Born: September 18, 1926
Died: May 5, 2005
Anthony Salvatore Minisi was born September 18, 1926 in Newark. Quick and strong with a powerful left arm, “Skip” excelled on the gridiron for Newark Academy as a teenager, earning All-State honors as a senior before enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 17 in 1944. Wartime restrictions keeping freshmen off the field had been lifted, so Skip won the starting halfback job for George Munger’s Quakers and paced them to an upset win in the season opener against Duke.
Skip led the varsity with 551 rushing yards (7.1 per carry) and accounted for a total of 8 touchdowns in 1944. He made scoring runs of 60-plus yards against Michigan and Cornell, and returned an interception 63 yards against Dartmouth for a touchdown.
In 1945, Skip joined the U.S. Naval Academy and continued his football career with the Midshipmen. He led his new team to a win over his former Penn teammates in 1945, catching the game-winning pass in the final minute. He also made a game-saving tackle in a 6–6 tie with Notre Dame. The Middies finished ranked #3 in the nation.
In 1946, with the war over, Skip returned to the Quakers and played two more seasons. One of Penn’s wins came against Navy. The 1947 Quakers went 7–0–1 and finished the year with a Top 10 national ranking. Had they not tied underdog Army, they might have locked up the top position. Penn outscored opponents 219 to 35. Chuck Bednarik, George Savitsky and Jerry McCarthy—who went on to play in the majors with the St. Louis Browns—were the team’s other big-name stars.
Skip ran for 248 yards that season and completed 56% of his passes in 1947—an astounding number for that era. He also led the nation with 28.8 yards per kickoff return. Skip was named a first-team All-American for his efforts.
The New York Giants made Skip their first draft pick in 1948, but pro football held little appeal for him. He played one season as a running back and defensive back before calling it a career and enrolling at Penn Law School. He became one of the top litigators in Philadelphia and a senior partner for the firm of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen. He laso ran the Philadelphia Bar Association and was president of the Lawyers Club of Philadelphia. Skip did not completely leave football, however. He worked Saturdays as a college field official into the 1970s. In 1985, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. He passed away at his home in Paoli, PA at the age of 78.