passing championship since 1942 when Cecil Isbell, the front part of the Isbell-to-Don Hutson combination, finished on top. Isbell also won the title in ’41. Powerful pitching Arnie Herber was the only other Packers to win the league hurling title, taking the crowds in 1932, 1934 and 1936. No passing figures were compiled previously to 1932. Rote presently is leading with an average gain per pass of 8.48 yards, while Van Brocklin is second with 8.18. Parilli is third with 7.97 and Otto Graham of Cleveland is fourth with 7.64. The Packer-Ram game here Sunday saw Rote skid and Van Brocklin and Parilli gain. Rote hurled 12 times and completed five for 56 yards, well below his average, while Parilli completed nine out of 19 for 231 yards. Van Brocklin leaped up by completing nine out of 12 for 137 yards. The Rams’ Bob Waterfield, 1951 champion, is well out of the running with an average of 6.23. While Rote and Parilli had a chance for the title, the man behind the throne – Mr. Bill Howton, the sparkling Packer end – became the first player in the league to gain more than 1,000 yards on pass catches. Howton’s long receptions have helped Rote and Parilli considerably in their title drive – just as Elroy Hirsch’s long gainers moved Waterfield into the crown last season. Hirsch, hurt most of this year, is a decided factor in Van Brocklin’s upswing. With six catches for 200 yards at LA, Howton now has totaled 1,069 yards on 45 receptions for eleven games. He is averaging 23.9 per catch. Howton didn’t score against LA, but he set up three touchdowns. Hugh Taylor of Washington, with three TD catches against New York, tied Howton for TDs, with 11 apiece. The pass catching crown is based number of aerials caught. Mac Speedie of Cleveland is tops with 56, but they brought only 856 yards – 213 less than Howton’s figure. Gordy Soltau of San Francisco is second with 54 for 759 yards. Soltau, incidentally, will miss Sunday’s finale because of a broken ankle. The Bays continued training in Gilmore stadium here this afternoon. They will leave for San Francisco Friday morning.
BALTIMORE DRIVE AT HALFWAY MARK
DEC 10 (Baltimore) - Backers of the drive to bring pro football back to Baltimore were halfway over the hump today – but with the hardest part of the row left to hoe. Commissioner Bert Bell of the NFL told the city he would transfer the Dallas franchise here if Baltimore fans put up $250,000 in season ticket sales. This meant selling 15,000 season tickets. In the first two days of the drive, Ticket Manager Herb Wright reported that 7,000 tickets have been sold or pledged for. But, he added, “from now on the going will be tougher.” Baltimore has until Jan. 22 – the date of the league meeting – to sell the tickets.
DEC 10 (San Francisco) - We know you’ll be delighted to hear that the collapse of the San Francisco 49ers has not been attended by financial panic. Owner A.J. “Tony” Morabito isn’t worrying. Naturally, he felt better when his team was winning ‘em all, but he won’t miss any meals now that the 49ers have lost five of their last six games. Box-office wise, the club is having its all-time biggest season. Its coffers are bulging. Morabito had it made before the team fell apart. Even if the 49ers’ concluding contest – with Green Bay next Sunday – fails to draw enough customers to play football, the club will finish in the black about $100,000 worth. The 49ers have played to some whopper crowds. At Kezar, they drew 60,000 with the Chicago Bears, 54,000 with the Detroit Lions and 51,000 with the Los Angeles Rams. On the road, they had three sellouts – 54,000 in New York, 53,000 in Deroit and 48,000 in Chicago, plus another 68,000 in the mammoth Los Angeles Coliseum. So waste no tears on Mr. Morabito. They won’t be holding any benefit raffles for him. The 49ers aren’t going to win the National League championship, but they’re a cinch to finish at or near the top in attendance…Incidentally, Sunday’s game with Green Bay will be the last for one of the 49ers’ seven year veterans – Johnny Strzykalski. Strike, who has been with the club since its organization, is still a solid citizen but he’s not as spry as he used to be so he’s decided to hang ‘em up. His retirement will leave only Bruno Banducci and Frankie Albert to carry on for the “old guard” – and it’s no cinch that either will be back next year. Albert, for one, is thinking of calling it quits. He’ll make up his mind sometime after the first of the year. When, and if he turned in his suit, he’ll be through with football. Albert, often called the “brains” of the 49ers, would make an excellent coach but he just isn’t interested in coaching as a profession. “Too many headaches in coaching for me,” he says. “I want to be happy. And did you ever see a happy coach?” Well, come to think of it, we haven’t. Not for any length of time – that is. They all suffer when they take a clobbering.
