Al Wistert

Albert Alexander "Ox" Wistert (December 28, 1920 – March 5, 2016) was an All-Pro American football tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played his entire nine-year NFL career for the Eagles and became their team captain. He was named to play in the NFL's first Pro Bowl as an Eagle. During most of Wistert's career there were no football All-star games, although he was named to the league All-Pro team eight times.[2]

Wistert played college football at the University of Michigan. He is one of the three brothers—along with Whitey and Alvin— who were named All-American tackles at Michigan and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first Michigan alumnus to be selected to the National Football League Pro Bowl.[3] The Wistert brothers all wore jersey No. 11 at Michigan and are among the seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program. Their number will be put back into circulation starting on November 10, 2012 before a Michigan home game against Northwestern as part of the Michigan Football Legend program.[4]

Al Wistert
Al Wistert
No. 70
Position:Tackle
Personal information
Born:December 28, 1920
Chicago, Illinois
Died:March 5, 2016 (aged 95)
Grants Pass, Oregon
Career information
High school:Chicago (IL) Schurz
College:Michigan
NFL Draft:1943 / Round: 5 / Pick: 32
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:95
Games started:62[1]
Player stats at NFL.com

Early life

Wistert, who was born in Chicago, Illinois,[5] was from a Lithuanian family.[6] His father, Kazimer Wistert, was a Spanish–American War veteran who was later killed in the line of duty while working for the Chicago Police Department.[6] The story of the Wistert brothers at Michigan began when Whitey's Carl Schurz High School classmate John Kowalik was invited to visit the University of Michigan. At the time, Whitey Wistert had a factory job where he was involved with building Majestic radios. Kowalik took Whitey with him on his visit to Ann Arbor, and according to Alvin, "that's how it started: the Wisterts of Michigan."[7]

College football

And if I'm not mistaken I think this is unprecedented in the annals of college football: that three brothers all would go to the same school, all played football. All played tackle, all wore the same number 11, all made All-American. Two of us played on four national championship teams. And all were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[7] – Alvin Wistert

After graduating from Foreman High School,[8] Wistert became the second of the Wistert brothers to play for Michigan where he wore number 11 like his brothers and played from 1940 to 1942. He was a consensus All-American and team MVP in 1942.[9] He played in the 1943 East–West Shrine Game.[10] He is well remembered, among other things, for his exploits in a 1942 game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team,[10] and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968, one year after his brother Francis.[9] In 1981, he was named to the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in the fourth class of inductees alongside his brothers. Only five Michigan football players earned this honor before him.[11]

Michigan posted a 20–5–1 record during Wistert's three years on the team. In 1940, the team's only loss in its eight-game season was to the eventual national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers football. The Wolverines followed that season with 6–1–1 and 7–3 marks in the next two years. Wistert served as captain of the College All-star team that beat the Sammy Baugh-led National Football League champion Washington Redskins, 27–7, in Chicago.[8] He was the only one of the three brothers not to play on a national championship squad at Michigan.

Professional football

After being drafted in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Eagles and signing for $3800 ($55,020 today), he encountered animosity from veteran players for having signed such a large contract (though they thought he signed for $4500).[12] He earned All-Pro honors in eight (four by consensus)[2][13] of his nine seasons.[6] As a two-way player,[13] he played his entire nine-year career for the Philadelphia Eagles (who operated as a merged team with the Pittsburgh Steelers for one season during World War II.[5]) The National Football League had no All-Star games between 1943 and 1950. Thus, although Wistert was a perennial All-Pro selection, it is difficult to compare him to more modern players who are often measured by Pro Bowl invitations. He served as Eagles captain for five consecutive seasons, from 1946 to 1950,[14] and was named All-Pro in each season.[8] In Wistert's next to last season he was selected to the first Pro Bowl. In his final season, he recovered three fumbles.[5] The Eagles won the 1948 and 1949 National Football League Championships with Wistert. These were the only consecutive National Football League champions to win by shutout.[6] His number 70 was retired by the Eagles in 1952.[8] According to his College Football Hall of Fame biography, during his career he started every game the Eagles played except for the 1950 season opener against the Cleveland Browns.[8] However, according to other statistical databases he only started about 2/3 of his career games.[5] His is one of only seven retired Eagles Jerseys.[14] Wistert lamented not having been enshrined in the Professional Football Hall of Fame and on Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll:

The two things that would really make my career complete is to be inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll.[14]

Wistert was inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll on September 29, 2009 along with Randall Cunningham.[15] In 2003, he was named to the Pro Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's inaugural HOVG class.[16]

