New York Yankees Forgotten Players: George Halas
George Halas made his name as the legendary coach of the Chicago Bears. However, before he went to the NFL, he was an outfielder who had a brief stint with the New York Yankees.
When looking back at the greats in NFL history, George Halas certainly ranks among the best coaches every to roam the sideline. As a player, then coach and owner of the Chicago Bears, he had a 318-148-31 record, becoming the first coach to reach both the 200 and 300 win plateaus. He tied Curly Lambeau with six NFL championships, and reached the title game a total of ten times. He was also named to the 1920’s All Pro Team, as he shined as a wide receiver and defensive end before becoming an owner and coach.
However, before his storied career in football, Halas was a three sport star at the University of Illinois, playing football, basketball, and baseball. After leaving college, he played for the St. Paul Saints for the American Association, where he was an outfielder. In 39 games, Halas had a .274 batting average, although he showed little power. In 84 at bats, he only had two doubles and a triple.
Nonetheless, that performance was enough for Halas to get a look from the New York Yankees. He appeared in 12 games, with most of his appearances on the field coming in right. Overall, Halas had 22 at bats, notching two singles while striking out eight times. On the positive side, Halas did handle all eight of his chances in the outfield flawlessly.
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Although he did not exactly set the world on fire, Halas had still planned on pursuing his baseball career. That was, until a hip injury ended his time on the diamond, leading him to focus on playing professional football.
That decision proved to be quite fruitful. Halas was a star during his decade on the field, and became quite the successful coach. His number 7 was retired by the Bears, not only for his contributions as a player, but as a coach and owner as well.
Halas also brought about quite a few innovations that are still around today. He was the first coach to analyze film of the opposition, to put assistant coaches in the press box during games, and to hold daily practices. The Bears were also the first team to have their games broadcast on the radio and on television. Halas also shared that revenue with the rest of the league, looking to strengthen the league as a whole since smaller market franchises did not have the same earning capability. The only person to be a part of the league for the first 60 years of existence, he was still the team owner when he passed away in 1983.
Before George Halas became a legend with the Chicago Bears, he was an outfielder with the New York Yankees. He certainly made the right choice by getting into football instead.