George Stanley Halas, Sr. (February 2, 1895 – October 31, 1983), nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was a player, coach, owner and pioneer in professional American Football. He was the iconic longtime leader of the Chicago Bears. He was also lesser known as an inventor, jurist, producer, philanthropist, philatelist, and Major League Baseball player.
Early life and sports careerEdit
Serving as an ensign in the Navy during World War I, he played for a team at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, and was named the MVP of the 1919 Rose Bowl. On a team which included Paddy Driscoll and Jimmy Conzelman, Halas scored a receiving touchdown and returned an intercepted pass 77 yards in a 17-0 win; the team was also rewarded with their military discharges.Halas was born in Chicago, Illinois, into a family of Czech-Bohemian immigrants. His parents were Slavic migrants from Pilsen,Bohemia part of what would later become Czechoslovakia. George had a varied career in sports. In 1915, Halas worked temporarily for Western Electric and was planning on being on the Eastland. He was running late, however, and missed the capsizing. After graduating from Crane High School in Chicago, he attended the University of Illinois, playing football for coach Bob Zuppke as well as baseball and basketball, and earning a degree in civil engineering. He also became a member of Tau Kappa Epsilonfraternity. He helped Illinois win the 1918 Big Ten football title.
Afterward, Halas played minor league and semi-pro baseball, eventually earning a promotion to the New York Yankees, where he played 12 games as an outfielder in 1919. However, a hip injury effectively ended his baseball career. The popular myth was that Halas was succeeded as the Yankees' right fielder by Babe Ruth, but in reality it was Sammy Vick who was replaced by Ruth. Later that year, he played for the Hammond Pros and received about $75 per game.