Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The All Time New York Yankees

For those of you looking for Ruth, Mantle, Jeter, ect....you have found the wrong story.

The article is a tribute to the FOOTBALL Yankees.

This franchise, like many in its time, had a journey that is fascinating and historical.

The first incarnation of the Yankees was founded in 1926 in the first incarnation of the American Football League. This AFL was founded by Hall Of Famer Red Grange's agent C.C. Pyle.

Pyle and Grange started the AFL for a few reasons.

The main reason is because the NFL refused Pyle's request to join the seven year old NFL, a move vehemently opposed by New York Giants owner Tim Mara.

Another big reason was due to a salary dispute between the Chicago Bears and Grange.

Grange had signed a contract with the Bears in 1925 for $100,000, a huge contract for that era. He took the Bears on a barnstorming tour, playing 19 games in 67 days. This moment is often credited for getting the NFL off of the ground and legitimized.

The other reason was how the 1925 NFL season ended, which left a bitter aftertaste for many of their fans.

The Pottsville Maroons were initially named champions after defeating the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals then scheduled some faux games, trouncing opponents that were mostly disbanded franchises.

After the Maroons played an exhibition game on the home field of the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Yellow Jackets protested to NFL commissioner Joe Carr. Carr suspended the Maroons and fined them, then awarded the championship to the Cardinals. The Cardinals refused the award.

The AFL lasted one year, but has some noteworthy moments. One of the charter members of the NFL, the Rock Island Indepenents, joined their league for that season. Another team was called the Los Angeles Wildcats, a traveling team based out of Chicago and owned by Pyle and Grange.

The team, also called the Pacific Wildcats, was named after its star George "Wildcat" Wilson, and had Hall Of Famer Ray Flaherty. Wilson would later go on to lead the Providence Steam Roller to their lone NFL championship in the 1928 season.

Flaherty would join the Yankees in 1927, and stayed until they folded the next year. He then joined the Giants in 1928 and played for them for eight seasons, helping them win a championship in 1934.

Most of the AFL teams folded before Thanksgiving, leaving just four actually still playing football. One team, the Brooklyn Horseman, merged with the Brooklyn Lions of the NFL after playing just four games.

The Lions folded after their lone season in 1926 themselves, but the team was never officially withdrawn from the league. Mara bought the rights, then leased the franchise to Pyle so the Yankees could join the NFL.

The Yankees and Giants would share Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees were essentially a road team. They were only able to play four actual home games before they were forced to fold after the 1928 season, after the agreement between the two teams ended.

The AFL tried to come back in 1936, and another version of the Yankees was born. Both the team and league were not successful, and both folded after the 1937 season.

In 1940, the AFL tried again. The Yankees also tried again. They named themselves the Americans in the beginning of 1941 after a switch in ownership, but the league folded because of World War II.

The 1940 Yankees owner tried to bring back the franchise as a traveling team in 1941, with just four members of the original team. They folded after losing all six of their games.

Another new incarnation of the Yankees came back in 1946, and also played in Yankee Stadium. This Yankees team was part of the All American Football Conference. The Yankees were very popular at that time, and featured running back Spec Sanders.

The Yankees would go to the AAFC Championship Game in each of their first two seasons, but would lose both times to the Cleveland Browns.

The 1947 team also saw Buddy Young join the team. Known as "The Bronze Bullet", Young was considered one of the greatest football players of that era.

Standing just 5'4", Young was an All American in his freshman year at the University of Illinois. He, like many players, then joined the military to serve because of World War 2.

Young also was a trailblazer, being one of a few African American players to play professional football then. After leaving the franchise in 1952, he joined the Baltimore Colts and became the first Colt to ever have his jersey number retired.

Flaherty left the Yankees mid-way in the 1948 season, and would coach the AAFC Chicago Hornets the next season. After that season, the Brooklyn Dodgers of the AAFC folded and merged with the Yankees.

The Yankees would make the playoffs in 1949, but would lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the Division championship game. The AAFC then folded and was absorbed by the NFL.

The Boston Yanks were founded in the NFL in 1944, and stayed there until 1948. The team then moved to New York, renaming themselves the Bulldogs. Many of the AAFC Yankee players would join this team, and the team switched back to their Yanks name in the 1950 season. The team would last in New York until 1951, then announced they were moving to Dallas and be called the Texans.

