The Art Daley column 1997

Two great players and a supplier of great players - namely Bobby Dillon, Henry Jordan and Jack Vainisi are going into Great Britain’s Packer Hall of Fame in January 1997.  Jordan is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and Dillon should be in there also.  Jack Vainisi scouted and drafted six Pro Football Hall of fame players in the 1950s - Bart Starr, Forest Gregg, Ray Nitschke, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung and Jim Ringo.

Vainisi’s picks provided the backbone for Vince Lombardi’s great teams, but there were numerous other Vainisi products that furnished more meat for Lombardi’s champions - Dave Hanner, Bill Forrester, Max McGee, Hank Gremminger, Bob Skoronski, Bob Jeter, Tom Moore, Dan Currie, Ron Kramer and Boyd Dowler.  Coach Gene Ronzani brought Vainisi to Green Bay as an office assistant with emphasis on scouting.  In the early 1950s, talent scouting developed into a year-round job and Vainisi took over.

Jack Vainisi, who laid the foundations for Vince Lombardi

Vainisi played football at Notre Dame but was stricken with rheumatic fever and had to quit.  His Notre Dame coach, Hugh Devore, recommended him to Ronzani.  Vainisi got to see the fruits of his earlier drafts when Vince Lombardi became head coach in 1959 and the Packers posted an 8-4 season.  The Packers started 4-1 in 1960 and on the Sunday night after the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit, Jack died of a heart attack at his home at the tender age of 33.  Perhaps inspired by the death of Vainisi, the Packers won their last three games and gained the Western Conference title with an 8-4 record.

Dillon was a third-round draft choice in 1952 out of the University of Texas.  He became an immediate starter and finished his eight-year career under Lombardi in 1959.  Bobby intercepted 52 passes and that is still a Packer career best.  Dillon had only sight in one eye, his right, which is why he played safety alongside the right side.  He won All-Pro honours in five seasons and had three seasons in which he intercepted nine passes in each.  In 1953 he intercepted four passes in a game against the Lions in Detroit, off Hall of Fame quarterback, Bobby Layne.  That feat was duplicated by Willie Buchanan against San Diego in 1978.

Jordan joined the Packers in 1959 and he represented one of the best trades Lombardi and Vainisi ever made.  He was obtained from the Cleveland Browns for a fourth-round draft choice.  Jordan became an immediate hit as a defensive tackle and won All-Pro honours from 1960-64, plus he was the most valuable defensive lineman in the 1962 Pro Bowl game.  Henry’s long suit was his speed.  Not overly big at 6-3 and 250 pounds, he was quick as a cat and often sacked the quarterback.  Jordan and Dave Hanner worked wonders in the interior of the defensive line.  Hanner would hold fort, so to speak, while Henry would zip around his man and nail the quarterback.  Henry wrestled and played football in high school and college, Virginia.  After football Jordan settled in Milwaukee and became active as manager of Milwaukee’s great Summerfest.  Henry died at the age of 42 in 1977 and was enshrined in Canton in 1995.


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