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Alan Ameche: The Story of "The Horse" [Kindle Edition]

Dan Manoyan , Pat Richter
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is first biography of Alan “The Horse” Ameche, one of America’s great gridiron heroes. Born in 1933 to Italian immigrants, he grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he played for one of the state’s best-ever high school football teams. From there he went on to break Big Ten rushing records for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, leading them to the 1953 Rose Bowl and winning the 1954 Heisman Trophy. He earned his nickname “The Horse” for his tremendous training ethic, power, and stamina. In a professional career with the Baltimore Colts that lasted just six seasons before injury ended it, he was the 1955 NFL Rookie of the Year and went to the Pro Bowl five times.

    The 1958 championship game of the National Football League that pitted Ameche’s Colts against the New York Giants has often been called the NFL’s “Greatest Game Ever Played.” It was the first national title game to be televised, and forty-five million people were watching. It was also the first-ever NFL game to go into sudden death overtime. Ameche and future Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas teamed up on several key plays in the decisive touchdown drive. Ameche’s dramatic one-yard plunge into the end zone ended the game at 8:15 of the overtime period, captured the attention of television viewers across the nation, and laid the groundwork for football to become the enormously popular and lucrative business it is today.

    Author Dan Manoyan has delved into Ameche’s history, interviewing the Ameche family, Kenosha friends, Wisconsin Badger players, and several of his  Baltimore Colts teammates—including NFL Hall of Fame members Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, and Raymond Berry—to offer revealing insights about Alan Ameche the man. Manoyan gives a fuller picture of him as an Academic All-American, a devoted husband and father, a highly successful businessman after his football career, a patron of the arts, and a committed philanthropist.

Editorial Reviews


“With power, speed and heart, Alan Ameche carried Wisconsin football into the big time. --”—Sports Illustrated

About the Author

Dan Manoyan has retired from a nearly four-decade career as an award-winning sports writer for publications including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dallas Morning News, Waukegan News-Sun, and Kenosha News. He is author of the book Men of Granite and now lives in Alan Ameche’s hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1442 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (September 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NZH0K6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Football Superstar Gets His Due September 15, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off I must say I no longer follow football on any level. However, I do enjoy reading biographies of players from the 1950s and 1960s that I remember. To me, Alan Ameche and the Baltimore Colts were a special team so I eagerly bought this book. Author Dan Manoyan has done a commendable job in reviewing the career of "The Horse." So why only four stars? The book contains 271 pages of text and the bulk of the book covers Ameche's high school career at Kenosha, Wisconsin, and his college career with the Wisconsin Badgers. Ameche spent only six seasons with the Baltimore Colts so perhaps that is why the author didn't get to Alan's career with the Colts until page 195. I'm not saying Alan's high school and college career were not important (Alan won the Heismann trophy in 1954), but this part didn't particularly interest me. Someone else may enjoy it very much.

What I did like about the coverage of his career with the Colts was some of his former teammates relating their experiences with him. I enjoyed this more than I would have a season-by-season recapping of his career. The only particular game that is included is the 1958 championship overtime victory the Colts achieved over the New York Giants with Ameche carrying the ball into the end zone for the final score.

I was disappointed to learn that coach Weeb Eubank had a personality conflict with Ameche. Eubank appeared to look down on the team's number one draft choice and often spoke derogatorily of Alan. When Ameche tore his Achilles tendon near the end of the 1960 season he mentioned to Eubank that he was considering retiring from the game. Instead of getting an encouraging uplift from his coach Eubank told Ameche he thought that would be a good idea. These words told Alan he wasn't wanted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Could Use Some Editing October 23, 2012
Having grown up in Kenosha and being family friends with the Ameches, I was excited when I saw this book on the shelf. I found the descriptions of Alan's life and career very interesting because his career began about the time I was born. However, I am not sure if you were not a Badger or Colts fan of that era whether you would find this book of interest. Unfortunately, all of this took place before the NFL took off in the late 60s and most of these players are largely forgotten.

I felt this book could have used some editing. Did anyone read this book before it was printed? On more than one occasion I found myself in deja vu. For example, the author tells us, "Lakefront Stadium was a palace by high school standards." Then in the very next paragraph he says. "the stadium was a palace by 1949 high school football standards." I found this and other similar examples to be distracting.

As a personal aside, I attended many games at the stadium in the mid 60s and never heard anyone describing the stadium as anything approaching a palace. It was a typical high school field with small steamy locker rooms and a rough field.
Fact checks - Lynn's wife was Barbara Cain, not Kane and Big Daddy Lipscomb was not 6'10", he was 6'6".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Biography of a Great Man January 23, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book. I really did. Alan Ameche retired from the NFL when I was 6 years old. I never followed him or his team. But I had a chance to meet he and his good wife when we were all involved in a three-day training seminar back in 1979. They were both warm, humble people. I had no idea who he was, and he was not one to broadcast it. I only learned after the training. Anyway, when I saw there was a biography of the man, I had to read it. I was disappointed. There are some good points to the book. Ameche's humble, friendly personality comes across, and the author's description of the "Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 NFL Championship game, is excellent. But generally, the writing is stilted and repetitive, and there are countless errors in editing. I found the book tedious in many places. I thought Alan Ameche was a great guy, but I wouldn't recommend this biography of him.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My relatively high rating is based largely on the fact that as a teenager 60 years ago, I remember reading about this man and several of his peers. And so the book filled in the details that the sports pages of long ago could not do, unless you lived near Kenosha. If I had a criticism, the book was rather heavy in detail of Wisconsin high school games, seasons, and personalities that would not ring a bell with a North Carolinian, and by comparison went through his pro career rather quickly. The close look at his family life was appreciated, and the details of his puzzling relationship with Weeb Eubank was something new to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Biography! September 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading "Alan Ameche: The Story of 'The Horse'" written by Dan Manoyan. It was a fascinating read about an man and an era that has now passed us by. Dan Manoyan writes with a superb sportswriter eye to detail. He provides the reader with telling details of Alan Ameche's football career and of his life. Anyone from the Chicago-Milwaukee area will find the local details of great interest and ANY NFL fan will enjoy the insights provided by the many personal interviews Manoyan conducted.


Michael A. Sooley
Santa Rosa, California
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