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Thread: Greatest Cardinal Ever! Larry 'Wildcat' Wilson

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sun City AZ
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    2,265

    Default Thank you,

    I for one thank you for posting this here and now. I never got to see Larry Wilson play, except for a few times on TV. By the time the Cardinals moved to AZ he was retired. He was here working as vice president or something. I did meet him a few times, and a nicer person I have never met. I have his autograph on an old bucket hat that the Cardinals gave to season ticket holders. Maybe I should retire that too lol. Go Cardinals.
    CP3 All the way to the SB.

  2. #32
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    Nov 2013
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    Phx
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    3,138

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Slick View Post
    Count me in on 'Long-time Cardinal fan' status. Yes,I attended many games watching Larry Wilson play throughout his career. Whenever a professional player,regardless of the sport,performs in an unique way to such a high level of effectiveness that it changes the way the game is played they belong up in the top 5% of all-time greats. When Coach Chuck Drulis hand-picked No.8 to be the playmaker in his radical defensive scheme the door to the HOF began to open for Larry Wilson.
    Larry Wilson was class personified on and off the field and set a standard for following Cardinal players that cannot be exceeded only matched. There have been and currently are worthy candidates,such as Roger Wehrli and Larry Fitzgerald. A player like Roger,No.22.,became a professional playing in Larry's shadow and another HOF'er was hatched. Now that's quite an influence! A more current example would be Adrian Wilson with Aeneas Williams as his guide. Could he eventually be a HOF'er,too? I wouldn't be surprised!
    It's like my old Marine Corps days when back "in country." You never know where and when the leadership will come from,but it always does,sometimes in a surprising way. Never count out the 'runt grunt' just step aside and follow...
    Good stuff!

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    399

    Default More Larry Wilson

    I know there are more fans like you, 'crdl85' and 'desert dawg,' out there. When topics like these pop up they are always interesting to jump in on. As I am much older now is easy to think back on how things 'used to be.' But,while younger fans may cringe on such topics there still is a validity to the comparisons. Throughout my life, the back 'n forth with my dad,known on this board as,SemperFiIwo, was filled with this sort of stuff. Things like who was better,"Sugar Ray" Leonard or Floyd Patterson?, or "Bullet Bob"Gibson vs. Bob Feller",or Otto Graham compared to Joe Montana?

    But, the subject of Larry Wilson was no contest. We both saw him play many times and sang his praises like we were fan club members. Like my Dad always said,"The true mark of a champion-like player is never being disappointed in their performance." That kind of player is worth the price of admission and then some. For the rest of your life you have something to remember and add to their legacy about with others,especially one of your own.

    Larry Wilson probably played at 5'11" and 185lbs.,not his listed 6' 200lbs. and speed was not his game. But, in toughness,leadership,"knowing the game" so well that he could frustrate the likes of Bart Starr,Johnny Unitas,Sonny Jurgensen, "Dandy Don"Meredith,to name a few,not to mention their head coaches,well...remember,his nickname was "Wildcat" and it was well earned for there was a tenacity and the quality of "no quit" in his game that carried thru from his first game in the NFL to his last.

    After the Cardinals moved to St.Louis for the '60 season they kept training at Lake Forest College north of Chicago for another decade and I got to grow up with him along the way from being a low-draft choice running back to team captain and inspirational leader,par excellance. No Cardinal player I ever saw in camp liked messing around with the kids as much as he,whether tossing or punting a ball with us. He always seemed to be the last player off the field after signing autographs and an ever present smile. He remained connected with the team being groomed in the front office following his playing days and even came back to the field to head coach the final three games of a season when Bud Wilkinson was let go. He has an official coaching record of 2 wins and 1 loss!

    The only thing he did not accomplish was playing in an official post-season game and winning a championship. The only post-season game of his career was the non-advancing "Runner-Up Bowl" played on national TV in Miami pitting our boys against Lombardi's favored Packers after the '63 season. He led the Cardinals to victory leading a smothering and overwhelming defense over the acclaimed offense of the mighty Packers! I can still recall how Lombardi acted on the sidelines watching his team be out-Lombardied on national TV and it was due to Larry Wilson leading the Chuck Drulis defense. As "Bugs" would say, "Whata pa-formance!"

    The player who I consider the closest to matching No.8 in later years when it comes to low-round draft status,minimal physical talent,but tenacity,intelligence,"no quit" in his game and fearlessness was Pat Tillman. I wouldn't be surprised if Pat purposefully patterned his game on Wilson's...