Due to the prevalent bigotry that was throughout the South at that time, as well as the civil rights movement at that time, the team only lasted seven games in Dallas. They featured two African American stars in Young and George Taliaferro, as well as two future Hall Of Famers in Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti.

Another player on that team was Fritz Von Erich. Von Erich later became a very successful professional wrestler and promoter. His family is also known because five of his sons died young, four of which were professional wrestlers.

The Texans folded after that one season, and was bought by Carroll Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom then started the Baltimore Colts with this franchise, though the NFL does not officially recognize this lineage.

Without further delay, here is your All Time Yankees :
(Unfortunately, Not All Players Pictures Were Found)



QUARTERBACK : Clarence "Ace" Parker

Clarence was an All American at Duke University, and also was an excellent baseball player. He is a member of the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina and Virginia Sports Halls of Fame, Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Parker initially tried baseball, and joined the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936. He left the team after the 1938 season due to a lack of success.

Parker was drafted by the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937, the second quarterback taken in the draft behind Sammy Baugh. Though he only played four games that year, he led the team on passing.

Ace made his first All Pro team the next year, leading the league in passing attempts and yardage. After having a good 1939 season, leading the league in yards gained per pass completion, Ace had his best season as a player in 1940.

He led the NFL with 6 interceptions for 146 yards, and scored a touchdown. They were the first interceptions of his career. Parker also led the NFL in extra points attempted and made, and ran for a career best 306 yards on 86 attempts.

He was named to his last All Pro team, and was named the MVP of the NFL.

Ace had the last interception of his career in 1941, and left the NFL to join the Army because of the war.

He returned to the NFL in 1945, and joined the Boston Yanks. He served mainly as a reserve, then left the team at seasons end.

Parker joined the Yankees for one year in 1946. He helped lead the team to the AAFC Championship game, which they lost. He then retired for good, and became a baseball and football coach at Duke and a player-manager of the Durham Bulls of the Piedmont League in minor league baseball. Twice he was named manager of the year.

Clarence "Ace" Parker is the oldest living member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

George Pease, of the first Yankees team, deserves mention. He led the AFL in touchdown passes, getting seven. He later played in the NFL with the Orange Tornadoes in 1929. He led the team in receiving, touchdowns, punt returns, and punt return yardage. He retired after that season.








RUNNING BACK : Orban "Spec" Sanders

Sanders was the Redskins first round draft pick in the 1942 draft, but went off to serve in the military because of WWII.

Spec came to the Yankees in 1946, and instantly became the face of the franchise, and was a major star of the league. He was named to the All AAFC First Team in his first two years, which is akin to being an All Pro.

He led the AAFC in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing yards per game, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, touches, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns in his first two seasons.

He led the AAFC with a 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the longest in franchise history, in his rookie year. It is still the 22nd longest return in professional football history.

Spec intercepted two passes that year, and took one for a 50 yard touchdown. It is the only defensive touchdown of his career. He also threw four touchdowns, punted 22 times that year, and caught a career best 17 balls for 259 yards and three TD's.

Spec really exploded in 1947. He had 1,432 yards rushing on 231 attempts, a 6.1 yards per carry average, and ran in a whopping 18 touchdowns. His yards rushed that year would stand as a record for over a decade. He also tossed a career best 14 scores, punted 46 times, and intercepted three balls that year.

Spec also led the AAFC with 22 kickoff returns, and scored on a 92 yard return.

The 1948 season was his last with the Yankees. He led the AAFC in rushing attempts again, and scored nine times via the ground. He also threw five more scores, punted 42 times, and picked off a pass.

Sanders was named the the All AAFC Second Team after that year, but did not play in 1949 because of a knee injury he suffered late in the previous season. He did join the Yanks for the 1950 season.

He led the NFL with 13 interceptions, which is the second most ever, and gained 199 yards. He also punted the ball a career high 71 times, and returned 6 punts for 93 yards. Though he rarely played offense that year, he did complete two of the three passes he attempted for 58 yards.

Spec was named to the NFL All Pro Team that year, then he retired from the game.

Spec Sanders is the Yankees all time leader in rushing attempts and yards, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, and yards, total yards, total touchdowns, and scoring.








