Widener-PMC Alumni Who Played in the NFL

September 2, 2011

With college football starting this weekend, (Widener plays Moravian College at 1 p.m. Saturday in Chester), I thought I’d give readers of this blog a look at some of the many sporting images I came across while putting together the upcoming issue of magazine that features a package of stories on athletics.

Thanks to Dan Hanson, our sports card-collecting director of public relations, we have the cards (or matchbook covers) for five of the six Pennsylvania Military College or Widener alumni who saw action in the NFL:  Eddie Kawal ’33William “Reds” Pollock ’35;  Jack Klotz ’56;  Joe Fields ’75; and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson ’75.

Click here to see a slide show of both the front and backs of these cards (Kawal’s and Pollock’s are actually matchbooks, popular in the days long before smoking bans).  The one not pictured here is Jim Magner, who played for the 1931 Frankford Yellow Jackets, and whose photograph did not make it onto a matchbook or card.

One note to point out:  Although Kawal’s matchbook cover indicates he graduated from the University of Illinois in 1932, I confirmed his membership in the 1933 PMC senior class through that year’s Sabre and Sash.  Interestingly enough, his NFL statistics show that he played for the Chicago Bears for one season in 1931, and then returned to the team in 1934.  Also fascinating is Pollock’s page in the 1935 yearbook which begins his description by calling him “God’s Gift to Women.”  (If you haven’t checked out the online yearbooks in the Widener University Archives Digital Collections, you are missing a treasure trove of history.)

For more about Widener-PMC football, check out the team’s media guide that also includes on page 25 a list of players who were drafted into the NFL but never played.

The fall Widener Magazine that is almost ready for the printer — it will be out in mid-October — features a photo essay and story attempting to hit the highlights of 145 years of athletics at Pennsylvania Military College and Widener.

–Sam Starnes, Editor


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