"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Washington Redskin Wilbur "Wee Willie" Wilkin from St. Mary's College was a dominant tackle in the NFL's early years, known as much for his Rabelaisian nightlife off the field as for his bruising play on it. "He was 6-foot-6 and weighed 270 pounds, give or take a few cocktails," wrote Washington Post sportswriter Bob Addie. The author of The Redskins, 1937-1958, Morris A. Bealle, called him "a man mountain of bone, muscle and sinew." One newspaper in 1940 described him this way: "Is a veritable Gibraltar on defense and likes to block punts by crashing through, bodily picking up a protecting blocker and tossing him into the punter."
One of Sammy Baugh's favorite stories – one that no matter how many times he told it he couldn’t keep himself from laughing – involved teammate Willie Wilkin…Redskins coach Ray Flaherty and the 1942 NFL all-star game at snowy Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
Wee Willie, a notorious drinker, was a no-show the morning of the game. Baugh said there was a rumor that Wilkin didn’t get back to the hotel until 2:30 that morning, then left again at 4 a.m.
Just before the all-star team headed to the field for warm-ups, Wilkin arrived drunk and carrying his coat.
“Somebody finally told him where his locker was and we all just sat and watched him,” Sam said. “He slowly took one shoe off and put on one of his cleats. But he hadn’t taken off his pants yet, so he had to start over again.”
About that time, Flaherty poked his head out of the office to see if the tackle had arrived and spotted Wilkin sitting on a bench with one leg in his pants and the other out.
“You could just see the coach’s face turning red and he walks over to where Willie is sitting,” Sam described. “Neither one of them says a word. Then all of the sudden, that coach just reared back and knocked the fire out of Wee Willie. Kaboom! He knocked him right off that bench and Wee Willie started crying.
“He’s laying there with one leg in his pants and the other on the bench, and while he’s crying he says, ‘Aw coach, I was going to play a hell of a game for you, but you done broke my spirit.”
Sam would then burst out laughing.
“Broke my spirit. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The sumbitch is still crying and coach yells at him, ‘I’m going to start you and leave you in the game until you die!”