Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chicago History Museum: Author! Author!

Nice write-up of my book from Chicago History Museum President Gary Johnson, who writes a monthly commentary called "Author! Author!" on significant books. Chicago has always impressed me with its love of history. The museum is well-worth a visit and it was a great resource in my book research.

Poole, Gary Andrew. The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company (2008).

President's Commentary, October, 2008: College football was popular and well-established when Red Grange starred for the University of Illinois, but professional football was seen as a kind of carnival freak show. That all changed when Grange went to play for George Halas, the young owner of the Chicago Bears and a "missionary" for what professional football could become. The third indispensible ingredient was Charles C. Pyle, a theatre-owner in Champaign and a promoter with a shadowy reputation. Grange's college coach, Robert Zuppke, was disgusted at Grange's decision to go pro and tried to talk him out of it, but what followed was the creation of a pro football world with stars and loyal fans, a world that we would recognize today. Still, the most interesting details about Grange himself come from his college years, when working off-season as an iceman in his hometown of Wheaton kept him in shape. On the day in 1924 when the University of Illinois stadium was dedicated, Grange scored six touchdowns against the University of Michigan, a day that always will be remembered in college football.


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1:57 AM  

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