De Pere’s Trinkner nominated for Packers FAN Hall of Fame
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – At 90 years old, De Pere resident Ken Trinkner has been a Green Bay Packers fan longer than most.
Trinkner, who grew up on a dairy farm in Bellevue as one of six children, was recently nominated to become the 23rd member of the Packers FAN Hall of Fame.
“My earliest Packers memory came from my father,” Trinkner said. “I remember him telling me about Johnny “Blood” McNally. According to my father, Johnny Blood was an amazing football player and was a colorful and eccentric player. There were many stories about him sneaking out after curfew to do the town.”
Trinkner also served four years in the Air Force and the Korean Conflict and worked six years in the oil fields of Texas.
“The first time I was able to see the Packers play was in 1949 at City Stadium,” he said. “This first game was an eye-opener. I had never been exposed to so much excitement, especially the roar of the crowds during the first kickoff and the first touchdown. It was exhilarating.”
Trinkner sold programs for 25 cents outside City Stadium on game days.
He got to keep a nickel for each copy he sold and was then given a badge that let him into the stadium for the game.
Seating rules were more relaxed back then, so he could sit anywhere he wanted.
Trinkner said the game of football is much better today.
“The game is faster and quarterbacks are better passers,” he said.
Trinkner has never been a season ticket holder but did attend all home games for about two years in the 1970s.
“I was able to purchase tickets through a friend,” said Trinkner. “Of course, I have also been to other home games throughout the years. I’m also a shareholder.”
On the Packers FAN Hall of Fame website, Trinkner tells a story about two of his game experiences.
“One time at a game when I was sitting on the players’ bench, one of our guys was pulled out of the game with a broken arm,” he said. “I remember him arguing with the coach to ‘bandage up’ his arm and ‘send him back in.’ Another time, I saw Bob Forte tackle an opposing ball carrier and punch the opposing player as referees broke up the scuffle. The referee was ready to eject Forte for punching until he saw bite marks on his arm.”
Trinkner said he likes players from years ago and today.
“Although I’ve never had any personal experiences, my favorite players are (quarterbacks) Bart Starr and Aaron Rodgers, (end) Don Hutson and (running back) Jim Taylor,” he said.
Trinkner said one game stands out as his most memorable.
“In January of 1966, I attended the 1965 NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field,” said Trinkner. “What stands out was the matchup between (Cleveland running back) Jim Brown and (Packers linebacker) Ray Nitschke. Brown was one of the best runners in the league and Nitschke vowed to stop him in this game. In the third quarter in the end zone, Brown got a little ahead of Nitschke. Frank Ryan, the quarterback for Cleveland, threw a pass to Brown. The pass was catchable, but Nitschke knocked the ball out of Brown’s reach. The best part was being able to see Nitschke’s face after he knocked that ball down. Our seats were near the end zone. Nitschke looked up with a humongous grin, and I could see he only had a couple of teeth in his mouth. Brown wasn’t a problem for the rest of the game.”
Green Bay went on to win the championship that day against the Browns, 23-12.
Fans have until midnight Jan. 31 to visit packers.com/fhof or by CLICKING HERE to read the stories of the 10 finalists and vote for their favorite.