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Remembering Jack Snow--was Wagoner's Mailbag
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
In lieu of a normal mailbag, we will take today to honor Jack Snow with your thoughts and memories of No. 84. We will continue to take these memories throughout the day so keep sending them in. So far, the outpouring of support and love for Mr. Snow has been tremendous. Thanks to everyone who sent a thought or memory no matter how long or short.
Coleman Tokei, Vancouver, BC: I was in ninth grade at Port Colborne High School in 1967 when I fell in love with the horns. The Rams had a QB with the neatest name.....Roman Gabriel, who threw long bombs to this WR "who had never been caught from behind".....Jack Snow. Guess who I was every time we played touch football, eh?
By 12th grade we were all playing High School Football, driving cars and dating girls......BUT we we were still huge NFL fans. Early that year, the 1970 season, Jimmy Calla, our big Italian DT told me he thought he knew where we could get a couple of tickets for the Bills-Rams game (our town was only 20 minutes across the Niagara River from Buffalo), but we'd have to pay "slightly over face value." I was like........"C'mon Jimmy, like let's find these tickets..........like yesterday!!!!!!"
I borrow my mom's 1966 Pontiac Laurentian and Jimmy directs me to this Pool Hall.........(in a bad part of town).
It's 9 AM on a beautiful sunny September Saturday morning. I'm in my normal knock-around weekend wear......... blue jeans, T-shirt and adidas............Jimmy is wearing a sports jacket, dress slacks, and an open neck dark shirt.........plus his hair is combed and he's cleaning the smudges off his perpetually smeared dark rimmed glasses as we park my mom's car behind an old Buick WITH NO WHEELS!!!!
Jimmy says, "When we go in, let me do the talking. I've got the money and you and I can settle up later." Jimmy Calla was a HUGE guy, but very soft spoken. We were in the same Math class a couple of years ago, and we knew each other from football, but the way he took charge right before we went into the Pool Hall kinda floored me. Anyway, we go from bright sunlight into this half darkened, smoke filled room full of guys who all seem to have scars, missing teeth or bandages on their faces. There must be twenty or so guys in the pool hall and when we open the door and walk in.........it's one of those moments like in the movies where everybody stops talking and looks up to see who's coming in.
Suddenly I feel like I'm wearing a pair of lead boots like those old deepsea divers used to ...........and I am moving about their same speed too.......also, I keep getting mental images of an AztecBronze Pontiac Laurentian with no wheels, engulfed in flames. I just look around the room looking for a familiar (yeah, right ) or friendly face.........no luck. Finally, after about ten seconds (which seemed like a lifetime), Jimmy spots these his two "Yugoslavian buddies" Frank and Drago, doing shots and beer chasers over in a corner (did I mention Pool Halls were not licensed establishments in 1970's Ontario????? )...........anyway, I get introduced, and after a couple of tense seconds they ask where I live and tell tell them "Main Street.....not far from Grisnick's" (I took a shot at mentioning the Grisnick's because old Joe Grisnick was this Serbian immigrant guy, who like my Hungarian immigrant dad, made his own wine in barrel-lots and picked up his grapes every October at the same freight depot.....Grisnick, like every other DP in the area worked at the local Nickel Refinery, except unlike everybody else, Mr. Grisnick had a brand new Cadillac every two years.......nobody knew how.
Anyway.........Drago, the bigger one, asks "Joe Grisnick?".....I nod, and he says something in Serbian to Frank, they laugh, clink glasses and toss down another shot of rye. They ask if we want a drink and Jimmy, most respectfully declines. Pretty soon, the tickets are out, the money flashed and exchanged and we're out of the little den of inequity. Jimmy tells me we're lucky that the two tickets came available because Drago's cousin was getting out of Prison that day and they'd be partying away too late to make the Football Game the next day.
We have tickets high up in the corner of War Memorial Stadium, but to me, they were two golden tablets encrusted with gemstones.............we were going to see the Rams..........LIVE!!!!!!!!
The next day, early, Jimmy and I got to the Stadium (aka "The Rockpile" as Buffalo native Ron Jaworski called it.....in fact, the Location Scout Team for the Robert Redford Movie, THE NATURAL, deemed Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium, America's oldest standing remaining sports stadium in 1982......and the whole movie was filmed in Buffalo!!!!!!!)..........anyway, my first memory was seeing CBS Sports Announcer (and idiot savant) Bill Mazur interviewing some guy in a suit (live, with those big TV Cameras rolling) about 12 inches from where we were standing ("security" hadn't been invented yet?)...........Mazur had earlier earned the wrath of all Canadian Sports fans when he, in the midst of one of his patented brain farts, introduced Parry Sound's finest, the legendary Bobby Orr, to a National TV audience as "The Golden Golden" ...........what a maroon!!!!!!!!!! Chicago's Bobby Hull was known as the Golden Jet...........so Mazur calls Bobby Orr, THE GOLDEN GOLDEN ......