RUNNING BACK : Red Grange

Red is considered, by many, the greatest college football player ever. He is one of only two men to have their jersey retired by Illinois University.

He set several records in college, and was a three time All American. After leading his school to an undefeated season and the 1923 Helms Athletic Foundation national championship, he was dubbed "The Galloping Ghost" by Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown.

After college, Red signed a huge contract to play with the Chicago Bears, and helped make the NFL legitimate. This arrangement lasted one year.

Red, along with his agent C.C. Pyle, decided to start the Yankees and AFL the next year. After the league folded, the Yankees joined the NFL.

Red hurt his knee badly against the Bears that year, and had to miss the rest of the season and the entire 1928 season.

Red returned to Chicago in 1929, and the Bears had two Grange's on their roster from 1929 to 1931. Gardie was Red's older brother and had played with him in college.

Gardie caught three touchdown passes, and kicked two extra points in his career. Though both men were the same height, and Red outweighed Gardie by only seven pounds, most people forget that one of the things that brought Red back to the Bears was the signing of Gardie.

Though the NFL officially credits Red with 569 yards rushing, 16 pass receptions, 31 touchdowns, and ten more passing, it must be noted the stats from that era were poorly compiled.

In fact, the NFL says Red played only five games for the Bears in 1925, but it is known he played at least 19 that year. Then there is the fact Red has no defensive stats, but he was a fine defender. His true statistics may never be known.

What is known is that he was a key member of two Bears teams that won championships.

He is a member of the NFL's 1920's All Decade Team, the College Football Hall Of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

His impact on the game is immeasurable, and hard to truly summarize.

The best quote, that I saw, was by Halas in an interview with Chris Berman in the late 1970's.

Halas was asked who was the greatest running back he ever saw. Halas said it was Grange. Halas was then asked how many yards would Grange get today. Halas said it would be close to 800 yards.

Berman responded, "Well, 800 yards is just okay."

Halas sat up in his chair and said, "Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old."








WIDE RECEIVER : Morris Badgro

Badgro was inducted into Canton in 1981, and is the oldest player ever to be inducted. He joined the Yankees in 1927, and stayed with them until the end of that season. Though he was a good defensive player and blocker, he is noted for being a fine receiver.

After he left the Yankees, he went on to play baseball with the Saint Louis Browns for two years. He then decided to play football again, this time joining the Giants. He scored the first touchdown in a NFL Championship game in 1933, and helped the Giants win the 1934 championship. Morris then joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1936, and retired after that season.







WIDE RECEIVER : Bruce Alford

Bruce was an eighth round draft choice of the Philadelphia/ Pittsburgh Steagles in the 1943 NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers had combined rosters because of the war.

Alford served in the Army, then joined the Yankees in 1946. He caught 13 balls, and returned one kickoff for 62 yards.

He made his only All Pro Team in 1947. Bruce caught 20 passes, and scored 5 times. Alford also took the only punt return of his career 34 yards for a score. Also, he returned two kickoffs for 90 yards. One of his returns was a 79 yard touchdown. Alford also intercepted the only pass of his career.

Bruce had a career high 32 receptions the next year, gaining 578 yards, and scored three times. Alford followed that up by getting 11 receptions in the 1949 season.

Alford was with the Yanks for the next two years, and grabbed five receptions. He scored the last touchdown of his career in 1950, off of a blocked kick. He retired after the 1951 season as the Yankees all time leader in receptions and reception yardage.








TIGHT END : Jack Russell

Jack was drafted by the Steagles in the third round of the 1943 NFL Draft. Instead of playing, he joined the Army with Alford.

Jack joined the Yankees in 1946, and caught 23 receptions with four touchdowns. He followed that up 20 catches and two TD's the next season, to go with an interception Russell returned 33 yards.

Russell then had a career high six touchdown receptions in 1948. He also had a career best 433 yards on 23 receptions, and intercepted a pass. The 1949 season saw Jack grab seven passes for a score, and intercept the last pass of his career.

Jack joined the Yanks in 1950, and caught ten passes, scoring twice. He also recovered three fumbles, and took one in for a touchdown. He retired after that year.

Jack is the Yankees franchise leader in touchdown receptions, and caught the longest past in franchise history. He is also second in receptions and reception yardage.

