|Dutch Clark, colorization by John Turney|
It reports that Dutch Clark was voted the first annual Gruen Award, which was for the outstanding player who also displayed sportsmanship. So, it seems that it was an award with more than one component. In 1938 Mel Hein won the Gruen award, but no article yet found explains if there was a sportsmanship component to Hein's award as was the case with the prior year's award. What is certain is that it was not yet named the Joe F. Carr Trophy at that time.
According to author and historian and Pro Football Journal contributor/writer and Pro Football Researchers Association Executive Director Chris Willis, Hein's 1938 Award was an official award, appearing in the minutes of the NFL meetings. Clark's 1937 Gruen Award was not.
What appears to have happened is that Hein's Gruen Award was re-designated a Joe F. Carr Trophy but Clark's was not. The Gruen Watch Company was the sponsor of both the 1937 and 1938 Award, but no mention of it appears after Hein's 1938 award.