“FOOTBALL AT FENWAY”


 

In July of 1932, the NFL awarded a team to the city of Boston after the Newark Tornadoes folded the franchise was sold back to the NFL. The ownership group for the new franchise was headed by a man with little football background, George Preston Marshall, a businessman from Washington D.C.  Marshall was known for his flair for promotion and his persuasive communication skills.  He pioneered gala halftime pageants, organized first team band,  sponsored progressive rule changes, such as splitting NFL into two divisions with title playoff. The team would play at Braves Field,  and so they took the name Boston Braves.  The Boston "Football" Braves made their debut on October 2nd losing at home to the Brooklyn Dodgers. A week later the Braves would beat the New York Giants 14-6 for their first win.  Despite the presence of two rookies, halfback, Cliff Battles and tackle Glen “Turk” Edwards, the new franchise's losses during the first season reached $46,000. The Braves would go on to complete their first season with a 4-4-2 record under Coach Lud Wray.

The team losing money in it's inaugural season prompting Marshall to take sole ownership of the team the following year.  He moved the team to Fenway Park in July of 1933.  Marshall introduced a new head coach named Lone Star Dietz.  Dietz was a Sioux Indian,  and played at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  There he was a teammate of Jim Thorpe, under famed coach Pop Warner.  Dietz became the 14th head college football coach for the Washington State University Cougars located in Pullman, Washington, a position he held for three seasons, from 1915 until 1917.  His coaching record at Washington State was 17 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him eighth at Washington State in total wins and third at Washington State in winning percentage (.875)   He also led Washington State to its only Rose Bowl win in 1916. Dietz also coached at Purdue University, the University of Wyoming, Louisiana Tech University, and Albright College.  Marshall changed the team's official name to the Boston Redskins to honor him.

LONE STAR DIETZ

The Redskins would alternate wins and losses all season and would finish with a 5-5-2 record.  However, one impressive feat during the season was Cliff Battle's performance against the Giants on October 8, 1933, where he rushed 16 times for 215 yards, and scored one touchdown and became the first player ever to rush for more than 200 yards in a game.  In 1934, the Redskins continued to alternate wins and losses finishing in second place with a 6-6 record. Following the season Coach Lone Star Dietz was replaced by former Tufts and Harvard head coach, Eddie Casey.  In 1935, the Redskins split their first two games before going into a season long scoring slump, posting only 23 during a seven game losing streak. The Redskins would post a win and a tie in their final two games, finishing with a 2-8-1 record, while only scoring 65 points on the season.

RAY FLAHERTY

The Redskins best year in Boston came in 1936.  In that draft, the Redskins chose Riley Smith and Wayne Millner,  who became a large part of their offense.  Another big addition that came in 1936, is when Marshall hired future Hall-of-Famer Ray Flaherty as head coach to replace Eddie Casey.   Among his innovations, Flaherty is credited with inventing the screen pass.  After playing mediocre football most of the season, the Redskins won their final three games to capture the Eastern Division Championship with a 7-5 record. The stars of the three game Division winning streak were the defense who allowed only six points while the Skins out scored their opponents 74-6.  However, a big disappointment came in their 30-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the next to last game of the season, when only 4,813 fans showed up to watch them at Fenway Park. Owner George Preston Marshall was so enraged he gave up home field for the NFC Championship Game, choosing to face the Packers at New York's Polo Grounds. The Redskins were never really in the game as the Packers won the Championship with a 21-6 victory. The team would never play another game in Boston and moved to Washington D.C.

One of the reasons the Redskins didn’t draw, is because ownership got in wrong with the fans at the very beginning of the season.  The fans found the entire grandstand reserved and the price of admission raised for the first home game.  Those fans, who sat in the unreserved section in 1935, were forced to sit out on the field in 1936 for the general admission price.  Also, their competition that year was the Boston Shamrocks of the new American Football League.  The Shamrocks were a winning team, who won the league championship, outdrawing the Redskins with a lower ticket price.  Before leaving Boston, however, the Redskins made one more big addition that helped their franchise for years to come. The addition came after the 1937 NFL Draft on December 12, 1936, when they signed an innovative rookie quarterback from Texas Christian University, Sammy Baugh.

CLIFF BATTLES (1932-1936) ...  
Battles.
the Boston Redskins' biggest star, got many offers from NFL teams including the New York Giants and Portsmouth Spartans. but he signed with the Boston Braves in 1932, who offered him $175 per game, compared with a high of $150 from the other teams.  In 1932, Battles won the NFL's rushing title as a rookie.  He also performed well during the 1933 season and on October 8, 1933, Battles, playing for the newly-named Boston Redskins, became the first player to exceed 200 rushing yard in a game, finishing with 215 yards on 16 rushes and one touchdown against the Giants.

In Washington in 1937, Sammy Baugh and Battles combined their talents just as everyone had anticipated. During their last regular-season game, Battles scored three touchdowns and the Washington Redskins beat the Giants for the Eastern Division title.  In the 1937 NFL Championship against the Chicago Bears a week later, Battles scored the first touchdown in a 28-21 victory that gave the Redskins their first NFL title.  In what would end up being his last regular-season game on December 5, 1937, Battles ran for 165 yards against the Giants at the Polo Grounds. This was the record for most rushing yards for a player in the final regular-season game of his NFL career until Tiki Barber broke the record on December 30, 2006 with 234 rushing yards.  Battles was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

GLEN "TURK" EDWARDS (1932-1936) ...
Edwards played his entire career for, and eventually became the head coach of, the
Washington Redskins.  After finishing college, Edwards received offers from three NFL franchises, the Boston Braves, the New York Giants, and the Portsmouth Spartans. He chose the highest bid, $1,500 for 10 games from the Braves. Edwards played for the Redskins for nine seasons, winning All-NFL honors from major media outlets every year of his career except his last one.  Unfortunately, his career was cut short due to an injury that did not even occur in a game. Edwards was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969