Al Rose also deserves mention. He was a member of the 1937 Yankees in the second AFL. He had spent most of his career in the NFL, playing with the Providence Steam Roller and the Packers for for seven seasons.









CENTER : Lou Sossamon

Lou was drafted by the Steagles in the sixth round in 1943, but had to serve in the military. He joined the Yankees in 1946, and soon was an important member of the team.

In 1947, Lou scored a touchdown on a blocked kick, and helped anchor the Yankees line on both sides of the ball. He was named to the All AAFC Second Team after that year.

Sossamon played the 1948 season with the Yankees, then retired.



Lou making a tackle!





GUARD : Mike Michalske

The first offensive guard inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and is a member of the NFL 1920's All Decade Team. Michalske joined the AFL Yankees in 1926, and stayed with them until 1928. He then joined the Green Bay Packers the following year, helping them win three straight championships between 1929 to 1931. He retired in 1935, but came back to play one season for the Packers in 1937.

He was called "Iron Mike", because he was noted for his toughness. He was a 60 minute man, and only missed nine games in his career despite playing with an inoperable abdominal hernia. He also wore nine different jersey numbers in his eight years with the Packers, the most ever in franchise history.







GUARD : Alex Drobnitch

Alex was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1937, but opted to join the Yankees in the second AFL instead. He is the only member of that team to be named an All Star. He went on to play with the Americans and Buffalo Indians of the third AFL, then retired to join the armed forces in the war.

He was an All American at the University of Denver, and was inducted in the inaugural class of the schools athletic Hall Of Fame in 1996.

Les Richter deserves mention, as he was a first round draft pick of the 1952 Yanks. He was in the Army at the time, and never played. The Yanks traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 players, which is a record deal for a single player.




OFFENSIVE TACKLE : Mike McCormack

McCormack played one season for the Yanks in 1951, then joined the Cleveland Browns the next year. He became an important member of a Browns team that won back to back championships between 1954 to 1955. He stayed with the Browns until 1962, then retired.

He later came a successful coach several teams and a GM for the Carolina Panthers. Mike McCormack is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.








OFFENSIVE TACKLE : Frank "Bruiser" Kinard

Frank was drafted in the third round of the 1936 NFL Draft by the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was already a star player in college, having attended Mississippi University.

There, he was a two time All American player, the first in school history. He is a member of the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Ole Miss Team of the Century, Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame, College Football Hall Of Fame, and Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Bruiser immediately had an impact on the NFL in his rookie year. He was named All Pro in all seven years with the Dodgers. He then joined the Yankees in 1946, and was named All Pro again. After playing the next year, he retired.

Kinard was a complete player. He kicked extra points, and made 27 out of 30 attempts. He also made the only field goal attempt of his career. Frank also got his hands on the ball in 1943. He caught five balls and scored a touchdown.

He was also excellent as a defensive tackle. In 1941, he returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also intercepted a pass in 1944, and returned it 26 yards.

After he retired, Bruiser returned to Ole Miss to coach football and serve as the Athletic Director until he retired in 1973.









DEFENSIVE TACKLE : Art Donovan

Art was drafted by the Giants in the 22nd round of the 1947 NFL Draft, but opted to stay in college after serving four years with the Marines.

He joined the AAFC Baltimore Colts in 1950, but the team and league folded at the end of the season. He then joined the Yanks for the 1951 season, and stayed with the franchise through several moves.

Now the team was known as the Baltimore Colts, and this is where Art became well known throughout the country. He was named an All Pro five times, and recorded a safety in the 1953 season.

The Colts soon became one of the most popular teams in all of sports, as they would win consecutive champions in the 1958 and 1959 seasons.

Art retired in 1961, and was inducted into Canton just seven years later.







DEFENSIVE TACKLE : Arnie Weinmeister

Arnie joined the Yankees when he was 25 years old, due to military obligations while in college. His impact was immediate, as he was named to the All-AAFC second team. The next year, he was named to the first team, which is akin to being an All Pro.

Arnie then joined the Giants in 1950, and was named to the All Pro team in all four years he played there.

He retired after the 1953 season, and is one of only three men to have been born in Saskatchewan, Canada and play in the NFL. In 1984, he was inducted into Canton.








