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Walt Zirinsky
Halfback / Defensive back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1920-08-01)August 1, 1920
Place of birth: Northampton, Pennsylvania
Date of death: November 30, 2001(2001-11-30) (aged 81)
Place of death: Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
Career information
College: Lafayette
NFL Draft: 1942 / Round: 12 / Pick: 102
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Cleveland Rams ( 1945)
Career highlights and awards
* NFL champion (1945)
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Walter John "Walt" Zirinsky (August 1, 1920 – November 30, 2001) was an American football halfback who was a member of the Cleveland Rams team that won the 1945 NFL Championship.[1]

BiographyEdit

Early yearsEdit

Walter John Zirinsky, known by the nickname "Walt," was born August 1, 1920, in Northampton, Pennsylvania.[2] He was the son of Cyril Zirinsky and the former Mary Flisak.[3]

Zirinsky attended Northampton Area High School, taking up the sport of football, in which he excelled.

Following graduation from high school Zirinsky played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Zirinsky was a halfback at Lafayette who also handled placekicking duties for the team.[4] He was a star of the team from the 1940 season, scoring three touchdowns in a 46-0 route of arch-rival Lehigh that capped off an unbeaten year.[5]

NFL careerEdit

Zirinsky was drafted by the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League in the 1942 NFL draft, selected in the 12th round, the league's 102nd pick overall.[2]

Zirinsky did not play for the Rams, however, instead enlisting the United States Navy Air Corps to aid the country's effort during World War II.[3] During the war years he played football for a military service football team.[6]

He was discharged in time to play in the 1945 NFL season, signing with the Rams, the team which held his draft rights. Zirinsky played in five of the ten games played by the Rams during the 1945 season,[7] a campaign which culminated with the team's 15-14 victory over the Washington Redskins in the 1945 NFL Championship Game. On the year he only carried the ball three times, gaining just three yards.[2]

Zirinsky signed a second NFL contract in March 1946 with Rams General Manager Chile Walsh to play for the team during their inaugural season in Los Angeles.[6] This was not to be, however, as in April the Rams traded the Pennsylvania native Zirinsky to the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles for fullback and punter Jack Banta, a native Californian who was a former collegiate star at USC.[8]

Zirinsky never played for the Eagles, however, and his NFL career came to an end with just the three carries for the Rams and participation on a NFL championship team to his credit.[9]

Life after footballEdit

Zirinsky was married to the former Mary Laubach, with whom he had one son.[3]

Following his retirement from the NFL, Zirinsky worked as a department chief for Western Electric in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he worked for 37 years.[3]

Death and legacyEdit

Walt Zirinsky died November 30, 2001, in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. He was 81 years old at the time of his death. His family asked for donations to the American Cancer Society in Zirinsky's memory.[3]

FootnotesEdit

  1. "WALT ZIRINSKY". profootballarchives.com. http://www.profootballarchives.com/ziri00200.html. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Walt Zirinsky," Pro-Football Reference.com, www.profootballarchives.com/
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Walter J. Zirinsky: Obituary," Morning Call, Dec. 2, 2001.
  4. "Pennsylvania's Reagan Leads Eastern Scorers," Harrisburg [PA] Telegraph, Oct. 21, 1940, pg. 15.
  5. "Lafayette Romps," [Butte] Montana Standard, Nov. 24, 1940, pg. 22.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Los Angeles Rams Add More Players," New Philadelphia [OH] Daily Times, March 30, 1946; pg. 5.
  7. George Strickler (ed.), The National Football League Record and Rules Manual. New York: NFL Commissioner's Office, 1946; pg. 110.
  8. "Eagles Trade Banta," Harrisburg [PA] Telegraph, April 20, 1946, pg. 6.
  9. "Walt Zirinsky: Career Stats," National Football League, www.nfl.com/

External linksEdit

Template:Cleveland Rams 1942 draft navbox

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