Jim Thorpe Enshrinement speech

Jim Thorpe Enshrinement Speech 1963

Presenter: Henry Roemer

Mr. Toastmaster and Mr. President our friend Earl Schreiber and that boy who will have to do all of the work with Dick McCann, I certainly am pleased to be called upon to say something to this audience in Canton, Ohio. I came to this town just a little over fifty years ago as general superintendent of the Canton Sheet Steel Company. Five or six years later we built the Superior Sheet Steel Company out at Louisville just East of here. In listening to all of these remarks and all of the praises that are being given to these football players in which and with which I concur, I would like to take this audience and the people of Canton Ohio back to the earlier days before we had the funds to build such a beautiful edifice as the Canton or the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

I refer to men here who have done so much for this city, who have been engaged in so many different lines of business and endeavor. I would like to name some of the old-timers who made it possible for all of us to be here today. In looking over the group and thinking back of the days when I was connected with a great many of the institutions of the city, I see faces. of men like Henry Timken the founder and the head of the great Timken Company, and known to his friends in those days as Harry. Ed Longabaum, Dick Ben, Fred Griffiths, Charley Irwin, John O' Day, Herb Hoover, Charley Upham, Judge Harter, Ed Bender, Clarence Herbruck, and sportsman like Ollie Renkert, Mark Lathrop, Bill Steel, John Quinn, Tip Hiner, Frank Lippert, Lloyd Noaker, Jack Cusack, Ralph Hay, Les Higgins, and countless names like that came along to this community a little later. But nevertheless, they were great, great sports and greatly interested in this great game of football. These men who have founded and supported these institutions over these last fifty years that I know about, we owe a great debt to those kind of folks who as I said before have made it possible for us to be here at this great stadium, in this great building and this great Football Hall of Fame today. Earl Schreiber is one of those bossy kinds of folks.

He's president of the Hall of Fame and he bosses me around like he hands me his grip and that sort of thing which I must carry for him and then see that he gets the best lunches that are served over around the Youngstown district. Earl told me that if I took more than a minute and a half, he would ring the bell. But I would like to compliment Earl on the great, work that this boy has done, and I've known him since he caddied for me up at Congress Lake many, many years ago. I know that you have here for this institution a great man in the presidency and that is Earl Schreiber. I come now to the reason for my being here and I think it is perhaps, and I would say really is the greatest honor that's ever been thrust upon the shoulders of this "old mill man". I come here to talk about Jim Thorpe. This visit today brings Jim's name to mind immediately. To me he was the greatest football player that it has ever been my pleasure to know and one of the greatest athletes the world has ever produced.

Jim Thorpe - the record of his accomplishments in the field of sports is magnificent. His figure stands out as a beacon light to all young men aspiring to be great athletes and good citizens of these United States. Jim Thorpe was a great man, a keen competitor, who today gives me the greatest honor which has ever been bestowed on this "old mill mam.” Jim Thorpe was a friend. One who through the great power of influence has brought name, fame, and credit to this city of Canton, Ohio. It is with honor and respect that I present the citation and honorarium in the name of Jim Thorpe to another great friend highly respected and well-known personality in the field of football - Pete Calac, a man of honor and a gentleman of every respect. There are many other great athletes and great men who played with the Bulldogs. Of course, to me there is only one great name that stands out preeminently and that is the name of Jim Thorpe as the greatest of them all. Thank you very much.

Pete Calac on behalf of Jim Thorpe

Thank you, Henry Roemer, ladies and gentlemen. This is indeed a great day for me. I'm assigned here today to accept the award for my old teammate and friend, Jim Thorpe. Jim, I thought, was one of the greatest football players both college and professional football in his day. Today I know that he had that familiar grin on his face up in the happy hunting grounds and it's surely a great honor for me to accept this award in his honor. I thank you very much.