Party to a championship

December 26, 1993|By SYLVIA BADGER

The owners of the New York Giants, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, and their general manager, George Young, threw one of the most memorable parties of the holiday season at New York's Club 21, according to friends who were lucky enough to be invited.

It was a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants 1958 championship game, called the greatest game ever played. Many feel this game really put pro ball on the map.

Former Colts who attended were Raymond and Sally Berry from Colorado -- he's a contender for the coaching job for the Charlotte Panthers; Lenny and Edith Moore; John and Sandy Unitas; Art DeCarlo; and Jan and Ordell Braase.

They were joined by retired Giants Charlie Conerly, Kyle Rote, Roosevelt Brown, Roosevelt Grier, Andy Robustelli, Alex Webster, Harland Svare, Don Maynard, and Y. A. Tittle, who wasn't in the championship game but was invited to stop by. So was the '58 Giants third string quarterback, Jack Kemp -- who is also a former secretary of HUD. I hear he pumped lots of hands and is looking more like a presidential candidate every day.

Which reminds me, former president Richard Nixon also popped in and chatted with most of the 50 or so people at the party. He said he'd attended both the '58 and '59 championship games, which, FYI, the Colts won.

The Giants' manager and his wife, Lovey, are former Baltimoreans. Young once taught at City College where (now-Mayor) Kurt Schmoke was one of his students. Schmoke loved football and aspired to the big time. Young encouraged him to pursue academics instead of athletics.

Another voice from the past was Chris Schenkel, stadium announcer for the game, who not only came to the party, but also was invited to do the halftime honors the next day at the Meadowlands. As fate would have it, the New York Giants were playing the Indianapolis Colts there, which many feel is the reason more of the former Colts didn't come to the party. Schenkel introduced members of the 1958 teams, ending with Johnny Unitas, calling him the greatest quarterback of all time. And with that, everyone at the Meadowlands gave them a standing ovation.

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City Lights at Harborplace was the scene of the Leffler Agency's 10th annual Holiday Bash. This agency was founded by the former Colts marketing director Bob Leffler in the wake of the Colts' 1984 move to Indianapolis. One of his best-known clients recently was the Glazier family, which was pursuing an NFL team for Baltimore.

You can bet football was the topic of many discussions at this party, especially since the group included Jim Speros, who's trying to bring the Canadian Football League to Baltimore; WBAL-radio's Stan White; WCBM-radio's Stan "The Fan" Charles; former Colts and Redskins star Joe Washington; Maryland stadium authority's Ernie Accorsi and Walt Gutowski; and part-owner of the Orioles David Bernstein.

Others enjoying the holiday cheer were Mike Rosen, executive vice-president for Town and Country Management; Jeff Pechter, president of Enchanted Forest Family Funjungle; Dusty and Michael Klein, Klein Family Enterprises; Herb Sweren, CEO, Lexaco Appliance; Bill Wallace, CEO, Action Business Systems; Vicki Hunter, Levindale public relations director; Mike Stishan, owner of City Lights; Jack Finkelstein, Finkelstein's of Towson; Tim Capps, Laurel-Pimlico vice president of communications; Ron Jones, executive vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs and the Downtown Athletic Club; Roy Deutschman, general manager V103 radio; Nan Pfaff, owner of Dermateks; Chris Fratta, Bay Area Mortgage; WBAL-radio's Larry Doyle, and Towson and Country Nissan's Richard Sammis.

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Remember Alan Villaverde? He was the outgoing vice president and general manager of the Stouffer Inner Harbor Hotel, and became very active in our community. He left to take over the ZTC reins of the Stouffer Orlando Resort last year, and now he's left the Stouffer organization to become vice president and general manager of the award-winning 891-room Peabody Orlando hotel.

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