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GREASY NEALE: NOTHING TO PROVE, NOTHING TO ASK
Gerald Holland
August 24, 1964
A man who played football with Jim Thorpe, hit .357 against the Black Sox and coached the Philadelphia Eagles to two pro championships manages to be unusual even at a cocktail party: interesting, that is
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August 24, 1964

Greasy Neale: Nothing To Prove, Nothing To Ask

A man who played football with Jim Thorpe, hit .357 against the Black Sox and coached the Philadelphia Eagles to two pro championships manages to be unusual even at a cocktail party: interesting, that is

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"Right," said Greasy, "I hit .357. Got a triple off little Dick Kerr, the honest pitcher. Matter of fact, I think they were all honest after that first game. The ones in on the deal didn't get the payoff they were promised. The rest of the games were straight, I am convinced. Series went eight games, you know."

"What team did you take to the Rose Bowl, sir?" asked the young man.

" Washington and Jefferson," said Greasy. "We went through the season undefeated and were invited to go out and play the University of California. We weren't supposed to have a chance. Some experts predicted we'd lose by 28 points. I recall I was in the men's lounge of the hotel the morning of the game. I was incognito. I heard a loudmouthed fellow somewhere in the room yell out, 'I'm giving 14 points on California. Any takers?' I hollered back, ' California could start playing right now and play until sundown and they wouldn't score 14 points on us!' Well, the outcome was that we played a scoreless tie, held the California team to two first downs. It was a moral victory for W and J. Everybody, even the California sportswriters, agreed on that."

"Get that, son?" asked the father of the young man. "Played in a World Series, took a team out to the Rose Bowl and won two pro football championships."

The young man nodded. " Mr. Neale," he said, "how did you get the nickname of Greasy?"

Greasy put a hand on the young man's shoulder. "I'll tell you how that came about. There was a boy I grew up with in Parkersburg, W. Va., and he was a kind of Huckleberry Finn. His parents didn't pay him much mind or discipline him in any way. He wasn't too particular about his appearance, and one day I called him 'Dirty Face' or 'Dirty Neck' or some such thing, and he got even by calling me 'Greasy,' because I had worked for a time as a grease boy in a rolling mill. The other kids picked it up, and it stayed with me for life. Of course, some sportswriters wrote that the nickname referred to my elusiveness as a ballcarrier in football and a base runner in baseball. But it was that boy back home who gave me the name."

A big man who was walking around as if he owned the place stopped and slapped Greasy on the back. "The old .200 hitter," he told the group. "Only time he ever hit .300 was in a crooked World Series." He hurried on as Greasy called after him, "Got a triple off Dick Kerr, didn't I?"

Greasy pointed to the big man who was handshaking his way around the room. "That fellow," he said, "cracks that same joke every time I come in his place."

"Greasy," said the man who wasn't born when the Black Sox World Series was played, "let me ask you something else here. Allie Sherman said you were a great influence on him when he was with the Eagles. Now, before you went into pro ball, you coached at several colleges, I believe, and—"

Greasy held up a hand.

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