..........anyway, the Rams come out to practice and the first guy I see, in our end zone, tossing the ball back and forth with backup LB and former Notre Dame teamate John Pergine is guess who??????????? Number 84, (which is also my High School Jersey Number!!! , from Notre Dame, 6'2", 190 lbs, the sure-handed speedster who's never been caught from behind.............anyway, I run over and get about twenty feet or so away.........I am so excited, I get out my Kodak Instamatic camera and yell out........"HEY, JACK!!!!!"........he looks over curiously.........he has the ball in his hand.........and I yell, "SMILE".........and he poses as though he's catching the ball and he has this big smile.........I yell "THANK YOU!!!!!!" .......and he nods.........and I go running to where Jimmy Calla is watching the Fearsome Foursome go through their pregame drills and I exclaim, "I TALKED TO JACK SNOW......I TALKED TO JACK SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The Rams came in with a very banged up offense. Dick Bass was out, Les Josephson was out, Tommy Mason......yet another knee surgery.........so George Allen started rookie RB Willie Ellison #33 and rookie TE Pat Curran #88 in the backfield...........the offense struggled but Bruce Gossett kicked 4 FGs as we won 19-0. But my greatest memory of that day..........my first live Rams game..........was NOT the outcome..............it was rather, the courtesy, the class, and the professionalism showed to a young, hyper-excited Canadian stranger by a REAL PRO..........JACK SNOW.
Now some three and a half decades later, Jack is going into a fight a little banged up where he may have to struggle some to make it through. I pray that just like the Rams did back on that September day in Buffalo so many years ago, that our friend Jack finds the strength of will and the spirit of resolve to win his fight and come out at the other end.
God's Speed, Jack Snow!
Brian Smejkal, Simi Valley, Calif.: My wife and I made our first trip to St. Louis this past October to see the Rams play the New Orleans Saints. It was for our 10 year wedding anniversary. I have been a die-hard Rams' fan since 1983. I remember listening to Jack on the radio here in Los Angeles before the Rams moved to St. Louis. I always enjoyed listening to Jack. My wife and I were fortunate to meet Jack prior to the game with the Saints. It was nice to see someone that I admired for so long was also so nice to meet. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jack and his family.
Joseph Rodriguez, Jacksonville, Fla.: The passing of one of the Rams great receiver Jack Snow has hit here in Florida as well. I'm a 4th generation Los Angeles Rams fan and I remember listening to my grandfather speak of the Roman Gabriel and the Jack Snow connection of the 60's. Anywhere that Roman Gabriel threw it was sure that it would land in the hands of the great Jack Snow. Run patterns up the middle, down the sideline or simply an open field catch. His speed after the catch was amazing to watch and it would only be somewhat cheated to explained with words my grandfather would say, but to watch Jack run was truly poetry in motion. Listening to my grandfather speak about Jack Snow made it sound like he was speaking of one of his children or grandchildren. He was very proud of the Los Angeles Rams speacial receiver that carried wings on his feet as he referred to Mr. Snow. Listening to stories of Mr. Snow was great and I still remember staying up late on Saturday Nights/Mornings around 2:30am or 3:00am and l!
isten to KMPC sports talk radio in Los Angeles, as they would replay old Los Angeles Rams game from the early and late 60's. The Rams vs. the Colts standsout the most and listening with my own ears the runs that Jack Snow would break after he caught the ball. He'd out run 2 or 3 defenders for a touchdown. Wow! I actually heard with my own ears what my grandfather would talk about when he spoke of Mr. Snow. ESPN classic recently aired the NFL yearbook of the 1967 Los Angeles Rams and I was able to watch for the first time the type of receiver Mr. Snow truly was. He was simply amazing to say the least.
Before Ellard, "Flipper" Anderson,Bruce and Holt there was the King of the Rams receiving corp in Mr. Jack Snow.
