Red Grange Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Born as Harold Edward ‘Red’ Grange was an American professional football halfback player. His nickname was ‘The Galloping Ghost.’
Red Grange was born on June 13, 1903, in Forks Ville, Pennsylvania. His father was a foreman and mother died when Red was five years of age. The family was not financially stable and had to find shelter with their relatives. They moved to Wheaton, Illinois when they were able to have a home of their own.
Grange worked as an ‘ice cream man’ to support his family. He was nicknamed “Ice Man” and “the Wheaton Ice Man.”He had a sibling, Garland, who was also a football player at Illinois. Grange’s father found a job as police in Wheaton.
Red Grange studied at the Wheaton High School for four years. He then joined the University of Illinois.
Red Grange had an excellent record at the Wheaton High School. He achieved awards for excellence in school activities 16 times in football, baseball, Basketball, and track. He was the captain of the Wheaton High School, and his team was triumphant in every play except for once. Grange was injured while playing against Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio and had difficulty in talking for two days.
He achieved excellence in track field and field runner. In 1920, he was declared state titleholder in the high jump and was 3rd in the 100-yard dash and fourth in the 220-yard dash. He attained the state title in the long jump and 100-yd dash in 1921
Grange got admitted to Zeta Psi association at the University of Illinois. He had been inclined to continue participating in basketball and track. However, he changed his idea after meeting the football coach Bob Zuppke and his Fighting Illini Football group. John Mauer was his roommate and later basketball coach of the college.
Red Grange was a team member of the College football from 1923 to 1925. The Illinois team won all the matched played during the season and achieved Helms Athletic Foundation national championship.
He came to limelight at the national level when he played in 1924 against Michigan on the inaugural day of the Memorial Stadium in honor of the alumni who had served in WWI. Illinois won with a score of 39-14.
There were many accolades, and Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown nicknamed Grange “The Galloping Ghost.”
In 1925, Red Grange ran a career-high 237 yards in a play against University of Pennsylvania to a victory, 24-2. He earned All-America distinction successively for three years. Time on October 5, 1925, showed Grange on the front page. His jersey 77 retired from the University of Illinois.
Immediately after his leaving the University, he joined the Football League.
The team did not flourish for long. Chicago Bears signed a contract with Grange for 19 plays. These plays validated the professional football and the NFL in the USA.
There was a disagreement between Grange and Chicago Bears resulting in his leaving the team. He announced his team, American Football League compete for the NFL. This team played for one season. Grange founded another team, the New York Yankees which integrated with NFL.
Red Grange in 1929, joined Chicago Bears and was a strong player through 1934.
Red Grange featured in two soundless films, One Minute to Play in 1926 and A Racing Romeo in 1927 and The Galloping Ghost in 1931. Grange did different jobs like a motivational speaker, sports announcer, etc., after retiring from football in 1934.
Red Grange was a modest personality. On the ground, while playing, he was following his impulses.
Grange came in contact with Margaret while traveling on a plane. She was a Flight attendant. He married Margaret Muggs in short, in 1941. They
remained together till his death in 1991. They had no issues.
Red Grange died on January 28, 1991, in Lake Wales, Florida due to Parkinson’s disease.
Honors and Awards
Red Grange has achieved some honors and awards, such as:
Chicago Tribune Silver football award, Big Ten Conference’s Most Valuable Player,
Best Football player of all time by ESPN, Greatest Big Ten Icon by the Big Ten Network.
A statue has been erected outside Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.