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History: African-Americans in Pro-Football (1920-1946)


There have been many articles written about the first (13) African-American pro-football players that were in the league between 1920 - 1946.  We have the list below with two major differences from the other sources, an addition and a subtraction.

 

* We believe James Alfonso 'Buddy' Turner, who was an African American halfback at

Northwestern University in 1922 and that most sources list as one of the "13" black players

in the APFA/NFL from 1920 - 1946 and who is listed as playing for the 1923 Milwaukee

Badgers was actually Howard Turner from Lombard College, who was white. 

To read more, click on his name above.

Also,  Walt Jean. a player on various teams from 1922 - 1927, should be added to this

list of early African-American professional football players.  To understand why we

have added him, click on his name above.

 

1. Fritz Pollard: Born 01/27/1894 - Died 05/11/1986 (92 years old) NFL HOF

2. Bobby 'Rube' Marshall: Born 03/12/1880 - Died 08/27/1958 (78 years old)

3. Joe Lillard: Born 06/15/1905 - Died 09/18/1978 (73 years old)

4. Ray Kemp: Born 04/07/1907 - Died 03/26/2002 (94 years old)

5. Paul Robeson: Born 04/09/1898 - Died 01/23/1976 (77 years old)

6. Jay 'Inky' Williams: Born 07/25/1894 - Died 01/02/1980 (85 years old)

7. Duke Slater: Born 12/09/1898 - Died 08/14/1966 (67 years old)

8. John Shelburne: Born 09/26/1894 - Died 01/29/1978 (83 years old)

9. Sol Butler: Born 07/26/1897 - Died 12/01/1954 (57 years old)

10. Harold Bradley Sr.: Born 09/27/1905 - Died 11/30/1973 (68 years old)

11. David Myers: Born 08/06/1906 - Died 03/05/1997 (90 years old)

12. Walter LeArmand LeJean: Born 01/12/1896 - Died 03/28/1961 (65 years old)

13. Dick Hudson: Born unknown - Died unknown

 

 

Oldest Living Pro-Football Players - BY TEAM

Oldest Living Pro-Football Players Over the Years

Here are the players that, at the time of their death, were the Oldest Living Pro-Football Players.

Jack B. Smith - 9/20/2016 to present

Bill Glassford - 11/07/2013 to 9/19/2016

Clarence 'Ace' Parker - 10/07/2010 to 11/06/2013

Ralph Kercheval - 07/28/2009 to 10/06/2010

Larry Siemering - 05/19/2008 to 07/27/2009

Jack Norris - 10/30/2007 to 05/18/2008

Sam Salemi (Dana) - 06/31/2003 to 10/29/2007

Joe Marhefka - 03/28/2001 to 06/30/2003

Jim Ailinger - 10/30/1999 to 03/27/2001

Tom Dickinson - 05/27/1997 to 10/29/1999

Ralph Horween - 03/11/1995 to 05/26/1997

Ernest Watson - 02/30/1992 to 03/10/1995

George Roudebush - 03/10/1989 to 02/29/1992

Charles Jonasen - 09/12/1981 to 03/09/1989

Alex Bobidosh - 09/20/1980 to 09/11/1981

Ralph Capron - 08/22/1979 to 09/19/1980

James Cook - 09/09/1975 to 08/21/1979

Horatio Jones - 05/08/1971 to 09/08/1975

John Kellison - 06/16/1965 to 05/07/1971

William 'Birdie' Gardner - 05/10/1959 to 06/15/1965

Phil Nesser - 08/28/1958 to 05/09/1959

Bobby Marshall - 01/20/1958 to 08/27/1958

Louis Fritsch - 07/30/1931 to 01/19/1958

John Nesser - 08/20/1920 to 07/29/1931

 

 

Top 3 Oldest Living Professional Football Players

Name Team Debut Birth Date Age
1 Jack Bullas Smith 1942 Philadelphia Eagles 08/11/17 100
2 Nick Drahos 1941 New York Americans 12/06/18 98
3 Fred Gloden 1941 Philadelphia Eagles 12/21/18 98

click here to see the entire list - 1,000 Oldest Living Pro-Football Players

1. Jack Bullas Smith - 100 years old

 

Jack Smith

1942 Philadelphia Eagles

Oldest Living Philadelphia Eagles Players

Date of Birth: August 11, 1917

 

no photo yet

2. Nick Drahos - 98 years old

 

Nick Drahos

Team Debut: 1941 New York Americans (AFL III)

Date of Birth: December 6, 1918

3. Fred Gloden - 98 years old

 

Fred Gloden

Team Debut: 1941 Philadelphia Eagles

Date of Birth: December 21, 1918

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Top 3 Oldest Living College Football Hall of Fame Members

Name Yr. Inducted Team/s Birth Age
1 Nick Drahos 1981 Cornell 12/06/18 98
2 Charley Trippi 1959 Georgia 12/14/21 95
3 Arnold Tucker 2008 Miami (FL), Army 01/05/24 93

click to see the entire list - College Football Hall of Fame Members

1. Nick Drahos - 98 years old

 

Nick Drahos

College: Cornell University

Induction: 1981

Date of Birth: December 6, 1918

2. Charley Trippi - 95 years old


Charley Trippi

College: University of Georgia

Induction: 1959

Date of Birth: December 14, 1921

 

3. Arnold Tucker - 93 years old


Arnold Tucker

Miami (FL), Army

Induction: 2008

Date of Birth: January 5, 1924

 

 

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This site is dedicated to:

 Michael J. Cleary
April 4, 1981 - December 20, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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