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Howard Cassady
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Buckeye Bronze

1955 Heisman winner Howard Cassady

Former Ohio State two-way star Howard "Hopalong" Cassady finished runner-up to Wisconsin's Alan Ameche in voting for the 1954 Heisman Trophy, so Cassady figured he had a chance to win the award the next year. The day before the 1955 Heisman Trophy winner was announced, Cassady learned he'd won from, of all people, future New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Cassady had met Steinbrenner at Lockbourne Air Force Base near Columbus, Ohio, where "The Boss" served two years of military service and coordinated the base's athletics programs. During Cassady's senior season at Ohio State in 1955, Steinbrenner coached Northwestern's defensive backs. After playing eight seasons with the Detroit Lions, Cassady retired from football and launched a business that manufactured concrete pipe. He later sold steel to Steinbrenner's ship building company. Eventually, Cassady, who was a star shortstop at Ohio State, worked as a minor league coach and talent scout for the Yankees for three decades. While steel helped launch Cassady's coaching career, he learned the true value of bronze during the mid-1980s. While Cassady was on the road scouting potential draft picks for the Yankees, someone burglarized his home and stole his Heisman Trophy. The burglar kept Cassady's sterling-silver awards, but tossed his prized Heisman Trophy into the garbage. A sanitation worker discovered the trophy's right arm sticking out of a garbage can and called Ohio State officials. Some of the trophy's fingers were broken, but the Heisman was repaired and returned to Cassady. "The price of silver was way up and they just didn't realize the value of the Heisman," Cassady told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times in 2005.
-- Mark Schlabach

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