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seymour TN
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    363

    Default

    For the present, Larry Fitzgerald will be headed in that direction plus the Hall of Fame.
    In the past, would have to say the OT Dan Dierdorf. Though I only have seen film of him as he was before my time.
    But heard he was awesome.
    July is Nearing!

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    15

    Default Nothing stronger than a child's first sports hero in one's mind

    I don't know if you read my write-up on Larry, but he was truly 'da-man'. And very unique as well - I've yet to see a defender that reminds me of anything like him.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    1

    Default My Hero

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedBilly View Post
    I don't know if you read my write-up on Larry, but he was truly 'da-man'. And very unique as well - I've yet to see a defender that reminds me of anything like him.
    Hello All, long time lurker who after reading this thread had to join. I, as a 7 or 8 year old and my little brother in '68 or so met Larry Wilson in the sporting section of a local department store in ST. Louis. As he was signing his autograph on an NFL booklet I asked him what position he played. When he answered "safety" everyone including Larry got a good laugh when I said 'there is no safety position'.... I thought he played Cardinal baseball...did not know football existed! He was the nicest man to my brother and I and he became my Cardinal football hero! While going through our parents belongings after our father passed my sister asked who is Larry Wilson? My brother and I could not believe Mom/Dad had put both of our signed NFL booklets away for safe keeping...we had believed they had been destroyed with all our sports cards in a flood! My wife located Larry's '68 card and framed it and his autograph together and it is displayed proudly in my man cave! He is still my hero! We moved to upstate NY as kids and remained Cardinal fans and I am still a Redbird Fanatic!

  7. #37
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    Sep 2014
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    Default

    I really enjoyed watching Otis Anderson and Terry Metcalf in my short life time.

  8. #38
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    Sep 2014
    Location
    Santa Clara, CA
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    Larry Wilson on a safety blitz was a thing of beauty. I started following just after the brief success that Charlie Johnson brought in the mid sixties. I still remember the first winning revival I experienced in Cardinal football when Coryell came to town along with a rookie RB named Metcalf. Nice run for a 5 year period in the seventies.

    I am enjoying the sound management we currently have in place, a great foundation to build on. IMO
    Big Red fan since 1967

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    399

    Default Larry Wilson

    Welcome, 'Smitty,' the fans here will value your comments. Yes, Larry Wilson, was some kinda football player! The '66 season, as I recall, he was a serious contender for Defensive Player of the Year. So, you were a new Cardinal fan during his peak career years.

    You are right when you reference the mid-1960's as good years to be a fan of the Cardinals. But, that '66 season was bittersweet, indeed. That was Charley Johnson's most promising season with the Big Red and had the game where my father where, for the rest of his life, would relive his anger against the New York Giants. You see, No.12 and the Cardinals were dominating the Eastern Conference with 6 or 7 victories and only 1 loss and a tie going into the Polo Grounds. A second victory against the Giants could put the team in the catbird seat for their first conference title since 1948 with only the Browns to contest them the rest of the way.

    As a teenage fan I was soaking up ally my Dad's 'glory stories' as he relived the team's success from the late '40's. This was the season that would cement my Cardinal fandom, it would be my first experience with the team playing in a championship game! And why not? Besides Charley leading the way of Charley Winner's revolutionary offensive scheme, we had an elite offensive line with guys like, Ernie McMillan, Ken Gray, Irv Goode and Bob DeMarco and playmakers like Johnny Roland, Jackie Smith, Sonny Randle and Bobby Joe Conrad and a tough defense led by Larry Wilson and Larry Stallings, and could always rely on the foot of Jim Bakken.

    But, it was not to be...for in the late stages of that game while driving for a decisive score to ice the victory, Charley Johnson was seriously injured when he ran to avoid the Giant pass rush of Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli and Rosie Grier. Charley ran to safety out of bounds where he was roughed up. While the infraction helped the rookie backup could not get the needed TD and we had to settle for a Jim Bakken FG. The defense held the Giants late and we won, Charley's season was over and the Cardinals won only one more game and, more importantly, lost to Cleveland and finished in second place. With Jim Hart taking over the following season the long and slow return to contention would have to wait for the memorable '74 season.

    So, there you have it Valley fans, some reminiscing of exciting seasons of yesteryear when in mid-season of 1966 and 1974 our Cardinals were the talk of the league and in serious title contention. So, hold on to your hats, for starting this Sunday against the long-rival Eagles, our team is, again, making noise and elbowing ourselves into the title conversation.

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