Same Memories, Different Perspectives

Enjoyed a trip down the memory of memory lane the other night. The Leslie Moore Scholarship Foundation dinner brought together most of the old Baltimore Colts to help and honor their teammate Lenny Moore. His son Leslie succumbed to a rare disease about five years ago. In the name of his son, The Hall of Fame tailback now puts disadvantaged kids through college.

“I had to do something. I had to do something to keep my man going,” Moore told me on Monday.

Catching up with the likes Moore, fellow Hall of Famers Raymond Berry and Gino Marchetti, plus Milt Davis brings back great memories, but not of games, rather of talking about the games with my dad.

These players were his heroes. I know them through his tales of triumph. Yet in some ways, I feel closer to them, and remember them more fondly. I never knew their failures, never watched them disappoint. And their stories brought my father and I closer. Through games of catch he shared the stories of the ’58 & ’59 Championships, Don Chandler’s 1965 field goal that led to the extension of the uprights, of the greatest quarterback to ever live.

Enough reminiscing, back to work, where it turns out, I didn’t stray too far.

In our conversations I asked all them about their relationship with the Ravens. We’ve seen Lenny get involved in public ways, like taking part in some 10th anniversary festivities with the team. He also loves to attend practice. But most of the Old Colts have little to do with Baltimore’s current team.

“I don’t have any feel or connection with the Baltimore Ravens”, Raymond Berry told me. “Since I was in New England with the Patriots I keep up with them. I really like the way they run their operation.”

Marchetti can’t say enough great things about Baltimore, the city.

“The most amazing thing, here I am, I haven’t played since ’66 and I come to this city and people still know ya.”

But as for the Ravens, he feels like Berry.

“I have nothing against the Ravens. I know my relationship with the Cleveland Browns wasn’t too good so maybe it’s carried over to the Ravens.”

So while Marchetti holds ambivalence about the Ravens, there’s none about the Colts. The Indianapolis Colts.

“What I’m trying to get over is trying to root for the Indianapolis Colts. That’s hard for me to do. It’s hard to root against them, but what that organization did to the fans of the city, even us, they took away our history.”

Then I met Milt Davis. The NFL’s season leader in interceptions in 1957 and 1959, he holds back nothing regarding his relationship with the Ravens.

(watch Milt Davis here)

“I don’t have that association or relationship because they’ve made no effort to contact me. Not that I’m anything special, but if you belong to the original family they should extend themselves to do that. That’s a courtesy. And like they say about gratitude, I’m grateful, but it is like a virtue that’s most deified and yet most deserted.”

Pretty powerful words from Davis, elegant too. And while he certainly deserves his opinion, it’s hard to blame the Ravens.

They acknowledge the Colts history. Touching Johnny U’s foot before heading into M&T Bank Stadium has become a right of passage. But what do they really owe?

When the Browns came to town, while most in Cleveland won’t say anything nice about Art Modell, they did the decent thing leaving the history behind. Therefore, the Ravens must create their own.

They aren’t the Baltimore Colts. This is a franchise it its eleventh year already loaded with a lifetime of memories. Baltimore football fans remember both. They love both. Separately.

Unfortunately that leaves the old Colts without an old home. But don’t blame the Ravens. All that finger pointing belongs in the most boring big city our country has to offer.

This entry should end there, but I have another clip to share. Gino Marchetti’s take on today’s NFL offers a reality check for some of today’s players. Very, very old school.

(watch Gino Marchetti here)

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