Who is the only athlete in Pro Football, College Football, and Baseball Halls of Fame?
One of the greatest athletes of the 20th century is likely to someone few fans know, but Robert Calvin “Cal” Hubbard ranks with Jim Thorpe, Bo Jackson, and Deion Sanders as one of greatest American athletes ever considering he is the only athlete to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1962), Pro Football Hall of Fame (1963) and Baseball Hall of Fame (1976, as umpire).
“I’ve taken enough beatings for one man,” Hubbard told the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Not that I couldn’t take some more. It’s not fat nor age that’s driving me out. … I’ve just had enough shoving and kicking around.”
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 250 pounds, the native of Keytesville, Missouri was one of the most powerful and feared defensive end and tackle of his time.
He played defensive end in college for both Centenary Collge of Louisiana (1922-24) and Geneva College (1926), following Coach Bo McMillin when he changed schools.
In the early days of the NFL, Hubbard played at end for the New York Giants in 1927 and 1928 but switched to tackle with the Green Bay Packers. In 1936, he played in one game for the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring as a four-time NFL Champion and four-time All-Pro.
While playing in the NFL, Hubbard moonlighted as an umpire in professional baseball games beginning in 1928. Known to have remarkable eyesight estimated at 20/10 or better, Hubbard umpired games until 1951 when a hunting accident impaired his vision and forced him into an off-field position. A ricocheting bullet ended up helping baseball’s future because it began Hubbard’s 17-year tenure as the American League supervisor of umpires.
Hubbard helped Emmett Ashford become the first black umpire in the major leagues and is credited with clearly defining the roles of each on-field league official.
He retired from baseball in 1969 and died in 1977.
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