"This business of working in the locker room is really overdone," Georgia says. "I told Steve he should stop saying that he picked up dirty socks and jocks. Everyone knows it. When his first bio appeared in the press book, I asked him to change it. It's not dignified."
Sure enough, the "dirty socks" in Steve's bio in the Rams' 1978 Media Guide has been changed to "dirty towels" in the '79 book. But any way you dirty it, he had spent more than 20 years working with his father, and his friends felt he should have been rewarded with at least a slightly larger share than was given to the other children.
"Carroll treated his children equally," says attorney E. Gregory Hookstratten, an executor of the will. "In law it's called pari passu."
Steve says, "I told my father, 'It's your money and I don't care what you do with it. Flush it down the toilet if you want to.' The things I have the happiest memories looking back on are the things money couldn't get you. I remember the family feeling we all had in those old Colt days. Money couldn't buy that. We used to refer to each other by names out of Damon Runyon. Bert Bell Jr. was Blackie. I was Hymie the Mink. The Colt veterans used to yell over at me, 'Hey, Mink!' There were rookies who were in and out so fast they never even knew my name. They called me Mr. Mink.
"I see people lose their whole perspective because of money. This is a people business. When you get caught up in ego, then you're strictly in the entertainment business, just like Hollyweird."
Carroll Rosenbloom hated the city of Baltimore. Steve loved it. When Carroll traded the Colts' franchise for the Rams' in 1972, Steve waited a year to follow him to Los Angeles. He didn't trust the place. He had taken part of his father's wedding gift to him and invested it in a dog-boarding business in Baldwin, Md., and he stayed out of football.
"I had a year to think about football while I was hosing down dog runs," he says. "I'd taken a lot of crap in my life, but hosing it down is a little different."
Eventually, Steve went to Los Angeles, and the rift that had been growing between him and Klosterman in Baltimore widened. The Duke of Del Rey, as Klosterman is known, had knocked around AFL outposts—Kansas City, Houston—and gained a reputation as a crafty guerrilla fighter when the new league and the NFL were warring. Then, in 1970, Carroll Rosenbloom hired Klosterman as his general manager in Baltimore, and two years later he was back in his beloved Southern California.
The Duke is a survivor. He survived a severe spinal injury that should have left him paralyzed. He survived three coaching changes under Carroll. He survived an attempt by Tampa Bay to lure him to Florida with a contract that would have guaranteed him lifetime security. But that deal didn't have Bel Air or Malibu written into it. No, Tampa Bay, the Duke would stay where he was, thank you, on $50,000 a year, a salary Carroll seemed to fix onto his executives; former Ram Coach Chuck Knox' original contract was for $50,000, and until very recently Steve Rosenbloom's salary was $50,000.
Then last year Carroll brought in Guiver, a former players' agent and a Life Master in bridge who broke Tommy Prothro in at championship-level competition, to handle contracts, Klosterman's old area. Trading, though, still was Klosterman's department, at least for the record, but then a few days before the NFL draft in May, a league-wide TWX went out from the Rams' office that stunned many people. It said that any trade discussions with Los Angeles should be addressed to Dick Steinberg, the Director of Player Personnel. And at the draft Klosterman was moved from his familiar post at the head table to the junior varsity bench. He was unofficially awarded the title of Overseer and Consultant. Once again his survival instincts were being tested.