1933 BOSTON REDSKINS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/17/1933 0-0-1 at Green Bay Packers T 7-7  
10/01/1933 0-1-1 at Chicago Bears L 7-0  
10/04/1933 1-1-1 at Pittsburgh Pirates W 21-6  
10/08/1933 2-1-1 New York Giants W 21-20  
10/15/1933 2-2-1 Portsmouth Spartans L 13-0  
10/22/1933 3-2-1 Chicago Cardinals W 10-0  
10/29/1933 3-3-1 Pittsburgh Pirates L 16-14  
11/05/1933 4-3-1 Chicago Bears W 10-0  
11/12/1933 4-4-1 at New York Giants L 7-0  
11/19/1933 5-4-1 Green Bay Packers W 20-7  
11/26/1933 5-5-1 at Brooklyn Dodgers L 14-0  
12/03/1933 5-5-2 at Chicago Cardinals T 0-0  
1933 NFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

New York Giants

11

3 0 -  
  Brooklyn Dodgers

5

4 1 3 1/2  
  BOSTON REDSKINS

5

5 2 4  
  Philadelphia Eagles

3

5 1 5  
  Pittsburgh Pirates

3

6 2 5 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Chicago Bears

10

2 1 -  
  Portsmouth Spartans

6

5 0 3 1/2  
  Green Bay Packers

5

7 1 5  
  Cincinnati Reds

3

6 1 5 1/2  
  Chicago Cardinals

1

9 1 8  

1934 BOSTON REDSKINS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/16/1934 1-0 at Pittsburgh Pirates W 7-0  
09/30/1934 1-1 at Brooklyn Dodgers L 10-6  
10/07/1934 1-2 New York Giants L 16-13  
10/14/1934 2-2 Pittsburgh Pirates W 39-0  
10/17/1934 2-3 at Detroit Lions L 24-0  
10/21/1934 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles W 6-0  
10/28/1934 4-3 Chicago Cardinals W 9-0  
11/04/1934 4-4 Green Bay Packers L 10-0  
11/11/1934 4-5 Chicago Bears L 21-0  
11/18/1934 5-5 at Philadelphia Eagles W 14-7  
11/25/1934 5-6 at New York Giants L 3-0  
12/02/1934 6-6 Brooklyn Dodgers W 13-3  
1934 NFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

New York Giants

8

5 0 -  
  BOSTON REDSKINS

6

6 0 1 1/2  
  Brooklyn Dodgers

4

7 0 3  
  Philadelphia Eagles

4

7 0 3  
  Pittsburgh Pirates

2

10 0 5 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Chicago Bears

8

2 1 -  
  Los Angeles Rams

6

4 1 2  
  Chicago Cardinals

6

5 0 2 1/2  
  Green Bay Packers

6

5 0 2 1/2  
  Detroit Lions

1

10 0 7 1/2  

1935 BOSTON REDSKINS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/29/1935 1-0 Brooklyn Dodgers W 7-3  
10/06/1935 1-1 New York Giants L 20-12  
10/13/1935 1-2 Detroit Lions L 17-7  
10/20/1935 1-3 at New York Giants L 17-6  
10/27/1935 1-4 at Pittsburgh Pirates L 6-0  
10/30/1935 1-5 at Detroit Lions L 14-0  
11/03/1935 1-6 Philadelphia Eagles L 7-6  
11/10/1936 1-7 Chicago Bears L 30-14  
11/24/1936 1-8 Chicago Cardinals L 6-0  
12/01/1935 2-8 Pittsburgh Pirates W 13-3  
12/08/1935 2-8-1 at Brooklyn Dodgers T 0-0  
1935 NFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

New York Giants

9

3 0 -  
  Brooklyn Dodgers

5

6 1 3 1/2  
  Pittsburgh Pirates

4

8 0 5  
  BOSTON REDSKINS

2

8 1 4  
  Philadelphia Eagles

2

9 0 6 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Detroit Lions

7

3 2 -  
  Green Bay Packers

8

4 0 -  
  Chicago Bears

6

4 2 1  
  Chicago Cardinals

6

4 2 1  

1936 BOSTON REDSKINS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/13/1936 0-1 at Pittsburgh Pirates L 10-0  
09/20/1936 1-1 at Philadelphia Eagles W 26-3  
09/27/1936 2-1 at Brooklyn Dodgers W 14-3  
10/04/1936 2-2 New York Giants L 7-0  
10/11/1936 2-3 at Green Bay Packers L 21-3  
10/18/1936 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles W 17-7  
11/01/1936 4-3 Chicago Cardinals W 13-10  
11/08/1936 4-4 Green Bay Packers L 7-3  
11/15/1936 4-5 Chicago Bears L 26-0  
11/22/1936 5-5 Brooklyn Dodgers W 30-6  
11/29/1936 6-5 Pittsburgh Pirates W 30-0  
12/06/1936 7-5 at New York Giants W 14-0  
1936 NFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

BOSTON REDSKINS

7

5 0 -  
  Pittsburgh Pirates

6

6 0 1  
  New York Giants

5

6 1 1 1/2  
  Brooklyn Dodgers

3

8 1 3 1/2  
  Philadelphia Eagles

1

11 0 6  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Green Bay Packers

10

1 1 -  
  Chicago Bears

9

3 0 1 1/2  
  Detroit Lions

8

4 0 2 1/2  
  Chicago Cardinals

3

8 1 7