The Obit For Red Badgro


The Associated Press, July 14th, 1998

SEATTLE (July 13, 1998) Morris "Red" Badgro, who became the oldest player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, at age 78, died Monday, July 13, at age 95.

   Badgro, who got his nickname from his red hair, caught the first touchdown pass in the first NFL championship game in 1933. His predominant memory from that game, though, was his inability to get by fellow legend Harold "Red" Grange and score the winning touchdown.

   The "Galloping Ghost" brought Badgro down, ending the game and preserving a 23-21 victory for Grange's Chicago Bears over Badgro's New York Giants.

  When Badgro became the oldest player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981, though, Grange called the two-way star "one of the best half-dozen ends I ever saw."

  Badgro spent his retirement in the town of Kent, close to both Orillia, the town of his birth, and Seattle, where he coached for many years at the University of Washington after his playing days were over.

  After starring in three sports as a high-schooler, Badgro enrolled at Southern Cal on a basketball scholarship. He went on to letter all four years in football and baseball as well as basketball and still managed to find time to work as an extra in movies with teammate John Wayne.

  Badgro's multi-sport talents continued to be exercised after college during stints with the football New York Yankees in 1927, a minor league baseball team in Tulsa, Okla., in 1928, and the St. Louis Browns of the American League in 1929 and 1930.

  After the 1930 season with the Browns, Badgro returned to football and starred for the New York Giants from 1930-35, before finishing his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1936. A dominant two-way player, he was an All-Pro selection in 1930, 1931, 1933 and 1934.

  The 1933 season provided Badgro with his most lasting -- and bitter -- memory from his football-playing days. After catching a 29-yard pass from Harry Newman to give the Giants a 7-6 lead in the first NFL championship game, he was again in position to score on the last play of the game.

  In a 1994 interview, Badgro described what happened after he hauled in the pass and turned towards the goal line.

  "If I had gotten by Red Grange, I would have scored," Badgro said. "Grange had me around the middle his arms were around the ball, and I couldn't get rid of it. If I get by him, we win the game I wish I had (the ball) again."