Later life and family

After football, Wistert became a successful life insurance salesman. He sold insurance for 40 years.[14] Among the places he has lived since retirement are California and Grants Pass, Oregon.[10][14] He was married to his late wife Ellie for 61 years and has three daughters (Pam, Dianna and Kathy) and three grandchildren.[14] At one point he was both coaching football at Riverside High School in Riverside Township, New Jersey and playing professionally.[14] According to brother Alvin, their father "was born Casmir Vistertus and he Anglicized it when he came to America to Wistert."[7]

Wistert died on March 5, 2016 in Grants Pass, Oregon at the age of 95.[17]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Wistert on PFR.com
  2. ^ a b Pro Football Reference Retrieved April 14, 2009.
  3. ^ "University of Michigan Football NFL Pro Bowl Participants". Regents of the University of Michigan. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  4. ^ http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/101312aaa.html
  5. ^ a b c d "Al Wistert". pro-football-reference.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d Campbell, Jim (April 15, 2006). "Conversation with Al Wistert: An old pro tells it like it was". Pro Football Weekly LLC. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c Green, Jerry (January 2, 2004). "Wistert brothers' fame was built on hard work". Detroit News.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Albert "Ox" Wistert". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  9. ^ a b Jones, Todd (2007). "Michigan". In MacCambridge, Michael (ed.). ESPN Big Ten College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Enterprises. ISBN 1-933060-49-2.
  10. ^ a b c "University of Michigan Football All-American: Albert Wistert". The Regents of the University of Michigan. February 10, 2007. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  11. ^ "Hall of Honor". M Club. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  12. ^ Algeo, 2007, p. 6.
  13. ^ a b "Eagles 75th Anniversary: Best of the rest 11-53". About Philly.com. August 12, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Kravitz, Gary (July 10, 2005). "Where Are They Now: T Al Wistert". Philadelphia Eagles. Archived from the original on March 11, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  15. ^ Kent, Bob (September 27, 2009). "Cunningham, Wistert Join Honor Roll". Philadelphia Eagles. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  16. ^ "Hall of Very Good". Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "UM Football Legend Al Wistert Dies at 95". Detroit News.com. Retrieved March 5, 2016.

Sources

  • Algeo, Matthew (2007). Last Team Standing: How the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles—'The Steagles'—Saved Pro Football During World War II. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81576-8.

External links

1940 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1940 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) for the 1940 Big Ten Conference football season.

1940 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1940 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1940 Big Ten Conference football season. Under third-year head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a 7–1 record and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. The team outscored opponents 196 to 34. The team's sole setback was a 7–6 loss on the road against a Minnesota team that finished the season No. 1 in the final AP Poll.

The 1940 team featured one of the greatest backfields in Michigan football history with all four principal starters going on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as either a player or coach. Left halfback Tom Harmon was a consensus All-American and the winner of the Heisman Trophy as the best overall player in college football. Harmon became the focus of nationwide media coverage, even appearing on the cover of Life magazine in November 1940. Quarterback Forest Evashevski won the Big Ten Medal as the school's best senior student-athlete and was later referred to by Coach Crisler as "the greatest quarterback I ever had." Fullback Bob Westfall, known as "Bullet Bob," was the country's fourth leading rusher in 1940, gaining 808 yards in eight games. (Harmon had 852 rushing yards.) Westfall went on to become a consensus All-American in 1941 and also won All-Pro honors for the Detroit Lions in 1945. David M. Nelson, who started the most games at right halfback, went on to a 20-year career as a college football coach and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach.

The line playing in front of Michigan's Hall of Fame backfield was also one of the best in school history with four of the seven starters going on to play in the NFL. Left tackle Al Wistert had his jersey retired at Michigan, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and was an eight-time All-Pro selection for the Philadelphia Eagles. Left guard Ralph Fritz was a first-team All-Big Nine player in 1940 and later played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Center Robert Ingalls played for the Green Bay Packers and later served for 12 years as the head football coach at Connecticut. End Ed Frutig, who was Harmon's principal receiver, was selected as a first-team member of the 1940 College Football All-America Team and later played for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

A fifth starter on the 1940 line, Milo Sukup, was the running guard and one of the principal blockers for Harmon and Westfall. Harmon in 1940 publicly praised Sukup and Fritz as "two big reasons for Harmon." Sukup was reportedly on track for selection as an All-American until he suffered a career-ending injury late in the season. In a November 1940 game against Illinois, Sukup suffered a blow to the head while blocking for Harmon. He was knocked unconscious, suffered from temporary amnesia and was later hospitalized for several days after suffering recurring headaches. Sukup was propped up in a bed at University Hospital when the Wolverines left to play Minnesota and listened by radio from his hospital bed as the team suffered its only loss of the season. Sukup missed the last three games of the season due to the concussion and did not compete further as a football player. Robert Kolesar, who replaced Sukup at right guard for the last two games, went on to play for the Cleveland Browns.

