Leo Nomellini

Last updated

Leo Nomellini
Leo Nomellini.jpg
No. 42, 73
Position: Tackle
Personal information
Born:(1924-06-19)June 19, 1924
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Died:October 17, 2000(2000-10-17) (aged 76)
Stanford, California
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:259 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school: Crane (IL)
College: Minnesota
NFL Draft: 1950  / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
GP / GS:174 / 166
Fumble recoveries:13
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR
Leo Nomellini
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch USMC logo.svg U.S. Marine Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Leo Joseph Nomellini (June 19, 1924 – October 17, 2000) was an Italian-American Hall of Fame American football offensive and defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and professional wrestler. He played college football for Minnesota, and was a three-time tag team champion in wrestling.

Contents

Early life

Nomellini was born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, and immigrated to the United States as an infant to Minnesota, before later moving to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Crane High School. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps. It was there that in 1942, he first started playing football.

After the war, he received a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where he became a two-time All-American and the 49ers' first-ever NFL draft choice in 1950. [1] While at Minnesota, Nomellini was a member of Delta Chi fraternity. [2]

Professional career

Nomellini was selected in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 1950 NFL draft, the first draft pick in the history of the San Francisco 49ers. As a professional, he appeared in 174 regular-season games and started 166 for his 14-year career.

While with the 49ers, he played both offensive and defensive tackle, winning All-Pro honors at both positions. He was selected to the All-NFL team six times: two years on offense and four years on defense. "He was as strong as three bulls," said 49ers teammate Joe Perry. "He'd slap you on the back and knock you twenty feet." [3] Nomellini was named to the NFL's all-time team as a defensive tackle. In 1969, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and in 1977, the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professional wrestling

NWA San Francisco

During the off-season Nomellini often wrestled professionally as Leo "The Lion" Nomellini debuting in Minnesota in 1950. For his career, he was a 10-time tag team champion. He won his first tag team championship in NWA San Francisco on March 14, 1952 when he teamed Hombre Montana. The duo defeated Mike Sharpe and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) . Four months later, Nomellini and Gino Garibaldi won the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship. In April 1953, Nomellini regained the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship while teaming with Enrique Torres when they defeated Fred and Ray Atkins. Nomellini and Torres defeated the Mike and Ben Sharpe on May 6, 1953 for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). On May 11, 1954 Nomellini teamed with Rocky Brown to defeat the Sharpes and win the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). In 1957, Nomellini, again teaming with Torres, defeated Lord James Blears and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version).

While working for the National Wrestling Alliance, Nomellini once defeated Lou Thesz in a two-out-of-three falls match, but was not awarded the NWA World Heavyweight Championship because the first fall was a disqualification.

NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club/American Wrestling Association

Nomellini would leave NWA San Francisco to head to Minnesota to work for Verne Gagne and the NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club.

On May 15, 1958, Nomellini, teaming with Verne Gagne defeated Mike and Doc Gallagher for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Minneapolis version). He would win the title again on July 14, 1959 while teaming with Butch Levy and defeated Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff. He would win it for the last time on July 19, 1960, once again teaming with Gagne and defeating Stan Kowalski and Tiny Mills.

Nomellini won his final professional wrestling championship on May 23, 1961 when he and Wilbur Snyder defeated Gene Kiniski and Hard Boiled Haggerty for the AWA World Tag Team Championship.

Death

Nomellini died on October 17, 2000 after suffering a stroke. [4]

Championships and accomplishments

Notes

  1. "Leo Nomellini". Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  2. 1949 Minnesota Gopher yearbook, p.388, accessed 12 Aug 2020.
  3. Maiocco, Matt; Clark, Dwight (2013). San Francisco 49ers: The Complete Illustrated History (Illustrated ed.). MVP Books. p. 32. ISBN   978-0760344736 . Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  4. Sullivan, Pat (October 18, 2000). "Ex-49er Leo 'Lion' Nomellini Dies at 76 / Hall of Famer suffered stroke 3 weeks ago". SFGate.com. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  5. Klingman, Kyle (June 20, 2008). "Flood won't stop Tragos/Thesz HOF 'Super Weekend'". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer . Retrieved November 6, 2018.

Related Research Articles

Verne Gagne American professional wrestler and football player

Laverne Clarence Gagne was an American amateur and professional wrestler, football player, wrestling trainer, and wrestling promoter. He was the owner and promoter of the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association (AWA), the predominant promotion throughout the Midwest and Manitoba for many years. He remained in this position until 1991, when the company folded.

From January 8, 1957, through August 1960 the NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club promoted the Minneapolis version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship as the main professional wrestling championship for tag teams on their shows held in and around Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) from its formation in 1948, but left the group in 1960 to help form the American Wrestling Association (AWA). The NWA Board of Directors allowed each member, referred to as a NWA territory, to create and control its own individual "NWA World Tag Team Championship" to be defended within its territory. At one point in 1957, no less than 13 different versions of the NWA World Tag Team Championship were recognized across the United States.[Championships] As with all professional wrestling championships, this championship was not contested for in competitive matches, but in matches with predetermined outcomes to maintain the illusion that professional wrestling is a competitive sport.

NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) Professional wrestling tag team championship

The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) member NWA San Francisco promoted a professional wrestling tag team championship under the name NWA World Tag Team Championship from 1950 until 1961 in and around their local territory until it closed. When San Francisco based Big Time Wrestling became a member of the NWA in 1968 they began promoting their version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship as part of their shows until the championship was abandoned in 1979. The NWA rules allowed each individual member to promote a championship under that name, which meant there were several NWA World Tag Team Championships promoted across North America at some point between 1950 and 1982, with two different versions being promoted in San Francisco, although not at the same time. At one point in 1957 no less than 13 different versions of the NWA World Tag Team Championship were recognized across the United States.[Championships] At least 21 different regional branches of the NWA World Tag Team Championship have identified as being active at some point between 1950 and 1991. In 1992 the NWA Board of Directors sanctioned one main NWA World Tag Team Championship under their control. As it is a professional wrestling championship, it is not won via legitimate competition; it is instead won via a scripted ending to a match or on occasion awarded to a wrestler because of a storyline.

Nick Bockwinkel American professional wrestler

Nicholas Warren Francis Bockwinkel was an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the 1970s and 1980s.

Dory Funk American professional wrestler

Dorrance Wilhelm Funk was an American professional wrestler. He is the father of wrestlers Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk, and was a promoter of the Amarillo, Texas-based Western States Sports promotion.

Pat OConnor (wrestler) New Zealand professional and amateur wrestler

Patrick John O'Connor, was a New Zealand amateur and professional wrestler. Regarded as one of the premier workers of his era, O'Connor held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Heavyweight Championship simultaneously, the latter of which he held for approximately two years. He was also the inaugural AWA World Heavyweight Champion. He is an overall two-time world champion.

Gene Kiniski

Eugene Nicholas Kiniski was a Canadian athlete who played football for the Edmonton Eskimos and later was a successful professional wrestler recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion. "Canada's Greatest Athlete", as he billed himself for promotional purposes, was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Like Bronko Nagurski before him, Kiniski was one of the first world champions in professional wrestling to have a previous background in football. He is the father of professional wrestler Kelly Kiniski and international amateur and professional wrestler Nick Kiniski.

Blackjack Lanza American professional wrestler

John Lanza is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Blackjack Lanza. Along with his long-term tag team partner, Blackjack Mulligan, Lanza was one-half of The Blackjacks: "black cowboy hat-wearing, cowboy boot-stomping, rugged hombres who drew money wherever they went". From the 1960s to 1980s, Lanza wrestled for promotions such as the American Wrestling Association, World Wrestling Association, and the World Wide Wrestling Federation, winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship, WWA World Tag Team Championship, and WWWF World Tag Team Championship alongside Mulligan. He is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Édouard Carpentier

Édouard Ignacz Weiczorkiewicz was a French-born Canadian professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Édouard Carpentier. Over the course of his career, Carpentier held multiple world heavyweight championships, including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and the WWA World Heavyweight Championship. Nicknamed "The Flying Frenchman", Carpentier was known for his athletic manoeuvres including "back flips, cartwheels and somersaults".

Dick Hutton American amateur and professional wrestler

Richard Heron Avis Hutton was an American amateur and professional wrestler. He was a three-time NCAA champion and, as a professional, held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, making him a one-time world champion in professional wrestling.

Larry Hennig American professional wrestler

Larry Hennig was an American professional wrestler. He was the father of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, and the grandfather of Joe "Curtis Axel" Hennig and Amy "Ms. Perfect" Hennig. He worked in the American Wrestling Association, National Wrestling Alliance, and the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Hennig was known by the nickname, "The Axe", a nickname he had because of his signature, often finishing move of dropping a full weight elbow onto his prone opponents.

Dr. Bill Miller

William M. Miller was an American professional wrestler. He is a one time American Wrestling Association World champion and also wrestled in the National Wrestling Alliance, the World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis and the World Wide Wrestling Federation. He was a Nine-letterman at Ohio State University, in Football, Wrestling, and Track. He was an All-American Heavyweight wrestler, a two-time Big Ten heavyweight champion, and Conference MVP his Sr. year. He was an All-American shot-put and discus track star, also. He was voted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 for both Wrestling and Track.

Wilbur Snyder American professional wrestler and football player (1929 – 1991)

Wilbur Snyder was an American football player and professional wrestler.

Enrique Torres

Enrique Torres was an American professional wrestler, the oldest three Torres brothers in wrestling, and a major star in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Kinji Shibuya

Robert "Kinji" Shibuya was an American professional wrestler and actor.

Johnny Barend American professional wrestler

John R. Barend, better known as "Handsome" Johnny Barend, was an American professional wrestler.

Lord James Blears British-American professional wrestler

Lord Blears was a British-American professional wrestler, ring announcer, promoter, actor, mariner, and surfing personality.

Mitsu Arakawa American professional wrestler

Mack Mitsukazu Arakawa was an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based NWA Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club/American Wrestling Association.

NWA San Francisco was a professional wrestling promotion headquartered in San Francisco, California in the United States. Founded in 1935 by "The Utica Panther" Joe Malcewicz (1897–1962), the promotion joined the National Wrestling Alliance in 1949. It traded until 1961, when it folded due to competition from the upstart Big Time Wrestling promotion. The promotion's heartland was San Francisco, with the San Francisco Civic Auditorium as its core venue, but it also ran shows in other Northern Californian cities including Fresno, Oakland, Richmond, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton, and Vallejo.

James "Jim" Osborn also known as Red Osborn, Double X and Dr. X is an American retired professional wrestler who was active throughout the United States and Japan in the 1960s and '70s. He wrestled primarily in the National Wrestling Alliance and the American Wrestling Association and is a former NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion.