Welcome to the Irish Legends web site.

My hope is that this site will be a gathering place for people who have a passion for Notre Dame football, its history, and its heroes. I have also been a collector of Notre Dame memorabilia for many years. Two prized possessions from my youth are a gold pocket knife with the interlocking ND on the handle, and an old Catholic school comic book which told the story of Knute Rockne. I still remember reading the story of Johnny "One Play" O'Brien and his winning touchdown reception in the "Win One for the Gipper" game.
Growing up the third son in an Irish-Italian family in upstate New York and attending Catholic schools for 16 years reaffirmed my faithfulness to the Fighting Irish. The late fifties were hard times for the Irish football teams and especially for one who was so conscious of their glorious history. I remember reading the accounts of the Notre Dame games in the Sunday paper and just being happy when we won a game. I'll never forget the 1960 season when we lost eight games in a row and then beat Southern Cal in the last game of the season. I cut out the newspaper account and scotch-taped it to my wall.
One day, in the fall of 1964, I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom and the cover of a kids magazine caught my eye. The headline said, "Here Come The Irish," and had a picture of their new coach, an intense, darkly handsome young man with the rather unusual name of Ara Parseghian. In one season, Ara woke up the echoes and shook down the thunder. Finally, here was a team that not only had a great history, but also won football games, and lots of them! Since then I have been a die-hard fan, and I love the Irish, win, lose or draw.
As I mentioned, my hobby is collecting Notre Dame football memorabilia and books. One part of this web site features items that I have offered for sale. The hobby is an interesting one for me and some of my favorite items are a piece of the goal post from the 1935 Ohio State game, a leather autograph book with the entire 1930 team signatures, and George Gipp's school notebook from one of his law classes. But more than these items, I treasure the people I've met and the friendships I have made: students, teachers and archivists at Notre Dame; alumni in their 90's who still love to talk about Notre Dame football -- and the time they saw George Gipp play his last game; football players past, present and future; other collectors and plain old subway alumni, just like me. We come from all walks of life, and all ages, and from every part of the country.
But on certain Saturdays in the fall, we gather at Notre Dame Stadium, or in hostile territory, or in front of our television sets and share our common bond: a love for Notre Dame. It is this sense of community, of the shared emotions of victory and defeat, that are most treasured.

Vince Gratzer
Vgratzer@irishlegends.com

Irish Legends

Vince Gratzer is a Los Angeles based historical researcher for films and television. He has worked with director John Sayles on Matewan and Eight Men Out. Other credits include TheGrifters and Field of Dreams. He is currently producing a documentary called The Game of the Century, the story of the 1935 Notre Dame - Ohio State game.