.

Detroit and the Bears at Wrigley

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    The Lions are pinned down in their own end zone.  The ball is out, and I am not sure who recovered the fumble. 

    I like the photo as it shows the late-afternoon sun coming in.  Wrigley was a great place to shoot.

New York Giants Defend the End Zone

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    The Giants and the Bears were always bitter rivals.  Here, the defense swarms to the right as the Bears head for the end zone.  No doubt a Sayers sweep was coming their way. 

Fran Tarkenton and the New York Giants

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    After a stint with the Vikings, Fran went to New York and played for the Giants.  He was always driving the Bear defense crazy with his scrambling.

Alan Page of the Vikings at Wrigley Field

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    Alan Page of the Vikings about to sack Virgil Carter of the Bears. 

     

    Purchasing my book and images:

    You can purchase my book Pro Football at Wrigley Field from Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

    The book is a paperback 8.5x11 and 106 pages.  Quotes by Mike Ditka, Ed O'Bradovich, Doug Buffone, Gale Sayers, Mike Pyle and Maury Youmans and a forward by Ronnie Bull.  Text by Beth Gorr.

    For images, check out prairiestreetart.com.

    For different sizes, please contact me.

    Thanks, Ron Nelson