Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
"When I start a game I feel that I must hit my opponent first, and hardest…football is a fiercely competitive game, and it’s this competitive aspect—the risk—that heightens the excitement.”
(Washington)...0'0'', ...Arnold George Weinmeister. . .One of first defensive players to captivate the masses. . .Big, extremely fast with lateral mobility, great ability to diagnose plays. . .Began pro play in AAFC, moved to NFL with 1950 merger. . .Played two ways in AAFC, exclusively on defense in NFL. . . Became the dominant defensive tackle of his time. . .All-AAFC, 1949. . . All-NFL, 1950-1953. . .Named to four Pro Bowls. . .Born March 23, 1923, in Rhein, Saskatchewan. . .Died June 29, 2000, at age of 77.
Few players ever have been so dominant at their position in pro football than Arnie Weinmeister was in his six-year stint as a defensive tackle that began with the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference in 1948 and ended with the New York Giants of the NFL in 1953.
He won second-team All-AAFC as a rookie followed by first-team All-AAFC honors in 1949 and then was a unanimous All-NFL choice all four years with the Giants. He also was selected to play in the NFL's Pro Bowl each of the first four years in the NFL.
Arnie was one of the first defensive players to captivate the masses of fans the way an offensive ball-handler does. At 6-4 and 235 pounds, he was bigger than the average player of his day and he was widely considered to be the fastest lineman in pro football.
Blessed with a keen football instinct, he was a master at diagnosing opposition plays. He used his size and speed to stop whatever the opposition attempted, but it was as a pass rusher that he really caught the fans’ attention. A natural team leader, he was the Giants co-captain in his final season in New York.
In high school Arnie was a two-time All-City tackle. He played end, fullback, and tackle in his four-year tenure at the University of Washington, a tenure interrupted by a four-year Army stint. New York Yankee Coach Ray Flaherty first spotted Weinmeister as a fullback but wisely made him into a two-way tackle when he turned pro in 1948. When he moved to the Giants, Arnie was used almost exclusively on defense. With a six-year tenure in the AAFC and NFL, his career is one of the shortest of any Pro Football Hall of Fame member.
Arnie Weinmeister Enshrinement Speech 1984
Presenter: John Cherberg
Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen this is America at its very best and today it is all in Canton, Ohio. I am very happy to have the privilege of bringing greetings from the State of Washington to you people of Ohio and what is just important to express our heartiest congratulations to those four heroes who are honoring us with their presence today. Words fail to describe the sure pleasure of this day in Canton, Ohio and the honor of presenting my good friend, Arnie Weinmeister, who is being admitted to the Football Hall of Fame. My association goes back to Arnie, to the campus of the University of Washington in 1946 when he returned to resume his education after service in the artillery and in the Battle of the Bulge. It doesn't take much of an imagination to visualize Arnie horsing around one of those huge cannons without the use of a 2 ½ ton truck. As you are all aware, Arnie was a lineman by trade, big with the power to knock down a man across the line from him, fast with a lot of speed, to catch a speedy halfback flee for this life, intelligent with the knowhow of what the game was all about. When Arnie returned in 1946, I was the backfield coach under a wonderful man, Ralph F. Welch. I realized that Arnie was the fastest man in the club and went to Ralph and asked if he would consider running Arnie as a fullback. Welch was a smart man and he said, ''well, yes, we'll do that. '' Arnie was an immediate and sensational success in the first game. However, in the next game he caught a blindside and hurt his knee. I am firmly convinced, that if not this unfortunate accident occurred, that Arnie would be the NFL's greatest fullback since Bronko Nagurski and not one of the finest tackles that ever played the game.
Arnie is not the only Canadian born player to be admitted to the Hall of Fame. Bronko Nagurski Was the first period you are all aware of Arnie’s statistics, down to the 15 size shoes he wore when coach Jimmy Zallen recruited him for Portland, Oregon, but I think it would be quite appropriate if I were to tell you about Arnie's other life sort of speak. As a member of the Teamsters Union Valley student of the University, Arnie took the degree in business that would fit his life's ambitions to serve organized labor. After graduation, Arnie signed on with the Teamsters as an organizer and public speaker for the Western Conference of Teamsters. He later was selected secretary treasurer of Teamsters local 117 in Seattle of which I was a member, thereby starting to climb through the chairs of council number 28 in the Policy Committee of the Western Conference and as 9th vice president of the general executive board of international Teamsters Union where he sits to list a sharing responsibility for all Teamsters locals in the five Pacific northwestern states, a huge responsibility.