1941 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1941 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) for the 1941 Big Ten Conference football season.

1941 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1941 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1941 Big Ten Conference football season. Under fourth-year head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a record of 6–1–1 (3–1–1 Big Ten), outscored opponents 147 to 41 and was ranked #5 in the final AP Poll. The team played three ranked opponents, defeating #5 Northwestern (14–7), playing to a tie with #14 Ohio State (20–20), and losing by a 7–0 score to the 1941 Minnesota team that won the 1941 national championship. With a strong, veteran line, the Wolverines also shut out four of their eight opponents: Pittsburgh (40–0); Columbia (28–0); Illinois (20–0); and Iowa (6–0).Fullback Bob Westfall was selected as a consensus first-team player on both the 1941 College Football All-America Team and the All-Big Ten Conference team. Halfback Tom Kuzma was the team's leading scorer with 48 points, and tackle Reuben Kelto received the team's Most Valuable Player award. Tackle Al Wistert received second-team All-America honors, and center Robert Ingalls was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten honoree.

1942 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1942 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) for the 1942 Big Ten Conference football season. Dave Schreiner was the only unanimous pick with 18 points (representing all nine first-team picks); Julius Franks and Dick Wildung followed with 17 points each.

1942 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1942 Big Ten Conference football season was the 47th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1942 college football season.

The 1942 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, led by head coach Paul Brown, compiled a 9–1, led the Big Ten in scoring offense (33.7 points per game), won the conference championship, and was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll. The Buckeyes' only loss was by a 17–7 score against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. Tackle Charles Csuri received the team's most valuable player award. Halfback Les Horvath went on to win the 1943 Heisman Trophy.

Wisconsin, under head coach Harry Stuhldreher, compiled an 8–1–1 record, led the conference in scoring defense (6.8 points per game allowed), and was ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. The Badgers played Notre Dame to a 7–7 and suffered its sole loss on the road against Iowa. End Dave Schreiner was a consensus first-team All-American and received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the conference.

Michigan, under head coach Fritz Crisler, compiled a 7–3 record and was ranked No. 9 in the final AP Poll. Two Michigan linemen, tackle Al Wistert and guard Julius Franks (Michigan's first African-American All-American), were selected as consensus first-team All-Americans.

1942 College Football All-America Team

The 1942 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1942. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1942 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (2) the Associated Press, (3) the United Press, (4) the All-America Board, (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) Look magazine, (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (8) Newsweek, and (9) the Sporting News.

Two individuals were unanimous selections; they were Georgia halfback (and Heisman Trophy winner) Frank Sinkwich and Wisconsin end Dave Schreiner.

1944 All-Pro Team

The 1944 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1944 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Pro Football Illustrated, and the New York Daily News (NYDN).

1945 All-Pro Team

The 1945 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1945 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Pro Football Illustrated, and the New York Daily News (NYDN).

1946 All-Pro Team

The 1946 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1946 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), Pro Football Illustrated, and the New York Daily News (NYDN). The AP selections included players from the National Football League (NFL) and All-America Football Conference; the UP, PFI, and NYDN selections were limited to players from the NFL.

1947 All-Pro Team

The 1947 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1947 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), Pro Football Illustrated, and the New York Daily News (NYDN). The AP selections included players from the National Football League (NFL) and All-America Football Conference; the UP, PFI, and NYDN selections were limited to players from the NFL.

1947 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1947 Big Nine Conference football season. In its tenth year under head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a perfect 10–0 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, and defeated the USC Trojans by a score of 49–0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game. Although ranked second in the AP Poll at the end of the regular season, the Wolverines were selected as the nation's No. 1 team by a 226–119 margin over Notre Dame in an unprecedented (and unofficial) AP Poll taken after the bowl games. The 1947 team outscored its opponents, 394–53, and has been selected as the best team in the history of Michigan football.The 1947 Michigan Wolverines included five players who have been inducted into the College or Pro Football Halls of Fame: left halfback Bob Chappuis (who finished second in the 1947 Heisman Trophy voting), right halfback Bump Elliott (who received the Chicago Tribune trophy as the Big Ten MVP), defensive quarterback Pete Elliott, defensive end Len Ford, and tackle Al Wistert. Offensive tackle Bruce Hilkene was the team captain, and quarterback Howard Yerges was the field general who became known as "Crisler's 'second brain.'" Jack Weisenburger was the "spinning fullback" and the 1947 Big Ten rushing leader.

