Arnie Herber was a product of Green Bay West High School and signed with the Packers in 1930 after they had won the Championship in 1929.  In those days the veterans made things tough for rookies and Bo Molenda, the star fullback made life hot for Arnie.  After the 1932 season when Herber was a leading passer and made All-Pro, Lambeau had had enough of Molenda’s harassments and traded him to the New York Giants even though he was at the height of his career.  When the Packers played in New York later that year Arnie went to collect a $25 debt from Molenda.  An argument broke out between them and under the stands at the Polo Grounds, Molenda got the shock of his life when Arnie proceeded to knock him out.

No half-pint by 1930 standards Arnie stood 5ft 11 inches and weighed 208 lbs and caught Curly Lambeau’s eye because he could run, throw, kick and tackle.  So, when Curly offered him $75 per game to play he jumped at the big time.  Each season Herber got stronger and by 1932 Red Dunn was gone and Arnie took over the passing chores.  In one game against the Staten Island Stapletons, Arnie did the kicking, ran for 45 and 85 yard scores and completed 9 of 11 for 3 more TD’s.  Early in the 1933 season against the Southern California All-Stars he showed he could punt as well with four kicks of 65, 70, 75 and 85 yards.  In 1935 Arnie was about to enter the all-time history books when a fleet-footed, gangling end arrived from Alabama.  He was Don Hutson and a new era was born in pro football.  Herber to Hutson was the phrase on everyone’s lips.  In 1940, “Lil Arnie” as Hutson called him retired from Green Bay after 11 years but the reason behind this decision is not clear.  I think the real reason was somewhat different and spoke volumes about Arnie Herber and his wife as people who wouldn’t bend under threats.  When Curly Lambeau divorced his second wife she followed him back to Green Bay from California and Curly ordered all local hostelries to put up their “No Vacancy” signs to her.  When the pregnant ex Mrs Lambeau was thrown out of the Northland Hotel and no one else would take her she turned to the only friend she had in town, Mrs Arnie Herber.  The Herbers welcomed her into their home but when Curly heard of this he gave Arnie until Monday morning to throw her out or risk being fired from the team.  To Arnie’s credit he refused to buckle under Lambeau’s threats and the lady stayed.  On Monday, Lambeau fired Arnie from the Packers telling the newspapers it was because he couldn’t control his weight.

So Arnie started his Packer career by standing up to Bo Molenda and ended it by standing up for his principles against Curly Lambeau.  The retirement lasted until 1944 when the New York Giants hired him.  Like an old warhorse Arnie responded and by the season’s end the Giants were kingpins of the Eastern division.  He didn’t run or tackle but his passing and kicking put them into the title game against the Green Bay Packers.  The Packers won 14-7 but Arnie always thought the Giants should have won.  After another season with the Giants Arnie finally hung up his boots and returned home for good.  He left the football scene with the reputation of being football’s greatest ever long distance passer.  Arnie was Green Bay through and through and continued to watch the Packers until his death in 1969.  As one Green Bay enthusiast, Art Daley, once wrote: “Arnie Herber was the Babe Ruth of pro football.  Like the Babe, he specialised in the long ball, he was highly popular with the fans and left a lasting mark on the sport he played.

Arnie Herber in action

The great Arnie Herber enjoying his cigar
whilst watching his beloved Packers


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