Unitas symbol handed off to CFLs

August 24, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Just past the receptionist's desk in the Baltimore CFLs' offices at Memorial Stadium, visitors are greeted by a three-foot-high bronze plaque with John Unitas' bust on top and his football accomplishments at the bottom.

If it looks familiar, it should. It is the same plaque that once hung with Brooks Robinson's in the main concourse of the stadium.

Now, some three weeks after the plaque was propped up against a wall, unsecured, John Unitas Jr. is asking the team to move it back to its rightful place -- in the main concourse.

John Jr. said yesterday that he had mailed a letter to CFLs owner Jim Speros asking him to move the plaque honoring the former Baltimore Colts great.

"It doesn't belong in the Baltimore CFL offices," Unitas Jr. said. "It belongs in the stadium where people can see it. Where it is now can be portrayed as Dad being part of the club. And it shouldn't be, because he doesn't have any connection.

"That's the sentiment of our family."

The retired quarterback was less forceful but agreed. "I think it belongs out in the lobby where fans can see it," Unitas said. "It was for the people, I thought."

Speros was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The plaques of Unitas and Robinson were removed from Memorial Stadium on Aug. 16, 1991, according to city records. The Orioles took Robinson's, and it now hangs outside the Brooks Robinson party suite at Camden Yards.

Norm Anderson, corresponding secretary of the Council of Colts Corrals, wound up with the Unitas plaque, awaiting a spot at a proposed new football stadium if Baltimore got an NFL team. He said he gave it to the city about a month ago with the idea it would be returned to Memorial Stadium.

He was surprised to learn it was in the CFLs' offices. "It was not intended to be there," he said.

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