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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Coolest Card

Many of you know that I am an avid sports fan and collect memorabilia related to the pastimes I enjoy and the athletes that make it so.

But among the Griffeys, Gretzkys, and Navratilovas one name stands out - Gustav Jaenecke. I am the proud owner of his 1936 hockey card and the man featured on the front is the reason why I won't sell it for a 1966 Bobby Orr. You probably have never heard of this guy, but that's what I'm here for.

Gustav Jaenecke was a Nazi-era hockey star and helped his team to a bronze in 1932 and made the squad as a star in 36. The problem was that for the 36 squad Hitler's honchos wanted to name Gustav captain and leave his best friend and the best german player ever off of the squad, for Rudi Ball was jewish. The authorities, fearing a walkout of their appointed star, permitted Rudi Ball to play as their captain and assured his entire family and free passage as well as several former athletes and their families.  The men carried their team and scored 3 goals apiece. They didn't win a medal, but in a rare measure, the Nazis kept their end of the bargain. Heinz Ball went on to establish hockey in South Africa and Gerhard and Rudi Ball reestablished winter sport in Germany after the fall of the Nazis and spread the game as well as goodwill into several countries where the game was unheard of.

Gustav Jaenecke used his voice to do what was right, even though he could have perished as a result. He just wanted to save his best friend and left a legacy so far beyond. He risked himself to save another and saved lives as well as a sport. And fittingly Mr. Jaenecke and Rudi Ball are together after death in the International Hockey Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know squat about sports, and you know that. BUT I do know a good man when I hear of one. This is total awesome! I learn something everyday here.


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