DEFENSIVE END : Gerald "Red" Maloney

Red started his career with the Providence Steam Roller in the 1925 NFL season. He scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery, and kicked three field goals and four extra points.

He was named Second Team All NFL by the Green Bay Post-Gazette.

He joined the Yankees for their inaugural season in 1926, and scored two touchdowns off of receptions. He stayed with the Yankees the next year in the NFL and caught the last touchdown pass of his career.

Maloney did not play in 1928, but he joined the Boston Bulldogs for the 1929 NFL season. He started in seven of the eight games he played, then retired.








DEFENSIVE END : Nate Johnson

Nate joined the Yankees in 1946, and started right away. He stayed with the team the following season as well. The 1947 season saw him named to the All-AAFC First Team, and the Daily News First Team All-AAFC.

Nate then joined the Chicago Rockets in 1948, then the Chicago Hornets the following year. In 1950, Nate joined the New York Yanks, then retired at the end of the season.

He played both ways as an offensive tackle and defensive tackle, and was excellent. I had to find a spot for him on the team.





LINEBACKER : Irv "King Kong" Klein

Besides being an All American football player in college, Irv was also a basketball star. He helped New York University win the Helms National Championship in 1935, as well as have a perfect season in 1934. He is a member of the NYU Hall Of Fame.

He played on the Yankees in the second AFL, so his records are irretrievable on the internet. I am putting him at LB because of his nickname.







LINEBACKER : Bob Sweiger

Bob joined the Yankees in 1946, and stayed with them until 1948. He was initially drafted by the Giants in the 3rd round of the 1942 NFL Draft, but had to serve in the Armed Services because of the war.

Bob ran and caught the ball as a rookie, scoring once off a reception. He also had a career best four interceptions for 82 yards, helping the Yankees reach the AAFC Championship game.

Sweiger scored the last receiving touchdown of his career the following season, and also scored another touchdown off of two interceptions.

His last year with the Yankees saw him have a career high 12 receptions, then he joined Flaherty on the Chicago Hornets for the 1949 season. He intercepted one pass and had 11 receptions, then retired.








LINEBACKER : Bob Kennedy

Bob was drafted in the third round by the Steagles in 1943, but had to serve in the military. He joined the Yankees in 1946, and picked off three passes. He also scored twice on 58 rushing attempts, returned a career high four kickoffs for 105 yards, caught a career best 11 passes, and punted seven times.

Bob had eight interceptions over the next three years, as well as running the ball 195 times for 838 yards and seven scores.

Kennedy played five games for the Yanks in 1950, intercepting a pass, then retired.

Bob Kennedy's 53 games played are the most in Yankees history.


photo courtesy of atticajailhouseballcaps.blogspot.com
This hat is for sale, according to the site







SAFETY : Otto Schnellbacher

Otto was a two sports star at Kansas University. He was the schools first All American football player, and one of only three Jayhawks to be named All Conference in four years. He held the school receptions and receiving yardage records for 22 years, and is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Kansas Hall of Fame and the schools football Ring of Honor.

He joined the Yankees in 1948 and had the best season of his career. He led the league with 11 interceptions for 239 yards, and scored a touchdown. He even had five receptions and returned five punts.

After the season was over, Otto joined the Basketball Association of America. He played 43 games with two teams as a forward, and averaged over six points per game.

Otto returned to the Yankees in 1949, and picked off four balls. He also had the last reception of his career, and returned four punts.

He joined the Giants in the 1950 NFL season, and was named an All Pro. He had 8 interceptions for 99 yards, and returned three punts.

Otto played his last year in 1951, and was named All Pro again. He matched his career high of 11 interceptions, which also led the NFL. Schnellbacher also led the NFL with 194 yards and two touchdowns.

Otto Schnellbacher's 15 interceptions are the most in Yankees history.








SAFETY : Eddie Tryon

Eddie is a member of the original Yankees. It was Tryon, not Grange, who lit up the first AFL. He led the league in scoring and rushing touchdowns. He also was second in the league in touchdown receptions, behind Grange, and tied for fifth in field goals made.

He played one more season, when the Yankees joined the NFL. He had two touchdowns rushing and receiving., and made all eight of his extra points attempted. He was named to the Green Bay Press-Gazette Second Team All NFL, then retired.

