Many years ago, a poll was held before a game at Lambeau Field and 10 fans were asked the question, “Who was Clarke Hinkle?” 7 out of the 10 didn’t know who he was and the other 3 only had a vague idea that he had played football. His confrontations with Bronco Nagurski of the Bears were legendary and in the seven seasons they went head to head, the “Bucknell Battering Ram” was named All-Pro in four of them. Clarke used to say that after listening to one of Curly Lambeau’s pre-game pep talks, he was ready to out and kill somebody. After a defeat Clarke was often moved to tears. In 1964, he was inducted into Canton and his presenter was his great friend and long-time opponent, Bronco Nagurski. He was the emotional heart of the team in the 1930s doing the same job that Ray Nitschke did for Lombardi in the 1960s.
Clarke Hinkle was 30lbs lighter than Bronco Nagurski but was always determined to hold his own against anyone. Clarke’s creed was “get to the Bronk before he gets to me”, a tactic he used to perfection one day in 1934. Trapped on the side-lines by Nagurski, Clarke escaped his tackle by driving directly into him and over him. The Bears’ superstar was helped from the field with a broken nose and a fractured rib. He was one of the finest all-round players in NFL history. As brilliant as the four-time all-NFL star was on offense, he may have been even deadlier on defense. Backing up the Packers line, he was a vicious tackler against the run and yet adept on pass defense. Hinkle proudly claimed he let only one receiver get behind him during his decade of pro football. Curly Lambeau watched the East-West Shrine game in San Francisco in 1932 and immediately signed him for $125 a game - a bargain.
I hope that if the Green Bay newspapers ever hold another poll in the future the name of Clarke Hinkle will not be a mystery.