It says something about the success of the Green Bay Packers that there are enough of their former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame to provide material for an entire book.
Green Bay is represented by 28 individuals in the Hall, and Michael Jacquart’s “Green Bay’s Greatest: Profiles of the Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame” includes them all. Jacquart, who lives in Iola, said one of the reasons for writing the book was to keep fans fresh in their minds about the Packers of old. And long ago is closer than you might think.
“As the years go by, there are so many people who don’t even remember the Lombardi years,” said Jacquart, a member of the Association of Professional Football Researchers. For the record, half of the Packers in the Hall of Fame were from the Lombardi era, including Lombardi himself.
The book includes biographies of every Packers player in the Hall, with the exception of LeRoy Butler, who was inducted in August. Butler has a shorter entry in the Packers who should (or will) be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame section.
“The hardest part was LeRoy Butler. Everyone was pretty sure he was going to be in, but I couldn’t talk the publisher into extending it,” Jacquart said.
This installment also features Aaron Rodgers, Sterling Sharpe, Gale Gillingham, Jack Vainisi, Boyd Dowler, Bob Harlan, David Bakhtiari and Davante Adams.
The book includes statistical information for each player and coach, as well as other biographical facts such as birth and death dates, parents, high school and college, and post-football career. For example, Arnie Herber attended Green Bay West High School; Mike Michalske had nine singles in his career with the Packers, the most of any player in team history; and Jim Ringo didn’t miss a game in 10 straight years with the Packers.
“A lot of people who buy these books depend on statistics,” Jacquart said.
He said the book took about six months to write.
“Writing is actually the easiest part of the book. Citations, proofreading, releasing text and photos, compiling photos, and writing the bibliography and index are more work.” he said. And much of it is in this well-resourced book, with extensive chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index.
In researching the book, Jacquart said there are things he doesn’t know or remember.
“I knew Johnny Blood was a character. I didn’t know he was that much of a character,” Jacquart said. “Vince Lombardi, you think you know about him, but I didn’t know he was so far ahead of the curve on race relations. When Bart Starr died, I was a little surprised at the number of quotes from people who had nothing to do with football.”
Jacquart previously published “A Century of Excellence: The 100 Greatest Packers of All Time.”
The speaker will be at the Neville Public Museum’s evening program at 5pm on November 10. Tickets can be purchased on the Neville Museum website.
The book costs $29.95 and is available at Bosse’s News & Tobacco in downtown Green Bay, and on the Barnes & Nobel and Amazon websites.
This article originally appeared on the Green Bay Press-Gazette: Book recounts histories of Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame