M e m o r y     L a n e     f o r     F e b r u a r y

 

                                     

 

The Giants started the 1958 season with a dismal 2win 2 loss posture but won 7 of the next 8 games. They had a nail biting win over the Detroit Lions, who were the defending champs, besting the Lions 19-17. Because of that victory, the Giants wound up with the same record as the Cleveland Browns, 9-3, and there was a playoff game on the 14th of December and the Giants were triumphant, 13-10.

This was when teams played 12 games and the championship game was in late December, the 28th when the Giants met the Baltimore Colts. Funny, I remember watching the game on national TV. It was a classic game and went into overtime. Johnny Unitas was quarterback for the Colts in that Championship game. The Giants came out on the short end but that was one of the best football games ever played.

About a month earlier, several of my high school buddies were going to a game that was played at Yankee stadium and the opponent just happened to be the Cleveland Browns.

Jim Brown was their star running back at the time. I don’t remember who I went with but the guys got on my back, as they often did, saying I should go to the game with them. “Maybe you’ll get to see your friend

Jim Katcavage,” they chimed in simultaneously.

I said, “Love to go with you”! In previous conversations, I told my pals that the Katcavage family lived next door to me in Philadelphia . Jim was six years older than me and his brother Bobby who was my best friend. I told the guys that Jim used to watch the two of us when our parents were doing things together.

We went as planned and the game was see-saw but the Giants did win. I had mentioned to my “buddies” that after the game, I’m going to the locker room to try to see Jim. They snickered but when the game was almost over I headed to the locker room and asked if anyone was joining me. They all said, “sure”. There was a policeman outside the door to the locker room and I approached him.

“Do me a favor,” I said. “Can you take my license and give it to Jim Katcavage.” The guys encouraged him by saying, “yeah, give the license to Katcavage”, and chuckled again.
The policeman refused and I pleaded with him several more times and he kept refusing. His sergeant was close by so I approached him and asked him to talk to his officer and told him what I wanted. He went over to the guy guarding the door and said, “give the kid a break. I’ll stand here while you go in and find Katcavage”.

He went inside and a few minutes later the door exploded open and out came Jim Katcavage. He still had on his football pants but his jersey was off and he had on a tee shirt. He came up to me and threw his arms around me and you should have seen the open mouths of my friends.

Jim said, “glad you came to see me”! He then asked if I wanted to go into the locker room to meet some of his teammates.

I said I was with friends and he said they’re welcome to come in, too. What an experience. Jim introduced me as his neighbor from Philadelphia and we met

Frank Gifford

Andy Robustelli

Sam Huff

Roosevelt Brown

Rosey Grier

Dick Modzelewski.

Wanted to meet Charlie Connerly but he was doing an interview. It’s something I’ll never forget and I’m sure my friends feel the same as me. You all might remember Jim Katcavage who was one of the “Fearsome Foursome” that also included Robustelli, Grier and Modzelewski.

Jim played from 1956 to 1968, 13 seasons and was selected as an “All Pro” four times. Jim was All American at Dayton in 1955.

I saw him at CW Post College in the early ‘70’s when he was retired and

an assistant defensive coach for the Giants. Does anyone remember that big sandpit on Duffy near Charlotte that was, I think, Colonial Sand and Cement? Jim was a rep for them back then.

Jim passed away at the age of 60 from a heart attack in 1995.