Martin Ruby

Last updated
Martin Ruby
No. 47
Born:June 9, 1922
Lubbock, Texas
Died:January 3, 2002(2002-01-03) (aged 79)
Salmon Arm, British Columbia
Career information
Position(s) Offensive tackle, Defensive tackle
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight249 lb (113 kg)
College Texas A&M
NFL draft 1942 / Round: 5 / Pick: 40
(By the Chicago Bears)
Career history
As player
1946–1948 Brooklyn Dodgers (AAFC)
1949 New York Yankees (AAFC)
1950 New York Yanks (NFL)
1951–1957 Saskatchewan Roughriders (WIFU)
Career highlights and awards
CFL West All-Star1951, 1953, 1954, 1956
Career stats

Martin Owen Ruby (June 9, 1922 – January 3, 2002) was an offensive tackle and defensive tackle for the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers in the All-America Football Conference, New York Yanks of the National Football League, [1] and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Western Interprovincial Football Union. He lived in Waco, Texas, while he was a professional player. [2]


Texas A&M defensive tackle

He attended Texas A&M University, where he was a left tackle who wore #74. [3] His first year as a varsity player was 1940. [4] He weighed 255 pounds. [1] and 6'4". [2] Ruby was named the outstanding lineman in the Southwest Conference in 1941. That year, he led the Aggies to their second straight Cotton Bowl Classic appearance [5] against Fordham University. In 1942 Texas A&M played the University of Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Classic. [4]

Ruby played left tackle for the South All-Stars who defeated the North, 24–7, in the North–South football game, on December 30, 1944. [6] He was named captain of the Gray squad for the Blue–Gray Football Classic in December 1945. [7] Ruby was selected as the captain of the College All-Stars for the 1946 College All-Star Game. The All-Stars played the Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field, in August. [8] Ruby placed second to Elroy Hirsch of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in voting for the most valuable player in the game. The All-Stars defeated the Rams 16–0. [9]

Military service

He was sworn into the service at halftime of the 1942 Cotton Bowl Classic. [4] Ruby spent four and a half years in the Army Air Force. He attained the rank of captain, was awarded a Presidential Citation, and two battle stars. [5]

In December 1944 Ruby was a tackle for the Randolph Field Ramblers, the best service team in Texas during World War II. They played the Second Air Force Superbombers of Colorado Springs in the Treasury Bond Bowl, at the Polo Grounds. [10] He also played for the Hawaiian Flyers in 1945. [5] World War II gave Ruby a third chance to play in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and an opportunity to defeat the University of Texas, which Texas A&M had not beaten since 1939. The Randolph Field Ramblers played the Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl Classic. [4]

All-America Football Conference career

Ruby was selected by the Chicago Bears in the annual draft of college football players, in Chicago, on December 22, 1941. [11] He played his first professional game for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns won 26–7 at Cleveland Stadium on October 6, 1946. Ruby helped account for the Dodgers' only score by recovering a Cliff Lewis fumble on the Browns' 6-yard-line, in the 3rd Quarter. [12] Ruby recovered an Andy Dudish fumble early in the 1st Quarter during a November loss to the Buffalo Bisons. [13] Ruby was named to the 1946 All-Pro second team picked by the Associated Press, on December 12. [14] He was chosen, along with Bruiser Kinard, as one of two outstanding tackles named to the 1946 United Press All-America Conference All-Star Team. [15]

Ruby signed a three-year contract with Dodgers' general manager, Freddie Fitzsimmons, in March 1947. [2] He had surgery for floating cartilage in his right knee at St. Vincent's Hospital, in December 1948. [16] The Dodgers and New York Yankees merged in January 1949, reducing the AAFC to seven teams. The Yankee-Dodger aggregation played its home games in Yankee Stadium. [17] Ruby scored a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills (AAFC) in September 1949. In a Brooklyn-New York 17–14 win, Frank Perantoni batted down a pass thrown by George Ratterman, at Civic Stadium. Ruby caught the ball and ran four yards into the end zone. [18]

NFL tackle

The AAFC folded following the 1949 season. The Browns, 49ers, and Colts moved into the NFL for the 1950 season. The remainder of the AAFC players were taken by the NFL via draft. The New York Bulldogs changed their name to the New York Yanks. [19] Ruby signed with the Yanks in 1950 as one of the players the team received from the AAFC Yankees. [5]

In October 1950 Ruby sacked Quarterback Frankie Albert of the San Francisco 49ers for a safety near halftime of a game at Yankee Stadium. New York won the game, 29–24, in a come from behind victory. [20] Ruby jarred the ball from Tobin Rote of the Green Bay Packers during an October 20 contest in New York. The ball was recovered for a 1st Quarter touchdown by Jack Russell of the Yanks. [21]