STRZYKALSKI, ALBERT QUIT AFTER SUNDAY
DEC 10 (San Francisco) - Halfback Johnny Strzykalski, former ace at Marquette University and South Division High School in Milwaukee, and quarterback Frankie Albert, former All-American at Stanford, Wednesday announced their retirement from pro football. The two San Francisco gridders announced they would quit after the 49ers' Sunday game against the Green Bay Packers. Albert announced he was going to work full time as an auto agency employee.
ROTE HOLDS PASSING LEAD; PARILLI THIRD
DEC 10 (Philadelphia) - Tobin Rote, the co-quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, held on grimly to the NFL's passing leadership today though hardpressed by Norm Van Brocklin of the Los Angeles Rams. Rote, a three-year veteran in the NFL, has shared the quarterback duties for the Packers with Babe Parilli, who's doing very well in his freshman year in the play-for-pay game. Rote, who sometimes starts and sometimes sits on the bench in favor of Parilli, has completed 69 of 132 passes - a 52.3 percentage - for an average gain of 8.48 yards. Van Brocklin has hit for 96 of 177, with an average of 8.18 yards gained on each heave. Van Brocklin's completion percentage is the best in the league. Parilli is in third place in the passing parade with 67 of 155 aerials completed for an average gain of 7.97 yards per completion. In fourth place is Cleveland's veteran Otto Graham who has thrown 332 passes, completed 163, the most in the league for an average gain of 7.64 yards and a total 2,537 yardage. In the rushing department, Los Angeles' Dan Towler continues in the No. 1 spot, carrying the pigskin 144 times, gaining a total of 821 yards for a 5.7-yard average. Far behind is New York's Eddie Price, who has carried 183 times for 748 yards, or 4.1 yards per try, with San Francisco's Hugh McElhenny - an early season leader - third with 659 yards on 93 carries. Cleveland's Mac Speedie, target of many of Graham's bullet passes, retained the pass-catching leadership, snaring 56 for a total gain of 856 yards. Not far behind is Gordon Soltau of San Francisco with 54 for 759 and Philadelphia's Harry Grant with 52 for 941. Soltau, who has caught seven touchdowns passes, leads the scorers with 88 points. Besides the TDs this includes 31 extra points and five field goals. In second place is Cleveland's Lou Groza, who has 82 points on 31 extra points and 17 field goals. Horace Gillom, Cleveland Brown star, still is defending successfully his punting title. Gillom has averaged 46.5 yards on each of his 59 kicks with Detroit's Bob Smith not far behind with a 45-yard average on 56 boots. Jack Christiansen of the Detroit Lions took the lead in the punt return department having lugged back 15 boots for a total of 322 yards, or an average 21.5 yards each. Woodley Lewis of Los Angeles, last week's leader, fell to second with 17 returns for 305 yards, an average of 17.9. In kickoff returns, Pittsburgh's Lynn Chadnois retained his leadership, carrying back 17 for a total of 599 yards, including two for touchdowns, and one on a 93-yard run. In second place was Eddie Macon of the Chicago Bears with eight returns for 273 yards, an average return of 34.1 Dick Lane of the Rams took over sole possession of the pass interception department, snaring 11 enemy aerials. Tom Keane of the lowly Dallas Texans is second with 10 interceptions.
ALBERT WILL QUIT 49ERS AFTER SUNDAY'S GAME
DEC 11 (San Francisco) - Frankie Albert, doughy little field general of the San Francisco 49ers and one of the most colorful figures in professional football, yesterday announced his retirement from the gridiron. Frankie will play his last game Sunday in Kezar Stadium against the Green Bay Packers. “Time marches on,” Albert told President Tony Morabito of the 49ers after making his decision. “It is time that I devoted myself to other activities.” Albert, one-time Stanford great, explained that he regretted leaving the 49ers but his arrangement with the Rector motor car agency of Burlingame was so attractive that he wanted to put on a permanent basis. Frankie said he will serve in an executive capacity as soon as he ends his gridiron career. During the off season, he has been a car salesman…TIME TO QUIT: Frankie, after working out with the squad at Menlo College yesterday afternoon, elaborated: “I talked the thing over with my wide and we decided that this is a pretty good year for me to hang ‘em up. I hate jumping off ship at a time like this. But, at 32, if there is anything else you can do you had better start doing it. Don’t hang in there and take the last punch. If we had gone through with a winning season, I probably would have tried it two or three more years. It is difficult to quit on anything but a losing team. And we have decided that now is the time. This isn’t great. The 49ers have been great to work for and the teams have been grand to play with. But when you’re getting no younger daily you had better start thinking about a permanent future.” Albert is one of the highest paid hands in professional football, drawing some $20,000 a year. His contract notes that this sum is paid for his services as “player and coach”. The 5 foot 10 and 175 pounds quarterback is the second 49er to bow off the gridiron this week. Johnny Strzykalski, halfback, had announced previously that this would be his last game. Strike, like Albert, was one of the original 49ers who launched professional football here with the now defunct All American Conference in 1946…BANDUCCI LAST: With Norman Standlee out of action because of polio and Visco Grgich sidelined by a fractured knee, only Bruno Banducci, aggressive running guard, remains of the original five. Banducci is expected to play next year and Grgich probably will if his knee repairs during the off season. Coach Buck Shaw was surprised and shocked at Albert’s action. “He told me several times in the last month he was thinking of quitting, but I didn’t take him seriously,” Shaw said. “This is going to hurt. He’s a great inspirational leader besides being a talented football. He’s one in a million. The little guy gave us a tremendous lift, spiritually and by physical example. I would say that Frank has been responsible for all of the fire and enthusiasm that the 49ers have become known for in the last seven years.” The 49er front office in the Phelan Building also was suffering from shock. Like Shaw, all of the club executives and employees expected that the Little General would quit sometime. They never thought about it in the immediate sense…STARTING ALL OVER: “It is just like starting all over,” said one of the employees. “It is even worse than that. How are we going to get anywhere without Albert?” That was a minor employee, to be sure. But the feeling was general and from the heart. The executives were just tight lipped. “Let’s take 1953 take care of itself when it comes,” concluded Vic Morabito, co-owner. Until Albert suffered an injury in the game with the New York Giants in New York Giants in New York, he was enjoying one of his most successful seasons. That injury possibly hastened his retirement. A small bone in his jaw was broken. Even at that, the little guy has had quite a season as a passer. Frankie has the second best average in completions, 53.4; is second lowest in the league for interceptions with nine and has hurled for a 7.29 average per attempt, not completion. The little guy always has been high among the professional punters and it is conceded that he is the best quick kicker in the business…FINE LEADER: Departure of the former Stanford ace removes one of the game’s most controversial figures. An impish, puckish fellow with a tremendous wit and ability to loosen up his mates while maintaining leadership domination, Frankie’s field decisions often left the great mass of 49er followers gasping. While no record has been kept of his gambling successes, they probably run 90 percent. Only the ones that turned out mistakes, like the decision to run on a fourth down punt situation against the Chicago Bears, are remembered. That one failed and Frankie subsequently was blamed when the Bears topped the 49er winning streak after five straight league games and thirteen in a row over two seasons and including exhibitions. “You’re great when you make them and a dummy when you don’t,” Frankie philosophized after that one. But criticism didn’t stop him from doing the unexpected. Only last Sunday, while losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Frankie called on Joe Perry to lug the hide on fourth down from punt formation. Joe and Frankie got away with it, kept the ball instead of surrendering it. The 49er quarterback, called by many rival coaches and players “another coach upon the field”, first emerged into the limelight in 1940 as quarterback of the unbeaten Stanford Indians. He was named All American quarterback in 1940 and 1941, but his particular fame came from his introduction of the now common T formation into college football. Albert, disciple of Clark D. Shaughnessy, introduced the intricate new system (new because of the man in motion principle) so successfully that within two seasons that style of play was used almost universally. Albert, as the mystifying ball handler and field general, made the Stanford attack move…MASTER OF T: Many authorities still regard Albert as the master of the T quarterbacks, certainly as the cleverest ball handler and, more certainly, as the gridiron’s greatest gambler. Frankie served in the Navy during the Second World War and saw action as a flight deck officer in the Pacific. He began his professional football career in 1946, when the 49ers were organized, and he has been the heart and backbone of that team ever since.