Cal Hubbard

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Cal Hubbard
Cal Hubbard Football.jpg
No. 27, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 51, 60 [1] [2]
Position: Tackle
Personal information
Born:(1900-10-31)October 31, 1900
Keytesville, Missouri
Died:October 17, 1977(1977-10-17) (aged 76)
St. Petersburg, Florida
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:253 lb (115 kg)
Career information
High school:Glasgow (MO)
College: Centenary
Geneva
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:105
Games started:77
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Robert Calvin Hubbard (October 31, 1900 – October 17, 1977) was a professional American football player and Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire. After playing football at Centenary College and Geneva College, Hubbard played in the National Football League (NFL) between 1927 and 1936 for the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Pirates, playing the bulk of his career with the Packers. [3] Hubbard is credited as being one of the inventors of the football position of linebacker. [4]

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Umpire (baseball) person charged with officiating a baseball game

In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump. They are also sometimes addressed as blue at lower levels due to the common color of the uniform worn by umpires. In professional baseball, the term blue is seldom used by players or managers, who instead call the umpire by name. Although games were often officiated by a sole umpire in the formative years of the sport, since the turn of the 20th century, officiating has been commonly divided among several umpires, who form the umpiring crew.

Contents

He was also an umpire in the American League (AL) from 1936 to 1951, then worked as an umpire supervisor until 1969. George Halas affectionately called Hubbard the "Big Umpire." [5]

American League Baseball league, part of Major League Baseball

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League.

George Halas American football player, coach, executive and owner; baseball player

George Stanley Halas Sr., nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was a player, coach, and owner involved with professional American football. He was the founder, owner, and head coach of the National Football League's Chicago Bears. He was also lesser known as a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees.

To date, Hubbard is the only person to be enshrined in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Professional sports hall of fame in Canton, Ohio

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football, located in Canton, Ohio. Opened in 1963, the Hall of Fame enshrines exceptional figures in the sport of professional football, including players, coaches, franchise owners, and front-office personnel, almost all of whom made their primary contributions to the game in the National Football League (NFL); the Hall inducts between four and eight new enshrinees each year. The Hall of Fame's Mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE."

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Professional sports hall of fame in New York, U.S.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, and operated by private interests. It serves as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, displays baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, and honors those who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. The Hall's motto is "Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations."

College Football Hall of Fame College sports hall of fame in Atlanta, Georgia

The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and interactive attraction devoted to college football. The National Football Foundation (NFF) founded the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football.

Early life

Cal Hubbard was born in Keytesville, Missouri to parents Robert P. and Sarah "Sallie" (Ford) Hubbard. [6] He grew up in modest means as the son of a small family farmer. Cal graduated from Keytesville High School, but because the school had no football team he also attended one year at Glasgow High School in nearby Glasgow, Missouri, which did offer football. [6] Already tall and weighing 200 pounds as a 14-year-old, Hubbard displayed natural athletic gifts. He aspired to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York; however a physical discovered he had flat feet, eliminating him from eligibility. [6]

Keytesville, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Keytesville is a small town in, and county seat of, Chariton County, Missouri, United States. The population was 471 as of the 2010 census. Keytesville is the hometown of two notable American generals, Maxwell D. Taylor and Sterling Price.

Glasgow, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Glasgow is a city in Chariton and Howard counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. The population was 1,103 at the 2010 census.

United States Military Academy U.S. Armys federal service academy in West Point, New York

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the four U.S. military service academies, and one of the five U.S. service academies.

From an early age Hubbard was involved with sports. He umpired pickup baseball games at the age of 18. [7] Hubbard chose to attend a college or university that offered football, selecting Chillicothe Business College in Chillicothe, Missouri [6] while also continuing to work around his family farm. [4] A chance meeting in 1922 with Bo McMillin, the new football coach at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, led Hubbard to enroll and play football there from 1922 to 1924. [6] Hubbard was the school's first All-American. [8] Georgia Tech coach Bill Alexander once watched Centenary when it was in town to play Oglethorpe. "Bo, this Oglethorpe bunch has fast backs, but the line is light and green. If you turn that Hubbard loose, he might kill some of them. Have Cal 'hurt his knee', why don't you, and let him sit on the bench?" [9]

Chillicothe, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Chillicothe is a city in and the county seat of Livingston County, Missouri, United States. The population was 9,515 at the 2010 census. The name "Chillicothe" is Shawnee for "big town", and was named after their Chillicothe, located since 1774 about a mile from the present-day city.

Bo McMillin American football player and coach

Alvin Nugent "Bo" McMillin was an American football player and coach at the collegiate and professional level. He played college football at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he was a three-time All-American at quarterback, and led the Centre Praying Colonels to an upset victory over Harvard in 1921. McMillin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player as part of its inaugural 1951 class.

The Centenary Gentlemen football team represented the Centenary College of Louisiana. The school's teams were known as the Gentlemen or 'Gents'. They have not competed in football since 1941. It last competed as a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

When McMillin moved on to suburban Pittsburgh's Geneva College, Hubbard followed him and played there in 1926 (after a year of ineligibility for switching schools in 1925). Geneva opened the season with an upset of Harvard. [10]

Pittsburgh City in western Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States, and is the county seat of Allegheny County. As of 2017, a population of 305,704 lives within the city limits, making it the 63rd-largest city in the U.S. The metropolitan population of 2,353,045 is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, and the 26th-largest in the U.S.

Geneva Golden Tornadoes football

The Geneva Golden Tornadoes football program represents Geneva College in collegiate level football. The team competes in NCAA Division III and is affiliated with the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC). The team is also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. Since its initial season in 1890, the team has won over 500 games. Home games are currently played at Reeves Field, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Several Geneva College players have received national attention, including Cal Hubbard and Larry Bruno.

The 1926 Harvard Crimson football team represented Harvard University in the 1926 college football season.

In an era when 6-foot players were considered tall, Hubbard was noted for remarkable speed for a player of his size, listed officially at 6-foot-2, 253 pounds but as high as 6-foot-5 in Packers' sources. [3] He starred as a tackle and end, playing off the 7-man line in a style similar to that of a modern linebacker. [11] Hubbard completed his college education in 1927, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Geneva College. [6]

Professional career

Football career

Hubbard moved on to the National Football League in 1927, signing with the New York Giants for a salary of US$150 per game. [3] Playing alongside Steve Owen his rookie year, he helped the Giants defense allow opponents to score just twenty total points all season as they won the league championship. [12] For his efforts Hubbard won all-league honors by the press the following year. But with a lifelong dislike for big cities, he didn't feel comfortable in New York and a 1928 road game in Green Bay led him to request a trade to the Packers, threatening to retire otherwise. [3]

Under Packers coach Curly Lambeau, Hubbard and the team won the NFL title in each of his first three years there (1929–1931). The 1929 team surrendered just 22 points. Lambeau had Hubbard play in the line, ending his "linebacker" days. [2] The NFL named its first official All-League team in 1931 with Cal Hubbard being one of that inaugural list. He was chosen for the honor again in 1932 and 1933. [3] Mel Hein said Hubbard was "probably the greatest tackle I ever played against." [13]

Once while playing the Chicago Bears with Ukrainian fullback Bronko Nagurski, the Bears prepared to punt. Hubbard went to the halfback Red Grange and said: "I promise not to try to block the kick, Red, but get out of the way so I can get a shot at that Polack." Grange, glad not to try to block Hubbard for once, obliged. Cal tore through the line, slammed into Nagurski and bounced off. Rising slowly, he turned to Grange and said: "Hey, Red, don't do me any more favors." [5]

Hubbard stepped away from professional football following the 1933 season, taking a job as the line coach at Texas A&M in 1934. [14] However, he was persuaded to return to play after that one year on the sidelines, returning to Green Bay in 1935. The Giants wooed him back to start 1936 with them, but he played only six games the entire season, five for the Giants and a final game for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the future Steelers. [3] Hubbard returned to football coaching briefly, serving as head coach of his alma mater Geneva College in 1941 and 1942. [6] He was among the initial class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. In a 1969 poll by the Hall of Fame committee, Hubbard was voted the NFL's greatest tackle of all-time. [4]

Baseball career

Hubbard with umpire's equipment. HubbardUmpire.jpg
Hubbard with umpire's equipment.

Even while Hubbard's football career was going full-force, he began to focus on a second career in baseball officiating. From 1928 onward he spent his football off-season umpiring in minor league baseball. [6] By 1936 Hubbard had been called up to the major leagues, umpiring in the American League from 1936 to 1951, a contemporary with the likes of Yogi Berra. [5] Soon recognized as one of the game's best officials, he was selected to work in the 1938 World Series, followed by Series appearances in 1942, 1946 and 1949. [15] In addition, he umpired in the All-Star Game in 1939, 1944 and 1949, behind the plate for half of the 1939 and 1944 midsummer classics. [16]

Hubbard found the then-common practice of officials moving to different positions on the field during a game to be confusing and hampered accuracy when making calls. Applying his football experience to baseball, he devised a system where each official had clearly defined duties and also added an additional official to the crew. [3] This was the foundation on which MLB established new officiating standards in 1952. [16]

While hunting during the 1951 off-season a ricocheting pellet from a friends shotgun blast accidentally struck Hubbard in the right eye. [17] The damage was extensive enough to force his retirement from baseball officiating. However, the American League soon hired him as an assistant supervisor for league officiating crews, and in 1954 he became the top supervisor, a position he would hold until retiring for good in 1969. [6]

Final years

Cal Hubbard
Cal Hubbard plaque.jpg
Umpire
Career highlights and awards
  • American League Umpire (1936–1951)
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 1976
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Never a fan of big cities, Hubbard had moved to Milan, Missouri, in 1944. [18] He left in 1945 but moved back in 1948 for good. [6] Milan was a small town much like his native Keytesville, which is about fifty miles to the south on Missouri Route 5. A lifelong avid fisherman and hunter, the rural areas of Sullivan and neighboring counties offered ample opportunity. Hubbard stayed involved in community affairs, especially children's sports, as much as his schedule would allow. In honor of his efforts the football field at Milan High School is named Cal Hubbard Field. [19]

Hubbard developed emphysema in the last few years of his life, so doctors suggested that he move away from the cold weather in Missouri. He relocated in 1976 to St. Petersburg, Florida. [20] In recognition of his contributions to the game as an umpire and supervisor, Cal Hubbard was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, only the fifth umpire to be so honored up to that time. [6]

Hubbard died due to cancer October 17, 1977, in St. Petersburg. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, Milan, Missouri. He was survived by wife Mildred and two sons, Dr. Robert Hubbard, and William "Bill" Hubbard. [21]

Awards and honors

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References

  1. "Uniform Numbers of the NFL".
  2. 1 2 "Packers by the Numbers".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Biography: Cal Hubbard". Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame website. 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 Reed, William F. (September 5, 1994). "Early Master:Cal Hubbard". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 Bob Broeg (October 23, 1977). "Cal Hubbard: 'Big Umpire' Was A Man For All Sports". p. 16. Retrieved May 21, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Robert Calvin Hubbard bio". The State Historical Society of Missouri via website. 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  7. "Cal Hubbard, 76, Dies". York Daily Record. October 18, 1977. p. 15. Retrieved May 21, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  8. "Robert". Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
  9. Edwin Pope. Football's Greatest Coaches. p. 10.
  10. Henry McLemore (April 26, 1937). "Cal Hubbard Chooses Star Pro Grid Team". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. p. 15. Retrieved May 22, 2016 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  11. Richard Whittingham. What a Game They Played: An Inside Look at the Golden Era of Pro Football. p. 62.
  12. Lew Freedman. "New York Giant: The Complete Illustrated History". p. 19.
  13. Richard Wittingham. We Are the Giants. p. 183.
  14. "Cal Hubbard: First To Enter Two Halls of Fame". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. February 3, 1976.
  15. "A Legend dies". Beaver County Times. October 17, 1977.
  16. 1 2 "Cal Hubbard – Missouri Sports Hall of Fame". Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
  17. "Hubbard, Cal – Baseball Hall of Fame". Baseball Hall of Fame.
  18. Source: Cal Hubbard Memorial Plaque, Sullivan County Courthouse grounds, Milan, Missouri.
  19. Jordan, Ben (April 5, 2013). "Milan to hit gridiron on new field". KTVO TV via website. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  20. Barrickman, Bob (January 16, 2003). "Double play". The Beaver County Times . Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  21. "Cal Hubbard obituary". The New York Times. October 18, 1977. Retrieved April 6, 2013 via Baseball Almanac.