One can only imagine hearing the voice on the other end as he brought the receiver to his ear.
The NFL’s most famous name in arguably its most important decade probably got right to the point.
It was an age of rotary dial phones with cords that usually stretched two or three feet, tops. Vince Lombardi’s office telephone even had a classy touch, courtesy of one of his corporate friendships.
Now, the phone once used by one of sports’ most famous names is up for grabs. Lombardi’s old office phone—turned over to his longtime secretary, Ruth McKloskey, after he stepped down as the Packers’ general manager after the 1968 season—is at Heritage Auctions.
Her brief handwritten note included with the lot reads, “Vince Lombardi’s phone in his office, Ruth McKloskey, Sec. He gave it to me when he left for Washington DC in 1968.” The consignor acquired the phone from McKloskey and, according to Heritage, will provide a letter of provenance referencing the transaction.
The phone, easy to spot with its silver plate at the top, courtesy of Mack Trucks, can be seen in a photo of Lombardi’s office as it looked at the time.
Sitting on a shelf behind the legendary coach’s office desk below photos of the coach’s children, it has some “expected wear from use and storage,” according to Heritage, “but presents without any condition issues of note.” The phone’s rotary dial still works but the landline connection hasn’t been tested.
The silver sleeve has “Vince Lombardi” engraved across it, along with the bulldog logo of Mack Trucks and was likely a gift from the company. Lombardi had relationships there and on at least one occasion prior to leaving Green Bay, he flew into Allentown, PA to give a pep talk to company executives.
Despite his sometimes gruff reputation, the Packers’ 1960s office staff generally adored their boss.
“He was easy to work for, he really was,” McKloskey said immediately after Lombardi’s death from cancer in 1970. “He was easy to work for because he was so well organized and always knew what he wanted…he never reprimanded me. Never. He was so appreciative, too.”
Heritage has placed a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 and up on the phone, which is part of the company’s current Fall Sports Catalog Auction.