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Good and bad to George Gipp

November 10, 2011 - Burt Angeli
Laurium’s George Gipp, star athlete at Calumet High School and University of Notre Dame, entered the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame posthumously in 1972.

There’s no doubt, based on Gipp’s talent, that he belongs in the U.P. shrine.

In his final game with Notre Dame, Gipp played with a separated shoulder, broken collarbone and severe sore throat, and still threw two TD passes. Coach Knute Rockne called Gipp “superior to Jim Thorpe and Red Grange.”

Gipp also starred in baseball, playing center field for the 1919 Calumet-Laurium Aristocrats. It’s likely Gipp may have faced teams from our area.

But after reading the “The Gipper,” a 2010 book authored by Jack Cavanaugh, one wonders if Gipp’s off-the-field exploits should have been take under consideration by U.P. Hall of Fame voters.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame has denied Pete Rose for betting on his team’s games. Gipp likely did the same, although not to lose.

The chain-smoking, undisciplined Gipp wasn’t the classic role model, missing classes and practice — probably to shoot pool and play poker. He was also “technically a draft dodger” back in 1917, according to Cavanaugh.

There’s also stories of Gipp bringing bootleg liquor to Calumet from Notre Dame.

Should this have been enough to keep Gipp out of the U.P. Hall of Fame? Just wondering.



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