|Career highlights and awards|
Dan Policowski was an early professional football player for the Massillon Tigers from 1904 to 1906. Originally from Canton, Ohio, which was the home of the Tigers', rival the Canton Bulldogs, Policowski played end under the alias Dan Riley. He was also known as "Bullet Riley".
On October 25, 1906, Policowski made professional football history when he caught a short pass from Massillon quarterback Peggy Parratt. This was the first recorded use of the forward pass in professional football game. However, it is unknown if it was truly the first use of the pass in a professional game, since Parratt may have used it even earlier.
Eddie Wood was erroneously credited for catching the first forward pass in pro football by Harry March in his book Pro Football: Its Ups and Downs . During the second game of the 1906 Ohio League championship, which would later result in a betting scandal on November 24, 1906, Wood reportedly caught a couple of the new forward passes. March somehow stated that those catches in a championship game, at the end of the season, were very first catches in professional football. It was later discovered that Parratt threw an earlier recorded pass to Policowski on October 25, for professional football's first forward pass. A second recorded pass was thrown to Clark Schrontz two days later.
The Tigers and Bulldogs left football in 1906 after the events Canton Bulldogs-Massillon Tigers Betting Scandal. In 1907 he played for the "All-Massillon" team, which featured most of Tigers line-up. In 1910, Policowski played for the Shelby Tigers, while in 1911, he played for the Shelby Blues. A year later Policowski played for the Toledo Overlands. During a game against the Detroit Wolverines, he grabbed a fumble at Detroit's three yard line and ran it in for a touchdown.
The Akron Pros were a professional football team that played in Akron, Ohio, from 1908 to 1926. The team originated in 1908 as a semi-pro team named the Akron Indians, but later became Akron Pros in 1920 as the team set out to become a charter member of the American Professional Football Association. Fritz Pollard, the first black head coach in the NFL, co-coached the Akron Pros in 1921. Paul Robeson played for the team in 1921 as well. He was among the earliest stars of professional football, before football became segregated from 1934 to 1946. In 1926, the name was changed back to the Akron Indians, after the earlier semi-pro team. Due to financial problems, the team suspended operations in 1927 and surrendered its franchise the following year.
Walter Rufus East was a minor league baseball player active between 1903 and 1912. As a second baseman he played for various in the Southern Association, Eastern League, Missouri Valley League, Ohio State League and the Ohio–Pennsylvania League. East however also managed several minor league teams from the Ohio–Pennsylvania League.
Homer Hurd Davidson was a professional Major League Baseball player for the Cleveland Naps. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he played only 6 games for the Naps during the 1908 season. Davidson was better known as a professional football player. He played in the Ohio League, which was the direct predecessor to the modern National Football League. One veteran Ohio sportswriter once rated Davidson to be the equal of Walter Eckersall, an infamous quarterback from the University of Chicago. He attended college at the University of Pennsylvania and played on the Penn Quakers baseball team.
The Canton Bulldogs–Massillon Tigers betting scandal was the first major scandal in professional football in the United States. It refers to a series of allegations made by a Massillon, Ohio newspaper charging the Canton Bulldogs coach, Blondy Wallace, and Massillon Tigers end, Walter East, of conspiring to fix a two-game series between the two clubs. One account of the scandal called for Canton to win the first game and Massillon was to win the second, forcing a third game—with the biggest gate—to be played legitimately, with the 1906 Ohio League championship at stake. Another account accused Wallace and East of bribing Massillon players to throw a game in the series. Canton denied the charges, maintaining that Massillon only wanted to damage the club's reputation. Although Massillon could not prove that Canton had indeed thrown the second game and it remains unknown if there was ever a match-fixing agreement, the scandal tarnished the Bulldogs name and reportedly helped ruin professional football in Ohio until the mid-1910s.
The Massillon Tigers were an early professional football team from Massillon, Ohio. Playing in the "Ohio League", the team was a rival to the pre-National Football League version of the Canton Bulldogs. The Tigers won Ohio League championships in 1903, 1904, 1905, and 1906, then merged to become "All-Massillons" to win another title in 1907. The team returned as the Tigers in 1915 but, with the reemergence of the Bulldogs, only won one more Ohio League title. Pro football was popularized in Ohio when the amateur Massillon Tigers, hired four Pittsburgh pros to play in the season-ending game against Akron. At the same time, pro football declined in the Pittsburgh area, and the emphasis on the pro game moved west from Pennsylvania to Ohio.
Harry Turner was a professional football player. He was one of the most popular players on the Canton Professionals, the pre-National Football League version of the Canton Bulldogs who played in the Ohio League. The team's center, Turner played with the Pros from around 1911 until his death in 1914.
George Watson "Peggy" Parratt was a professional football player who played in the "Ohio League" prior to it becoming a part of the National Football League. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Parratt played quarterback for the Shelby Blues, Lorain Pros, Massillon Tigers, Massillon All-Stars, Franklin Athletic Club of Cleveland, Akron Indians and the Cleveland Tigers between 1905 and 1916. Parratt threw the first legal forward pass in professional football history while playing for the Massillon Tigers on October 25, 1906.
Theodore Nesser Jr. was a professional football player-coach in the "Ohio League" and the early National Football League. During his career he played mainly for the Columbus Panhandles, however he did also play for a little for the Massillon Tigers, Akron Indians, Canton Bulldogs and the Shelby Blues.
