Did you know? The 1950s Heismans

Alan Ameche and Wisconsin vs. Purdue in 1954

Time for the latest in a series of trivia tidbits about Heisman Trophy winners.  Today, a few notes on Heisman winners from the 1950s.

Did you know …

… 1950 Heisman winner Vic Janowicz decided to play baseball instead of football and eventually played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before he returned to football as a tailback with the Washington Redskins?  In 1956 Janowicz was partially paralyzed due to a severe brain injury suffered in an automobile accident. His athletic career was over, but Janowicz eventually made a full recovery and returned to Ohio State as a broadcaster for Buckeye football games.

… In 1951, Dick Kazmaier won the Heisman Trophy and was also named Athlete of the Year, beating out other notable athletes like Stan Musial, Joe Walcott and Ben Hogan? Kazmaier, a Princeton graduate went on to become the Assistant Dean of the Harvard Business School. Influenced by his daughters, Kazmaier was a champion for women’s athletics and even became President of the U.S. Field Hockey Foundation.

… 1952 Heisman winner Billy Vessels was the first Heisman winner to play in the Canadian Football League? Johnny Rodgers and Doug Flutie also played in the CFL. Flutie was named the league’s Most Valuable Player six times

… John Lattner of Notre Dame not only won the Heisman Trophy in 1953, he was also voted an All-American as both an offensive and defensive player.

… 1954 Heisman winner Alan Ameche of Wisconsin was nicknamed, “the horse,” and following his victory, residents in Ameche’s hometown of presented him with a number of gifts, including an actual horse?

… Ameche was cousin to noted actors Don and Jim Ameche?

… 1955 Heisman winner, Ohio State’s Howard Cassady, earned the nickname “Hopalong” during his very first game as a freshman? The Columbus sportswriters who saw him play said he, “hopped all over the field like the performing cowboy,” a reference to the fictional character Hopalong Cassidy.

… Cassady was also a star baseball player at Ohio State and, after playing in the NFL for 9 seasons, he became a scout for the New York Yankees as well as the third base coach for their AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers?