Artie

Baltimore says goodbye to legend Art Donovan…

Rest In Peace, Artie Donovan (1924-2013)…

Donovan has gone. But Ravens fans loved the old Colt and will never forget him.

Art Donovan was 89 when he died Sunday evening at Stella Maris Hospice. 

He had been suffering from respiratory problems.

Artie Donovan was born in New York and served in the Marines in World War Two.  

He served in the Pacific and fought in the Battle of Luzon and the Battle of Iwo Jima.

 

Donovan had a 12-year NFL career, mostly with the Baltimore Colts. 

He was a defensive tackle who played with the Colts' teams that on the NFL Championship in 1958 and 1959.

He was part of the Baltimore Colts team that played in what many to be considered the greatest football game every played.

It was the December, 1958, sudden death overtime game, where the Colts beat the New York Giants 23-17 to win the NFL championship.

Donovan once told WBAL's John Patti that he felt the Colts played better games than the 1958 championship, but he said that since the game was the first to be decided in overtime many fans and historians considered the game to be historic.

 

Donovan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968. He was the first member of the Baltimore Colts to enter the Hall of Fame.

 

For nearly 50 years, Donovan owned the Valley Country Club in Ruxton, Maryland.

 

With his thick Bronx accent, and larger than life personality, Donovan became a fixture on local radio and television and on the after dinner speaker circuit, during the 1960's through 1990's.  

Thanks to his 1987 autobiography "Fatso", Donovan became a  national talk show staple, appearing on the "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "Late Night with David Letterman" frequently in the 1980's.

 

He would recount stories from his playing days, as his childhood in the Bronx to the delight of audiences.

 

He was also known for his voracious appetite often eating dozens of hot dogs or hamburgers in one sitting.  

"I've never eaten a chicken, fish or turkey in my life," Donovan told WBAL News in 2010. 

"I eat hot dogs, cheeseburgers, Italian food, and that's it."

 

The Bronx native also once said he never though he would live in Baltimore for as long as he did, and that he would be embraced by the fans as he was

 

"Never in my life did I ever think I would spend 56 years of my life in Baltimore. I was born and raised in the Bronx, four miles north of Yankee Stadium. I was a Yankee fan and I was a Giants football fan. I've been here so long, people come to me and say, 'How come you can't talk like us?' I said look I'm from the Bronx. I talk the way I'm comfortable, it's my language."

 

"We lost a friend, one of the finest men and one of the greatest characters we were fortunate to meet in this community and in this business," Baltimore  Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. "Baltimore is now without one of its best and someone who was a foundation for the tremendous popularity of football in our area. The world is not as bright tonight because we lost someone who could make us all smile."

 

And oh yeah… he was a pretty good football player, too.

 

Position: DT-T
Height: 6-2    Weight: 263 lbs.

College: Notre Dame, Boston Col.   
Drafted by the New York Giants in the 22nd round (204th overall) of the 1947 NFL Draft.

5-time Pro Bowler & 4-time First-Team All-Pro

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1968

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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