I put Eddie on the team because of how he excelled on the first Yankees. He certainly was a two-way player, though NFL records list him as a running back in his only season in their league.

He was a star at Colgate University, scoring 111 points in his senior year, and had 360 points in his collegiate career.








CORNERBACK : Tom Landry

Tom started his career with the AAFC Yankees in 1949. He joined the Giants the next season, and made his only All Pro team in 1954. By then, he also was an assistant coach. He retired as a player after the 1955 season.

Tom was named the defensive coordinator in 1956, and stayed there until the end of the 1959 season. In 1960, he became the head coach of the expansion Dallas Cowboys and held that position until 1988.

Tom led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins, and won 270 games in his tenure. He was named NFL Coach of the Year twice, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.








CORNERBACK : Pete Layden

Pete was drafted by the Giants in the tenth round of the 1942 NFL Draft. He had to go serve in the Army.

In 1948, Pete played two sports. He was an outfielder for the Saint Louis Browns in Major League Baseball for 41 games, and also played for the AAFC Yankees.

He threw 105 passes that year, completed 43 of them, and had 816 yards thru the air. Nine went for scores. Layden also ran the ball 95 times for 576 yards and three scores.

Pete returned eight kickoffs for 211 yards, and punted the ball 21 times for an average of 42.1 yards per punt. All are career highs. He also intercepted three passes.

Layen only threw ten passes in 1949, and completed two. He also ran the ball 19 times for 96 yards, and had the only reception of his career.

Though Pete only returned one kickoff, he led the AAFC in punt returns with 29, gaining 287 yards. He also punted the ball the last fifteen times in his career, averaging 41.7 yards per attempt.

Layden also led the Yankees with seven interceptions, and gained 137 yards. He scored the last touchdown of his career off of one of those interceptions.

Layden joined the Yanks in 1950, and intercepted three passes. He also made the only three extra points he attempted in his career. He then retired from the game.







RETURN SPECIALIST : Buddy Young

Young was already a football legend before he went pro. Buddy went to Illinois University, and was often compared to fellow alumni Grange. Young equaled several of Grange's records, including touchdowns scored in a single seaon. He was an All American player his freshman year, but had to leave school to serve in the military because of the war.

When he fulfilled his obligations in 1946, he spurned offers to turn pro and returned to Illinois. Young then helped them win the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl. He was also an All American in track.

Buddy joined the Yankees in 1947, and formed one of the more electrifying tandems in pro football with Spec Sanders. He gained a carrer best 712 yards on 116 carries, a 6.1 yards per carry average, and scored three times.Buddy also caught 27 balls, scoring twice.

Young was also a superb return specialist. In his first year, he scored a touchdown on 8 punt return attempts, and took a 95 yard kickoff for a score on 12 attempts. He also completed the only pass of his career on two attempts.

He was fifth in the AAFC in total yards, and was named Second Team All AAFC.

The 1948 season saw Buddy carry the ball 70 times and catch 12 passes, scoring fives times. He also returned just two punts and 12 kickoffs.

He rebounded the next year, returning nine punts for 171 yards and 11 kickoffs for 316 yards. One kickoff return went 91 yards for a score.

He also ran for 495 yards on 76 carries, a 6.5 yards per carry average, caught 12 passes, and scored a career best five rushing touchdowns. His eight TD's that year are his career high, and he was named Second Team All AAFC. He was named First Team All AAFC by the UPI and the Daily News.

The Yankees became the Yanks in 1950, and Young stayed with the team. He returned 20 kickoffs and nine punts. He caught 20 balls for 302 yards, and ran the ball 76 times for 334 yards, and scored twice. He also lead the league in fumble recoveries. The UPI named him Second Team All AAFC.

In 1951, he had a career high 508 yards on 31 receptions, along with an additional 165 yards rushing and four scores. Young led the NFL with a 19.3 punt return average, returning 12 for 231 yards. He scored a touchdown on a 79 yard return. He also returned 14 kickoffs, scoring once on a 90 yard return.

The Yanks became the Dallas Texans in 1952, and Buddy stayed with the team. He ran for 243 yards, caught 22 balls, scored five times, and led the NFL with 23 kick returns for 643 yards.

