Throwback Thursday, #20 Edition

This post is not about recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ed Reed.

The late Frank Robinson (who also wore Number 20) appeared in a dream once again. He visited me in the hospital (?!) and seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being. When he asked how I was doing, all I could say was, “I don’t know.”



See the source image

From a picture of Frank Robinson.


From the sublime to the slime…If one were to grab a male Baltimore native aged 50 or older and ask who were the three most evil people in history, he might very well answer: Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Robert Irsay. (Don’t ask me why I am writing about this today because I don’t know.)

I had a friend (remember that I was born and raised in Baltimore and was a die-hard Colts fan) who defended Irsay’s moving the Colts to Indianapolis and continued to root for the team after the move. This (former) friend was the ultimate knee-jerk contrarian and I believe that was his way because he felt that made him smarter than others or more special than others. Being a knee-jerk contrarian is no more profound or insightful than being a knee-jerk conformist.

This friend also used to deny what a miserable excuse for a human being Irsay was. Well, here is a long excerpt from a Chicago Tribune story from 1986:


“But even worse, Indianapolis got Robert Irsay, the rich Chicagoan who owns the team.”

“Irsay has long had a reputation in Chicago as a loudmouthed boor and braggart. And in football as one of the biggest bumblers in the game–a millionaire who treats a team like his personal toy and his players and coaches as disposable slaves.”

“Of course, being a loudmouthed boor and braggart is not unusual in Chicago. Just look at some of our biggest civic and political leaders. But now we learn that those are among Irsay`s teeniest imperfections. In its current issue, Sports Illustrated prints a meticulously detailed story of the grubby life and times of Bob Irsay.”

“It says that he . . . that he . . . well, there`s so much, I`m not really sure where to start.”

“I mean, what are we to think of a guy whose own mother, at age 84, is quoted as saying about her son:

”’He`s a devil on Earth, that one. He stole all our money and said goodbye.'” [emphasis mine]

“Irsay`s mom was referring to how, as a young man, Irsay got his start toward becoming Chicago`s biggest sheet-metal contractor and a financial wheeler-dealer.”

“His mother, his own brother and others say he did it by quitting his father`s sheet-metal company, taking away customers and employees and eventually driving his old man out of business.”

“As his younger brother put it: ”Bob actually worked to destroy his own father. Oh, he`s a real sweetheart all right.'”

“Then there`s his military record. Irsay has occasionally boasted about his wartime exploits. In interviews, he`s told of being injured by a Japanese grenade on New Guinea and being discharged as a commissioned officer.”

“Many of us like to talk about our wartime injuries. I`ve often told my kids how I wrenched my back when I got stewed and rolled out of an upper bunk. But the magazine checked Irsay`s version with the Pentagon. True, he was a marine. But the Japanese soldier who tossed the grenade must have had an incredible arm, since military records show that Irsay never left the states. And he was discharged as an enlisted man.”

“The magazine also looked into Irsay`s frequent boast that he played Big 10 football at the University of Illinois while getting a degree in electrical engineering. All this while waiting on tables at a frat house to work his way through school because his family was poor. Being a former Big 10 football player has given Irsay the aura of having knowledge of the game.”

“But the magazine found that Irsay didn`t play football. Nor did he get a degree. And while he went to Illinois, he didn`t wait on tables–he belonged to the fraternity and his businessman father picked up the tab.”


My former friend said that none of these stories were true. Yes, never let the facts get in the way of your opinions. Hey, a POS is a POS.




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