Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hirsch and Bruce Are Tied Together by Record Book

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hirsch and Bruce Are Tied Together by Record Book

Article excerpt

Nearly 50 years and a lot of football separate Elroy Hirsch and Isaac Bruce.

Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield were delivering passes to Hirsch long before Bruce was delivered in a Florida hospital.

Hirsch was catching a National Football League record-tying 17 touchdowns during the Rams' world championship season, even before Bruce was on the horizon.

Hirsch played nine seasons in the NFL, Bruce is in only his second season.

Yet, in some ways, the divide is not so wide.

Hirsch played for the Rams. Bruce plays for the Rams. Hirsch was considered a particularly gifted wide receiver. Bruce is considered a budding star at wide receiver. Hirsch set club and NFL records in his day. Bruce, 23, has broken or tied three club records this season, including two by Hirsch. And there is the matter of nicknames.

The religious Bruce has been dubbed the "Rev. Ike." Hirsch was known as "Crazy Legs." Nicknames stamped by sportswriters.

"My left foot points out farther than my right and when I take that step and I bring the leg back it goes behind my body and then I've got a whirling around kind of motion," said Hirsch, now 72 and retired in Wisconsin. "I run like an eggbeater."

Elroy "Eggbeater" Hirsch? Nah.

The two men have never met. But Hirsch has read about Bruce. Hirsch may live in the Green Bay Packers' province, but "the Rams are my team. Always will be."

Said Hirsch admiringly: "I know his stats. Very impressive."

Hirsch is philosophical about his old club records. On Sunday against Buffalo, Bruce surpassed Hirsch's record of 1,495 receiving yards in a single season with 1,503 yards of his own. He passed, too, Henry Ellard's mark of 86 passes in a season with his own 95.

He tied Hirsch for most 100-yard receiving games in a Rams season with 136 yards against the Bills. Both have done it eight times. For the record, Hirsch set his standards in a 12-game season; Bruce has surpassed them over 14 games in a 16-game schedule.

It was just a matter of time before someone came along and eclipsed his marks, Hirsch said. Records are meant to be broken, he added.

"That's what they're there for," he said. …

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