A little something different today. We have a great, active, knowledgeable community here at Big Blue View. As the off-season continues to unfold I thought I would occasionally reach out to a few members of the community so that we can all find out more about them.
I figured there was no better place to start with that endeavor than with probably my favorite BBV member of all time, George Cronin. Known to many of you as 'blue gonz' George is an old-timer who knows more Giants' history than probably anyone else here.
Here is my chat with George.
Big Blue View: How did you first become a Giants' fan?
George Cronin: I have no recollection of not being a Giants fan. I became one through osmosis from my fifteen-year-older half-brother. He took me to my first Giants game in 1938 (at the Polo Grounds) when I was five. I saw them play there many times and religiously listened to the radio broadcasts if I didn’t go. A contributory factor cementing my fanship was that the Giants had a farm team in Jersey City when I was a kid, the Jersey Giants. Boley Danciewicz was the QB, a former Notre Damer, famous for a miraculous goal line tackle that preserved a tie with Army, by far the best college team in the country during WWII. They also had a quarter-mile champion halfback, Elmo Harris.
Big Blue View: You are, more or less, our site historian. Who would you say is the greatest Giants' player who the younger generation of Giants' fans just doesn't know enough about? We're probably talking about someone pre-1970.
GC: One name pops into my head, making this answer a no-brainer: Arnie Weinmeister. In ’48, he played with the NY Yankees; in ’49, with the Brooklyn-NY Yankees. He came to the Giants when the AAFC merged with the NFL (along with Tom Landry.) A DT, he was universally acknowledged as the greatest defensive lineman of his day, and the fastest. I believe he was the first real celebrity lineman, so much so that he could make far more money outside the game. (Even though he was paid an enormous amount for that day, he quit after only four years with Big Blue to go on to bigger money pursuits.) He was All-Pro every year in the NFL and has the shortest playing time of any HOFer except, I believe, Al Blozis.
-- (Here is Weinmesiter's Hall of Fame bio, if you're interested.)
Big Blue View: You've seen all the great Giants' teams. Can you choose one team that you think is the best Giants' team ever?
GC: Have to go with the ’87 SB team
Big Blue View: Your best memory as a Giants' fan? Your worst memory?
GC: Best memory, same as 3; worst, loss to the Bears in ’63 NFL championship game. We were clearly the better team. They couldn’t do squat vs. our defense. What would be an illegal helmet hit ripped up YA’s knee early in the game. He came back in the 2nd half; knee wrapped and shot up with drugs. He couldn’t plant his foot. Horrible loss particularly after those two earlier championship games we lost that were played in gale force winds. We were an awesome passing attack team in those days with the best offense in the league, but couldn’t play our game in those conditions.
Big Blue View: Your favorite player of all time. Why?
GC: I thought about this one a lot over the years and have to go with Frankie Filchock, whose story so gripped me as a kid and still does to this day. I wrote it up for BBV a while back. I have a particular regard for Emlen Tunnell, the first African-American Giant, our "offense on defense." and an HOFer. Others, but not all, include Giff, Rote, Webster, YA, Joe Morris, YA, and LT, of course.
-- Thanks, George for chatting with me. I always learn something about the history of this proud franchise every time I chat wih George about the old days. Here is George's take on 'The Greatest Game Ever Played,' part of the historical series George wrote for us last summer. You can go to George's page (you guys didn't know every member of the site has his/her own blog page, did you?) to find the whole series. Oh, and now that he is 'blue gonz' George has a second page.