Category Archives: Football
Al Atkinson (Pro football. Born, Philadelphia, PA, July 28, 1943.) A middle linebacker out of Villanova, Allen Edward Atkinson played the entire second half of the Jets’ Super Bowl III victory over Baltimore with a separated shoulder that he didn’t reveal until after the 16-7 win at Miami. Originally drafted by Buffalo, Atkinson came to the Jets for a $100 waiver fee as a rookie before the 1965 season and played with them through 1974.
Bill Austin (Pro football. Born, San Pedro, CA, Oct. 28, 1928.) Coming to the Football Giants from Oregon State, William Lee Austin was a tackle drafted No. 13 in 1949. He returned from military service in 1953 and was shifted to guard, where he became one of the key elements in the Giants’ 1956 N.F.L. championship. Austin retired after the 1957 season due, in part, to recurring knee problems.
Al Babartsky (College football. Born, Shenandoah, PA, Apr. 19, 1915; died, Kettering, OH, Dec. 29, 2002.) Known to his teammates as “Ali Baba,” Albert J. Babartsky was a tackle on the celebrated “Seven Blocks of Granite” line at Fordham (1935-37). He earned some All-America mentions in his senior season (1937) and had an N.F.L. career with both Chicago teams (Bears, 1938-39, 1941; Cardinals, 1943-45). After retiring from football, he changed his name to Al Bart to reduce “constant misspelling.”
C. Everett Bacon (College football. Born, Westbrook, CT, Aug. 18, 1890; died, Southampton, NY, Feb. 1, 1989.) Clarence Everett Bacon, Jr., was a standout quarterback at Wesleyan (1910-12) and become the school’s only player to earn First Team all-America major college honors, in 1912.
Red Badgro (Pro football. Born, Orillia, WA, Dec. 1, 1902; died, Orillia, WA, July 13, 1998.) A six-foot, 190-pound end from Southern California, Morris Badgro is the only man to play pro football for Yankees, Giants, and Brooklyn Dodgers teams. Badgro joined the Football Yankees in 1927 and played for the Giants for six seasons (1930-35) and then Brooklyn in 1936. He played 75 games for the Giants and led the N.F.L. in receptions (16) in 1934. Badgro was all-League three times and his second-quarter reception for 29 yards from Harry Newman in the 1933 N.F.L. championship game was the first touchdown pass in league playoff history. He later was an assistant coach under Lou Little at Columbia.
Billy Baird (Pro football. Born, Lindsay, CA, Mar. 1, 1939.) A regular defensive back for seven seasons (1963-69) with the Jets, William Arthur Baird never missed a game in his pro career. Baird came out of San Francisco State and was signed as a free agent. He had 34 interceptions in his career (including eight in 1964) and returned two for touchdowns. He was also a punt return specialist and his 93-yard return against Houston (Nov. 10, 1963) was the second-longest in A.F.L. history. Baird was one of several “Jolts” (Jets who were signed after being released by the Baltimore Colts, where Weeb Ewbank previously coached).
Ralph Baker (Pro football. Born, Lewistown, PA, Aug. 25, 1942.) One of the earliest of the Penn State linebackers to become a successful pro, Ralph Robert Baker was a sixth-round pick of the A.F.L. Jets in 1964. Baker’s finest season at left linebacker was 1968, when he recovered key fumbles in both the A.F.L. championship game and the Super Bowl. A mobile 228 pounds, he excelled on downfield pass coverage and sometimes worked at middle linebacker in 4-4 coverage schemes. Baker became the Jets’ defensive captain in 1973 but he retired following the 1974 season after 141 regular-season games.
Tiki Barber (Pro football. Born, Roanoke, VA, Apr. 7, 1975.) One of those rare running backs who improved consistently throughout his career, Atiim Kiambu Barber retired at what seemed to be his statistical peak. On the final night of the 2004 season, Barber statistically became the best running back in Giants history. With 95 yards on 24 carries, Barber became the team’s career rushing leader (6,927 yards) and broke the single-season yardage record (1,518). He also scored the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds to play in a 28-24 home victory over Dallas. The three yards on that play enabled him to surpass the 1,516-yard rushing mark of Joe Morris in 1986. Barber surpassed Rodney Hampton, who gained 6,897 career yards from 1990-97, earlier the same night. His season total was the fourth 1,000-yard-plus season of his career (also 2000, 2002, and 2003). In 2003, Barber became the team’s career receptions leader (422). Barber joined the Giants as a second-round draft choice from Virginia in 1997. In the middle of the 2004 season, he scored a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, matching the Giants single-season record set by Bill Paschal in 1944. In 2005, he rushed for a career high 1,860 yards, and in 2006, his final season, he gained 1,662 yards on the ground.
Jerome Barkum (Pro football. Born, Gulfport, MS, July 18, 1950.) At 6’4”, 212 pounds, Jerome Barkum was the ideal tight end for his era when he came out of Jackson (Miss.) State in 1972. Barkum held that job most of his 12-year career with the Jets (1972-83), retiring as the seventh-ranked scorer in team history (240 points). He was the Jets’ leading receiver in 1973 (44 catches for 810 yards) and 1974 (41 for 524). Later in his career, Barkum was frequently used in double-tight-end sets with Mickey Shuler (who joined the team in 1978). For his career, he had 326 catches (second in team history only to Don Maynard at the time) for 4,789 yards (14.7 yards per reception) and scored 40 touchdowns.
Sammy Baugh (Pro football. Born, Temple. Tex., Mar. 17, 1914; died, Rotan, TX, Dec. 14, 2008.) A legendary name in pro football thanks to his years with the Washington Redskins (1937-52), Samuel Adrian Baugh was also the first coach of the Titans (who became the Jets in 1963). An all-American at Texas Christian, Baugh led Washington to five division titles and two N.F.L. championships with his passing and punting. He coached the Titans in 1960 and 1961, going 7-7 each year and withstanding numerous firing threats by owner Harry Wismer. Baugh also coached the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) in 1964 and collegiately at Hardin-Simmons in Texas.