I got a chance to meet Jack Snow in July of 1993 when the Los Angeles Rams had their meet and greet the players or Rams Fan day where you got a chance to get autographs,take pictures and talk with the current players. I walked around with the old blue & white horns Rams helemt on that July day. My grandfather had passed it on to me and it old but clean without nothing on it. And I have to say that my grandfather would be proud to know that the very first autograph on my old blue & white rams helmet was of Jack Snow. I never planned to have anyone autograph that helmet and I remember walking through Anahiem Stadium and meeting players when from somewhere from the old Angels dugout I heard someone yell, "Hey kid give my helmet back"! I looked down to see Mr. Jack Snow standing waiving at me with a big genuine smile. On that day I took a picture with Mr. Snow and spent a few minutes with him talking about those great moments in the 60's when the Fearsome Foursome ruled the fiel!
d and how he and Roman would have that special connection during the game. No matter where that ball was thrown it was sure to land on the hands of the Great Jack Snow for a touchdown. He was a true gentleman and warm hearted man and everything my grandfather would say about Jack Snow was true. I learned that when I met Mr. Snow on that July afternoon in 1993. You will be missed Jack Snow..."Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
Mike Miller, Sacramento, Calif.: My Mom attended School with Jack Snow at St. Anthony's High School in Long Beach California. Growing up I heard lots of stories about about how good he was both on an off the field. He was a great example of how someone should be both on and off the playing field. I was lucky enough to go with my Mom to a few of her High School reunions and had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Snow and playing catch with his son JT.
I spoke to my Mom when I first heard of his passing and she was struck with sadness. 62 after all is not an old age. By todays standards it's a young age. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He was truly a great human being and will be missed.
Ray Bolton, Bellingham, Mass.:I did have the plaeasure of watching Jack Snow play but I was very young. He was my favorite player on the Rams growing up as a fan in Ma. I was born in LA and have been a fan since 1968. I had the plaeasure of meeting Jack Snow for the first time in Buffalo in 1998. The Rams were loading up the bus and I was standing about 5 feet from him and introduced myself to him. I thanked him for being such a big part of my life growing up and he invited me under the ropes to talk with him. We reminisced about the old teams and if he still talked with Roman Gabriel at all. He said He did quite often as Roman was the color man for the Panthers. I asked if I could have a picture taken with him and he was more than happy to do it. He mad me feel really special when other friends tried to jump into the picture and Mr. Snow told them in not so friendly terms that this was my picture! I felt like a million bucks. I was so proud. I felt like I was part of the Rams family. I later sent that picture to Mr. Snow and he autographed it for me and I have it on my wall with his playing card inside of the frame. I cherish that photo and it is a conversation piece to anyone fan or not who comes into the room.
I made it a point to see him in 2001 when the Rams came here to New England. I re-introduced myself to him and he remembered me. We talked for a short period and he was as nice as could be. Number 84 will live on in my life as I'm sure with all rams fans who knew him or of him. I am looking forward to having the chance to meet his son J.T. as he is the newest member of the Red Sox and I look forward to telling him how grateful I am to have met him and how his Dad made me feel proud to be a Rams fan and a Jack Snow Fan. I will never forget #84! God Rest his Soul.
Nick Mirabile, Waltham, Mass.: I am happy to be over 50 years old for once in my life because I was able to have the pleasure of watching one of my childhood heroes, Mr. Jack Snow. When I was growing up in Massachusetts, my friends and I would play football and I would pretend to be Jack Snow. I was never caught from behind, just like his football card stated on the back. I remember watching him with my Dad on our black and white TV. Dad was a NY Giants fan and I became a Ram fan because I was an "Aries". Dad passed on in 2001, and now another hero of mine is gone too. I hope to see some of my other favorites (Gabe,Deacon,and Merlin)reminisc about Mr. Snow. I'm glad he got to see the Rams win a Super Bowl, although they should have won at least one more. And finally, when I go to the Red Sox games this year, I'll be cheering especially loud for their new first baseman. Thanks for the memories Mr. Snow.
Scott Dean, Bryan, Ohio: I have been a RAMS fan for 35 years and Jack Snow was my first RAMS idol. He will always be my all-time favorite RAMS player. Anway, about 8 years agao I was trying to get in contact with someone at RAMS park about sending a Jack Snow football card for Mr. Snow to sign. I got the receptionist and explained my problem, she told me he was in a meeting and I said I don't want to bother him about an autographed I just want to know if I could send one to get autographed and I needed an address. She puts me on hold and next thing I know I hear a mans voice on the other end...it was Jack Snow. I about flipped. I apologized over and over that I didn't mean to take him away from his meeting I was just looking for an address to send the card...but he wouldn't have any of it. He just enjoyed talking to a fan. He told me send it out no problem and he would get it signed and sent back. I thanked him again and hung up. I have my autographed Jack Snow card framed in a plaque. It doesn't seem like much but it meant a lot to me. That's the way I'll remember him as guy who took the time for the fans. God bless you Jack Snow.
John Paul Arroyo, Pasadena, Calif.:When I was 6yrs old my dad took me to my first Rams game at the LA Colliseum. My most vivid memory of that game was Jack Snow. What a game he had! He had at least 8-9 catches all of them seemed to be sensational grabs. My dad was a big fan of Mr. Snow, and had funny comments after almost every catch. "Number 84 is slow, but he catches everything" he would repeat to me after the play was over. The game was tied late in the fourth quarter. The Rams driving right towards us in our end zone bleacher seats. Jack's final catch that day was the game winning T.D. caught literaly right in front of us, in the corner of the end zone. The celebration of the Ram offense seemingly mere feet away. The perfect ending to the game and hard work paying off for Mr. Snow. Jack didnt outrun many defenses to the end zone but he still managed to end up there when it counted. This first lasting memory has stood with me and the start of my love of the Rams for over 32 yrs. So with a tear in my eye, I say goodbye. The birth of a six year old's love for his team began with Jack Snow. Thanks Jack, I'll never forget that sunny so cal day. You like all my childhood LA Ram heroes will be with me always. God Bless, I know in heaven you outrun all the defenders to the end zone after every catch.
Jeff Newton, Shadow Hills, Calif.: I met Jack Snow once back in about 1967 when I was five years old. Several of the Los Angeles Rams players did an appearance at the Peppertree Restaurant in Northridge, CA. Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Roman Gabriel, and Jack Snow showed up. All four were big, tall guys and seemed like giants to a little kid like me. I didn't realize that a man as tall and built as Jack Snow could move fast enough to play wide receiver. The Rams had a great defense in those days and wore all-white home uniforms with royal blue trim (no gold on the unis then). I've followed Jack Snow's career ever since, and really loved his commentary on the radio (before the Rams moved away to St. Louis). The Good Lord has taken him home now, and I can't believe it! He was far too young. It seems like staph infections are running rampant these days. What a shame to have lost such a glib and knowledgeable fellow like Jack Snow at only 62. May God bless Mr. Snow's soul and protect the entire Snow family.
James Huguez, San Bernardino, Calif.: When I read that number 84 passed away it quickly brought back memories of this young kid hiding under the blankets with his radio to listening to Dick Enberg do the play by play for his favorite team from the L.A.Coliseum. They played the Rams preseason games at night. I was supposed to be asleep, but I wasn't. Jack Snow was one of the reasons. The sure hands, the smooth route, and the good speed to finish it all off. He will be missed by Los Angeles ,and St Louis Ram fans alike. Thank you Mr. Snow for all the wonderful memories.
Hank Overmann, St. Louis, Mo: I believe that Jack Snow epitomized everything that the Rams were before they got here. He was Mr. Cool, a "Raminzer" and without a doubt the Ram's biggest fan. It truely showed throughout his time here. Whether he was on the radio, or on TV, Jack was without a doubt "Mr. RAM". I am truly glad that the people in St Louis had the opportunity to enjoy what a true Ram was. HE WILL BE MISSED. He was truey the last LA RAM.
Michael Higgins, Sacramento, Calif.: This is to the family of Jack Snow I grew up a niner fan that lived in Santa Barbara. Needless to say I was out of place. One thing that I noticed was a receiver for the Rams named Jack Snow; I loved his pose for the trading card. A long while later I heard about a young player named J T Snow. I was able to watch another athlete carry himself in the same professional manner and also have some of the softest hands in the business. With all of the things that have been said about him and the way his son carries himself it is plain to see that the world lost a true human being.
-01-10-2006 #2RamsFan16 Guest
Re: Remembering Jack Snow--was Wagoner's Mailbag
Thats nice of him but it should have been seperate from the mailbag
Re: Remembering Jack Snow--was Wagoner's MailbagOriginally Posted by RamsFan16Originally Posted by ramsbruce
-01-10-2006 #4Ram knowledge Guest
Re: Remembering Jack Snow--was Wagoner's Mailbag
I was sad to hear of the passing away of longtime Rams wide reciever Jack Snow.He was on the very first LA Rams team I followed and remember him as a very good, consistant offensive player.I also will miss him on Rams radio where I liked his obvious loyalty to the Rams.