Saskatchewan Roughriders

In July 1951 Yanks' owner, Ted Collins, initiated legal action against Ruby and guard George Brown. Both had signed contracts to play in Canada. [22]

One of Ruby's opponents, Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Jackie Parker, was a rookie out of the University of Tennessee. He reflected about his fear of Ruby in a 1972 Winnipeg Free Press article. Parker's coach, Pop Ivy, instructed his staff to study film in hopes of finding a weakness in Ruby's game. The coaches found a tendency in the way Ruby positioned his left foot when he lined up in a three point stance. When he intended to come straight ahead the tackle placed his left foot forward. When he wanted to cut left he positioned his left foot back. One of Parker's teammates, Johnny Bright, did not think the advance scouting of Ruby helped the Eskimos very much. After getting smashed for a loss by Ruby, Bright grumbled in the huddle, I guess we gotta learn to live with him. [23]

Ruby was ejected from a September 1951 game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for slugging Dick Pinkston near the end of the first half. [24]

Ruby was selected as one of six Roughriders named to the 1956 Canadian Press Western Interprovincial Football Union All-StarTeam. Players were chosen by football writers and coaches in the league cities. [25] Ruby and a teammate, defensive back Larry Isbell, barely missed taking an ill-fated Vancouver to Montreal Trans-Canada Airlines plane which experienced engine failure above Hope, British Columbia, on December 10, 1956. They had tickets on the following flight to Montreal after passing on the earlier flight.

The missing plane's pilot turned back at Princeton, British Columbia, while facing snow and ice. The Trans Canada airliner, carrying 62 people, went down in the Chilliwack Mountain region of British Columbia. Ruby had just finished playing in the East–West All-Star Game. [26]

He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1974.


In January 1965 Ruby was named head line coach by the University of Tulsa. He had coached earlier at Baylor University and Texas A&M University. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 Will Coach At Tulsa, Winnipeg Free Press , January 21, 1955, Page 23.
  2. 1 2 3 Football Dodgers Sign Ruby, New York Times , March 23, 1947, Page S9.
  3. N.Y.I. Banks on Deceptive Attack To Offset Aggies' Power, New York Times, October 11, 1941, Page 13.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Cotton Bowl Like Home To Martin Ruby, Washington Post , December 27, 1943, Page 8.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Yank Eleven Signs Ruby, New York Times, June 25, 1950, Page 136.
  6. South's All-Stars Top North By 24-7, New York Times, December 31, 1944, Page S1.
  7. Gray Eleven Names Ruby, New York Times, December 28, 1945, Page 22.
  8. Ruby Heads College Stars, New York Times, August 19, 1946, Page 31.
  9. Hirsch Is Honored For All-Star Play, New York Times, August 25, 1946, Page 88.
  10. Randolph Field Eleven Arrives For Bond Bowl Game Saturday, New York Times, December 14, 1944, Page 27.
  11. Players Drafted By Pro Elevens, New York Times, December 23, 1941, Page 29.
  12. Cleveland Downs Dodgers, 26–7, For Fifth All-America Triumph, New York Times, October 7, 1946, Page 26.
  13. Dobbs' Touchdown Passes Offset By Bisons' Attack In 17-14 Game, New York Times, November 11, 1946, Page 46.
  14. Seven NFL Players On All-Pro Eleven, December 13, 1946, Page 32.
  15. Rookies Dominate All-Star Eleven, New York Times, December 16, 1946, Page 32.
  16. Ruby in Hospital, New York Times, December 8, 1948, Page 46.
  17. Football Yankees and Dodgers Merge and Will Play Home Games at Stadium, New York Times, January 22, 1949, Page 17.
  18. Football Yankees Topple Buffalo On H. Johnson's Field Goal, 17-14, New York Times, September 12, 1949, Page 28.
  19. NFL Franchise History,, Page 2.
  20. Yanks' Last-Quarter Rally Overcomes Forty-Niners, New York Times, October 13, 1950, Page 42.
  21. Football Yanks Beat Packers At Stadium for Fourth League Victory in Row, New York Times, October 20, 1950, Page 36.
  22. Sports Briefs, Los Angeles Times , July 20, 1951, Page C4.
  23. Untitled, Winnipeg Free Press , November 25, 1972, Page 133.
  24. Jack Jacobs Led Bombers Blast Riders, Winnipeg Free Press, September 4, 1951, Page 16.
  25. Bombers Dominate Offensive Team, Winnipeg Free Press, November 9, 1956, Page 35.
  26. Isbell, Ruby Missed Plane, Waco News-Tribune , December 11, 1956, Page 1.