The 1947 Wolverines were the first team fully to embrace the concept of defensive and offensive specialization. Previously, most players had played their positions on both offense and defense. In 1947, Fritz Crisler established separate offensive and defensive squads. Only Bump Elliott and Jack Weisenberger played on both squads. In November 1947, Time magazine ran a feature article about the 1947 Wolverines focusing on the new era of specialization marked by Crisler's decision to field separate offensive and defensive units. The Time article noted: "Michigan's sleight-of-hand repertory is a baffling assortment of double reverses, buck-reverse laterals, crisscrosses, quick-hits and spins from seven different formations. Sometimes, watching from the side lines, even Coach Crisler isn't sure which Michigan man has the ball. Michigan plays one team on offense, one on defense...Whenever Michigan's defensive team regains the ball, Crisler orders: 'Offense unit, up and out,' and nine men pour onto the field at once." Crisler's single-wing formation in action was "so dazzling in its deception" that the media nicknamed the 1947 team the "Mad Magicians".

1948 All-Pro Team

The 1948 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1948 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), The Sporting News, and the New York Daily News. The AP and Sporting News selections included players from the National Football League (NFL) and All-America Football Conference; the UP selections were limited to players from the NFL.

Alvin Wistert

Alvin Lawrence "Moose" Wistert (June 26, 1916 – October 3, 2005) was an American football player. A native of Chicago, Illinois, he played college football at the tackle position for Boston University in 1946 and at the University of Michigan from 1947 to 1949. He began his collegiate football career at age 30 following 12 years of working in a factory and serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He played at the defensive tackle position for the undefeated 1947 and 1948 Michigan Wolverines football teams, both of which finished the season ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll. He was the oldest college football player selected as a College Football All-American, having been selected to the 1948 College Football All-America Team at age 32 and the 1949 Team at age 33.

He was the last of the three Wistert brothers (along with older brother Francis "Whitey" Wistert and younger brother Albert "Ox" Wistert) to play for the Michigan Wolverines football team. All three Wistert brothers played at the tackle position, were selected as consensus All-Americans, and were later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Alvin was the last of the three brothers to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, receiving the honor in 1973. The Wistert brothers all wore jersey No. 11 at Michigan and are among the seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program. Their number will be put back into circulation starting on November 10, 2012 before a Michigan home game against Northwestern as part of the Michigan Football Legend program.

National Football League 1940s All-Decade Team

This is a list of all NFL players who had outstanding performances throughout the 1940s and have been compiled together into this fantasy group. The team was selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame retroactively in 1969 to mark the league's 50th anniversary.

Notes:

1 Team belonged to both the National Football Conference and the All-America Football Conference at different times

2 The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers were merged into one team for the 1943 season due to World War II

3 Three-time finalist to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Robert Kolesar

Robert C. "Bob" Kolesar (April 5, 1921 – January 13, 2004) was an American football player and medical doctor. He played at the guard position for the University of Michigan from 1940 to 1942 and for the Cleveland Browns in 1946 after a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II. While playing at Michigan, he was part of a line that was known as the "Seven Oak Posts".

Kolesar retired from professional football after one season to pursue a medical career, and later established a practice in Saginaw, Michigan. He died in 2004.

Steagles

The Steagles was the team created by the temporary merger of two National Football League (NFL) teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, during the 1943 season. The teams were forced to merge because both had lost many players to military service during World War II. The league's official record book refers to the team as "Phil-Pitt Combine", but the unofficial "Steagles", despite never being registered by the NFL, has become the enduring moniker.

Whitey Wistert

Francis Michael "Whitey" Wistert (February 20, 1912 – April 23, 1985) was an American football and baseball player. He played college football and college baseball at the University of Michigan. Wistert was the first of the three Wistert brothers—he was succeeded by Albert (Al) and Alvin—who were named All-American tackles at Michigan and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967. During his time at Michigan, Wistert played on three consecutive Big Ten Conference football championships teams, including two that won back-to-back national championships. He was also Big Ten Conference MVP in baseball in college and later played for Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds. The Wistert brothers all wore jersey No. 11 at Michigan and are among the seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program. Their number will be put back into circulation starting on November 10, 2012 before a Michigan home game against Northwestern as part of the Michigan Football Legend program.

Wistert

Wistert may refer to any of the three Wistert brothers who played college football at the University of Michigan:

Al Wistert (1920–2016), 1942 All-American, 1968 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Philadelphia Eagle player

Alvin Wistert (1916–2005), 1948 and 1949 All-American, 1981 College Football Hall of Fame inductee

Whitey Wistert (1912–1985), 1933 All-American, 1967 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, 1934 Big Ten Baseball MVP, Cincinnati Reds player

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