Charles Robert "Bob" Shiring was a professional football player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began his playing career with the Pittsburgh Athletic Club during the late 1890s and the Homestead Library & Athletic Club in 1901. In 1902, he played for the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League, who ended up winning the league title. Since the Stars consisted of the best professional players from western Pennsylvania at the time, it can be said that Shiring was considered the best at his position, center, in the region. However Shring is best known for playing for the Massillon Tigers from 1903 until 1907. He finally served from 1907 to 1909 as a player-coach for the Pittsburgh Lyceum, Pittsburgh's last championship professional football team, until the 1970s.
The Pittsburgh Lyceum were a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1906 until 1910. The team played against many of the top "Ohio League", the most notables being the Canton Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers. They were regarded as one of the top professional football teams in Pittsburgh from 1907 until the mid-1920s. The Lyceum was also the last pro football championship team Pittsburgh would produce until the 1970s. Many of their victories came against many of the strongest teams in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Hence, they were given the mythical moniker the "Tri-State Champions" in 1909. The team was finally defeated in 1909, via an upset by the Dayton Oakwoods in their final game of 1909. The Lyceums broke up after a disappointing 1910 season. An unrelated incarnation of the team existed in 1924. Art Rooney, who would go on establish the Pittsburgh Steelers and become enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played for the Lyceum.
The Franklin Athletic Club of Cleveland was a short-lived professional football team based in Cleveland, Ohio from 1903 until around 1909. Franklin played against in "Ohio League" against the early Canton Bulldogs, Shelby Blues and Massillon Tigers. In 1904 the Tigers defeated Franklin 56-6.
The Akron East Ends are a defunct amateur American Football team that played in the Ohio League, a forerunner to the National Football League. They played in Akron, Ohio, from 1894 until at least 1904. Its primary rivals were the amateur Canton Athletic Association, the Shelby Blues, and later the Massillon Tigers. The team became known as the Akron Athletic Club around 1904.
Pro Football: Its Ups and Downs, published in 1934, is a novel by Dr. Harry March that was the first ever attempt to write a history of professional American football. March had served in several executive offices with the New York Giants of the National Football League in the late 1920s and was a founder of the second American Football League. The book, while popular and entertaining with some important information and interesting anecdotes, is often viewed as inaccurate by modern sports historians. Jack Cusack, manager of the Canton Bulldogs from 1912 to 1917, summed up the book's flaws by stating; "In my library is a book... entitled Pro Football: Its "Ups and Downs" and in my opinion it is something of a historical novel."
Edward Wood was an early professional football player for the Latrobe Athletic Association, the Franklin Athletic Club and finally for the Canton Bulldogs of the "Ohio League". He also played on Dave Berry's Western Pennsylvania All-Star team, a collection of early football star players, that was designed to compete with the star-heavy Duquesne Country and Athletic Club on December 3, 1898 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh. In 1902 he played in the first National Football League for the Philadelphia Phillies. He also played for Franklin when it won the 1903 World Series of Football over the Watertown Red & Black at Madison Square Garden. Wood later became one of the first professional players to catch forward passes when they became legal in 1906.
The Shelby Tigers was a professional American football team, based in Shelby, Ohio, from 1910 until 1911. The team played in the Ohio League, which was the direct predecessor to the modern National Football League.
Sherburne Henry Wightman was a professional American football player-coach in the "Ohio League", which was the direct predecessor to the modern National Football League. He is best remembered for coaching the Massillon Tigers to an Ohio League title in 1906, over the Canton Bulldogs, which led to accusations of a betting scandal. In 1907, he coached a version of the Massillon Tigers called the "All-Massillons" to another Ohio League title. Prior to his professional career, Wightman played at the college level for the Chicago Maroons, under Amos Alonzo Stagg, and Swarthmore College.
Clark A. Schrontz was a professional American football player. In 1902 he won a championship in the first National Football League with the Pittsburgh Stars. A year later he was a member of the Franklin Athletic Club football team that was considered the "best in the world". He also won the 1903 World Series of Football, held at Madison Square Garden, with the Franklin Athletic Club.
John Lang was a professional American football player. In 1902 he won a championship in the first National Football League with the Pittsburgh Stars. A year later he was a member of the Franklin Athletic Club football team that was considered the "best in the world". He also won the 1903 World Series of Football, held at Madison Square Garden, with the Franklin Athletic Club.
The 1906 Massillon Tigers football season was their fourth season in existence. The team finished with a record of 9–1 and won their fourth Ohio League championship in as many years. However a scandal, revolving around the Tigers championship game against the Canton Bulldogs, tainted the 1906 title and, along with escalating player salaries, reportedly helped ruin professional football in Ohio until the mid-1910s.
The Canton Bulldogs were a professional American football team, based in Canton, Ohio. They played in the Ohio League from 1903 to 1906 and 1911 to 1919, and the American Professional Football Association, from 1920 to 1923, and again from 1925 to 1926. The Bulldogs won the 1916, 1917 and 1919 Ohio League championships. They were the NFL champions in 1922 and 1923. In 1921–1923, the Bulldogs played 25 straight games without a defeat. As of 2019, this remains an NFL record.