As Lt. Governor of the State of Washington since 1957, I know that Arnie has always taken a keen personal interest in the political affairs of our State. Arnie has served on several very important state commissions and committees as well as playing a very important role in many worthwhile community activities which are vital to the interest of all many working men and women. Arnie, you may like to know, is on a commission that chose the site of the Kingdom, the home of the Seattle Seahawks. The teamsters union under Arnie Weinmeister's leadership has strongly supported such great organizations as the Children's Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle, the City of Hope in California, the muscular Dystrophy and Easter Seals campaign, both nationally and locally and especially an institution of which we are greatly proud in the State of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson's Cancer Research Center in Seattle. From the day of famous baseball players, manager Fred Hutchinson died in 1964. The teamsters have put their money where their mouths were. They have contributed donations amounting to tens of thousands of dolls in the Hutchinson center and today thanks to the teamsters and especially to Arnie, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is considered one of the best in the world serving people suffering from cancer from all over the world.
Now Arnie is an amazing man. He has always had the knack of wearing success with modesty. Except for his size, you would never know he was around. Yes, he is a presence to be reckoned with, which is probably the overwhelming reason why he is admitted to the NFL's HOF. Arnie will take this honor with uncommon grace as always, he is just that kind of guy. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am very proud and honored to have the same privilege of presenting to you the triple threat man. A man who is a fabulous football player. A man who is one of Washington State's finest persons and above all a man who is a true humanitarian. My good and dear friend, the honorable Arnie Weinmeister.
Thank you very much my good friend, governor Cherberg. After so many years, it goes back so far when the time I actually played the game in the NFL. I was told before I came here to be sure to be very prepared. There's no way to prepare for what has occurred here during this weekend that I have been here period to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with the class of 1984, Willie Brown, Mike McCormack, Charley Taylor is the greatest honor I have ever had period and I look over at the Hall of Fame race that I had the privilege of having lunch with the only day, and see players, some of them are even old enough that I played against them, to be included in their company as a single honor and I want you to all know that.
Marion Motley, who is a local citizen of yours, and you at the time I played I always called the greatest fullback that I ever played against. He has been saying some nice things about me for the last 10 years, so I want to thank him for being a part of my eventually being inducted into the Great Hall of fame. I want to tell you a little story about Marion. We were playing against the Cleveland Browns when I was with the New York Yankees and and that goes clear back to the All-American conference, it goes so far back that commissioner Pete Rozelle of the NFL could hardly say All American conference. Marion Motley used to always fake up the middle on a 32 trap play, I'm not supposed to know that number, but we occasionally had another team's player book, he used to be famous for breaking up that trap play up the middle and he ran like a freight train and we had an all-pro safety man by the name of Otto Snellbacker, who was also a professional basketball player for Providence, RI as well, and he took Marion Motley coming through head-on.
Well, he was knocked out and carried off the field and a lot of times you don't realize really what happened until after you view the films and go over the games in slow motion and what had happened is, Motley went for a touchdown, but didn't even break stride. He knocked Otto over the back and knocked him. out and that was all there was to it and he didn't miss stride, it was like no one was there so Otto Snellbacker said after that, when that big horse comes through the line, I am going to let him go by and then I am going to chase him and jump on the back of him.
It is difficult for anyone to put into words really how it feels. You come here to Canton and be a part of this festival that the Hall of Fame Committee puts on. I have to compliment the committee, Pete Elliott and the Board of Directors and all those associated with it because they have organized a festival of events here that is unbelievable to anyone who has ever had the opportunity to witness it. And to, and I know this, that it is the citizens of Canton and you people who along that parade route that will be attending the game today and that have attended all these events, you are the people, not only responsible for the football game as fans, but also you are the people of Canton responsible for the success of this great festival and this Hall of Fame behind me.
You have made the Hall of Fame here of such outstanding proportions that to everyone that ever-played football in the NFL, this is the most singular achievement that an athlete in football can ever receive and it is known throughout the world. I don't have to tell you how I feel being a part of it and being an inductee. My football was very long time ago, 30 years since I played the game and to be recognized at this late stage of my life, you can not believe how much sweeter it is than if I would have been named much earlier. A lot of people say, gee, you were passed over, thank you that I was, because I have a real feeling of appreciation.
There are so many people that one has to thank for something like this for my being here, my teammates, my family, my wife and son are here today and I have four children that are scattered around the country that are not here with us today. I have a brother in the audience, his name is different from mine, Bill Williams, who has been like a father to me, responsible for all my success, both in football as well as in my business over the years because he dealt with all the trials and tribulations, all the tragedies as well as the joys in life that I have received. I want to thank all of you football fans everywhere that have made anything like this possible. I never even dreamed that it would happen and I can't tell you how much that I appreciate it, how much I am honored by it and how I will carry it with me forever and as long as the Good Lord lets me. Thank you.