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Birth:
Keytesville, Missouri 1
Death:
St Petersburg Florida 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Robert Calvin Hubbard 1
Also known as:
Cal Hubbard 1
Full Name:
Robert Hubbard 2
Birth:
Keytesville, Missouri 1
Male 1
Birth:
31 Oct 1900 2
Death:
St Petersburg Florida 1
Cause: Cancer 1
Death:
Oct 1977 2
Residence:
Last Residence: Milan, MO 2
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Birth:
Mother: Sarah “Sallie” Ford. 1
Father: Robert P. Hubbard 1
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Missouri 2
Social Security Number: ***-**-3730 2

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CAL HUBBARD, 76; TWO-SPORT CAREER As Tackle and Umpire, Only Man to Be Elected to Hall of Fame in Pro Football and Baseball

 

Cal Hubbard Obituary

Appeared in The New York Times on October 18, 1977

Cal Hubbard Obituary


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 17 (AP) — Cal Hubbard, the only man elected to both the professional baseball and football halls of fame, died here today of cancer. He was 76 years old.

Mr. Hubbard was born in Keytesville, Mo., on Oct. 31, 1900. After college, he played tackle for Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants and was elected to the National Football League's Hall of Fame in 1963.

After his pro football career, Hubbard turned to baseball as a major league umpire. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame last year.

Mr. Hubbard also is a member of the college football Hall of Fame. He was elected in 1962 for his play at Centenary College of Shreveport, La., and Geneva College at Beaver Falls, Pa.

He is survived by his wife, Mildred, and a son, Dr. Robert Hubbard of Gulfport, Fla.

Genial Person of Authority

Cal Hubbard was a notable figure in sports for more than half a century. A member of both the college and professional football halls of fame, Mr. Hubbard played football until he was 36 years old. He was a baseball umpire in the American League for 16 years and then a league supervisor for 18 years.

Mr. Hubbard's stature gave him a posture of authority. He stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed 250 pounds. But he was an easy-going, genial person and a favorite of the players (if any umpire can be a favorite).

Mr. Hubbard enrolled at Centenary College because he so admired the head coach, Alvin (Bo) McMillin. When Mr. McMillin moved to Geneva College, Mr. Hubbard went alone, although he had to wait a year to become eligible to play again. He starred when Geneva upset Harvard in 1926 for Harvard's first opening-game defeat in its history.

He Helps Out Giants

He played pro football for 10 seasons, most of them for the Green Bay Packers as an outstanding tackle. He had retired, but the Giants needed help in 1936, and Mr. Hubbard joined them for what was supposed to be one game. He played in six.

"I reported on a Friday night," he recalled, "and they used me Sunday against Detroit.. I was to be a sub, but both tackles got hurt and I played 56 minutes. I made tackles all over the field. It was one of my best days I've ever had."

"The best who ever played the game," said Mr. McMillin of Mr. Hubbard, who was elected as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. "The best lineman," said a long rival, George Halas of the Chicago Bears.

As an umpire, Mr. Hubbard was always in control of the game. One day Mike Tresh, the White Sox catcher, was complaining about his ball-and-strike calls.

The umpire finally lost his patience and, towering over the catcher, he said, "Mike, if you don't shut up, I'm going to hit you so hard on the top of the head that it will take a derrick to get you back to level ground." The catcher shut up.

Mr. Hubbard enjoyed hunting, and it was a hunting accident that ended his career as an umpire. A shotgun pellet struck his eye and impaired his sight in 1951.

As supervisor of the umpires, he once voted to legalize the spitball pitch, but he was in a minority.

He considered Ted Williams the finest hitter he ever saw and also cited Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Gehringeras outstanding players.

"Williams is one of the nicest kids you'd ever want to meet," said Cal Hubbard in 1948. "He never squawks on balls or strikes and swings at anything near the plate. He's a natural, never taking a good pitch."

Cal Hubbard

Cal Hubbard is the only man to be named to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame. In football he was famous as both an offensive and defensive lineman, while in baseball he made his mark as an umpire.

Robert Calvin Hubbard was born on October 31, 1900, in Keytesville, Missouri. His parents were Robert P. Hubbard and Sarah “Sallie” Ford. His father was a farmer. Cal attended a small school in Keytesville with thirty other students and graduated from Keytesville High School. He attended one year at nearby Glasgow High School because his local school had no football team. Hubbard loved football, and he was big. At the age of fourteen, he weighed nearly 200 pounds. Since he could not attend West Point because of his flat feet, Hubbard looked for a college that had a promising football program near home. He decided to enroll in Chillicothe Business College.

In 1922 Hubbard met Alvin “Bo” McMillan, a college All-American quarterback and the coach of Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Impressed with the coach, Hubbard decided to accept McMillan’s invitation to attend Centenary. He played at the school from 1922 to 1924 and was a star player. At 6′4″ tall and 250 pounds, Hubbard was large for a player in the 1920s. He was also very fast for his size and could run a hundred yards in eleven seconds.

Unlike modern football players who specialize in either an offensive or defensive position, Hubbard played both sides of the line. He also usually played the full sixty minutes of a game. On offense, he played very wide on the line and swept in to hit the defensive line on its side, knocking down multiple players like dominoes. On defense, he chose to step back from his tackle position on the line of scrimmage so that he could better see what the offense was doing. This allowed him to react quickly to the play. Thus, Hubbard created the linebacker position that has become a defensive standard position today.

Chillicothe Business College Football Team

When Bo McMillan moved to Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Hubbard went with him. He had to sit out a year under Geneva’s eligibility rules. In 1926 he returned to play and helped Geneva in its historic win over Harvard University (16-7). After graduating with a BA in 1927, Hubbard took his skills to the National Football League and played with New York, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh. He played professional football from 1927 to 1936 and was one of the most feared linemen of his day. He also had experience as a football coach, leaving the NFL for one season (1934) to coach at Texas A&M University. After retiring from playing football, Hubbard was the head coach of his former school, Geneva College, from 1941 to 1942.

In 1928 Hubbard started another professional sporting career. He began to spend his off-season time umpiring minor league baseball games. His 20-10 vision and imposing size made him very effective as an umpire. In 1936 he was called up to umpire games in the American League. He spent sixteen years as an umpire in the majors and during that time officiated in four World Series and three All-Star games. During a hunting trip in 1951, a ricocheting pellet from another hunter’s shotgun injured one of his eyes. The injury ended his career as an umpire and devastated him; however, the American League quickly rehired him as an assistant supervisor of league umpires, and he soon became the supervisor of umpires for the league. He served in that position from 1953 to 1969.

Even in retirement, Hubbard continued to attract attention for his sporting achievements. In 1962 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The Pro Football Hall of Fame was established the following year, and Hubbard was named as one of the seventeen charter members of the organization. In 1976 Hubbard was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the fifth of only nine umpires admitted to date.

While Cal Hubbard was a national figure in sports, he maintained his Missouri roots. He returned to the state often to visit family and to hunt and fish. He made his home in Milan, Missouri, from 1948 until his death. He died of cancer on October 17, 1977, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Hubbard remains the only man inducted into three major sports halls of fame. Speaking of his achievements, Hubbard said, “I’m just a big old country boy who hated to sit on the sidelines; I wanted to be in the middle of the action.”

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