The Texans became the Baltimore Colts the next year, and Buddy was still with the team. He returned 11 kicks for 378 yards, a career high 34.4 yards per return average, and scored on a 104 yard return. It was the second longest return at the time in NFL history, and is still the 13th longest ever.

Buddy made his lone All Pro squad in 1954. He averaged 18 yards per catch on 15 receptions, ran for 311 yards, and scored five times.

In his last season as a player in 1955, Young averaged a career high 22.4 yards per reception on 19 catches, and ran for 87 yards. He scored twice, and also returned nine kickoffs. He then retired and became the first Colt to have his jersey retired.

Buddy continued to break new ground after retirement. He became the first African-American to be hired as an executive by the NFL, and later was named Director of Player Relations.

He was a tough man who preferred to play without a facemask and hardly any pads. He was the fastest player in the NFL at one time, and once tied the 60-yard indoor dash record of 6.1 seconds. He even beat a horse in a 100 yard dash while with the Colts.

Buddy Young is a member of the The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players Honor Roll and the College Football Hall Of Fame.









PUNTER : George "Fat" Tiliaferro

George was the first African-American drafted in the NFL, when the Bears drafted him in the 13th round in 1949. He opted to join the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC instead.

He ran the ball 95 times for 472 yards and 5 TD's, as well as attempting a career high 124 passes with 4 more scores. George also punted the ball 27 times, and returned two punts. One return went 51 yards for a score. He also led the AAFC with five fumble recoveries.

George joined the Yankees the next year, and would stay with the team through many moves from New York, then thru Dallas, and ending in Baltimore. He then played in three games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1955, then retired.

For a three year stretch from 1951 to 1953, Taliaferro was an All Pro. He was a jack of all trades, and his finest season may have been in 1951 with the Yanks. He led the NFL in kickoff returns, kickoff return yards, punts, and punt return yards.

Taliaferro is a noted legend from the state of Indiana. He went to Indiana University, and was an All American. George led the Hoosiers to their only undefeated Big Ten Championship in his senior year, and is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame.








KICKER : Harvey Johnson

Harvery was a sixth round draft pick by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1943 NFL Draft, but had to serve in the military during the war. He would join the Yankees in 1946.

He carried the ball 16 times that year, the only rushing attempts of his career, and gained 63 yards. He also snatched 2 receptions, and had the only interception of his career.

Johnson was mainly used as the Yankees kicker. In his four years with the team, he made 178 out of 180 extra point attempts, and 22 of 38 field goal attempts.

He led the AAFC in extra points attempted and made in 1947, and field goals attempted and made in the 1949 season.

Harvey sat out the 1950 season, but suited up for the Yanks in 1951. He made all 31 of his extra points attempted, and six of his 14 attempted field goals. He retired as a player after that season.

He then became a coach and scout. He joined the expansion Buffalo Bills in inaugural 1960 season of the last version of the AFL. He served as their secondary coach, then as their director of player personnel.

The Bills fired their head coach, Joe Collier, one game into the 1968 season, and Harvey took his place. The Bills won one game that year, and he stepped down afterwards. He stayed with the team, and had to coach the Bills again in 1971. Buffalo won just one game, the worst record in the franchises history, and Harvey became a scout for the Bills until his death in 1983.


Harvey is on the far left in the second row





HEAD COACH : Ray Flaherty

Flaherty is best known as the man who invented the screen pass play, and was a long time player and coach. His coaching success came with the Washington Redskins, where he led the team to two championship wins.

After his seven years with the Redskins, he joined the Navy for one year. After serving, Flaherty returned to coach a new incarnation of the Yankees in 1946, and stayed there until mid-way into the 1948 season. He left mid-way in the 1948 season, and would coach the AAFC Chicago Hornets the next season.

Ray led the team to two AAFC title games, and his 22 wins are the most by any coach in Yankees history. He was inducted into Canton in 1976 for his contributions to the game.

Jack McBride coached two versions of the Yankees, and deserves mention as well.








2 comments:

afrankangle said...

WOW ... I had no idea about this ... plus you did a heck of a lot of work. Well done. I'll give you a shoutout on my post tomorrow.

looper said...

Very impressive!!
You did your homework on this one...
NICE JOB!!!