Dan Fortmann

Daniel John Fortmann (April 11, 1916 – May 23, 1995) was an American football player, coach, and team doctor. He played college football at Colgate University. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago Bears as a guard from 1936 to 1943. He was selected as an All-Pro for seven consecutive years from 1937 to 1943. He was the Bears' team captain starting in 1940 and led the team to NFL championships in 1940, 1941, and 1943.

Fortmann was the line coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team in 1944 and in 1945 served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. He engaged in a medical practice in Southern California from 1946 to 1984 and was the team physician for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 to 1963. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1983.

Dan Fortmann
Dan Fortmann
No. 21
Position:Guard
Personal information
Born:April 11, 1916
Pearl River, New York
Died:May 23, 1995 (aged 79)
Los Alamitos, California
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Pearl River (NY)
College:Colgate
NFL Draft:1936 / Round: 9 / Pick: 78
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Fortmann was born in 1916 in Pearl River, New York.[1] His father, Bernhard Gerhart Fortmann, was a New York native and salesman of butter and eggs. His mother, Emma Margaret Doscher, was also a New York native.[2]

Fortmann attended Pearl River High School where he earned 12 varsity letters in sports and was the valedictorian of his class.[3][4]

Colgate

At age 16, Fortmann enrolled at Colgate University where he played football, playing as a halfback as a freshman before moving to guard and becoming a starter in 1934 and 1935.[3][5] Colgate football coach Andrew Kerr called Fortmann "the best player I ever handled."[4] After the 1935 season, he was selected to play in multiple all-star games, including the East–West Shrine Game (January 1, 1937) and the Chicago College All-Star Game (September 1, 1937).[4] Dick Hanley, who coached Fortmann in the Shrine Game, praised Fortmann as a great blocker and urged Chicago Bears owner George Halas to sign Fortmann.[5]

In addition to playing football, Fortmann was also an outstanding student at Colgate. He received straight A's as a pre-med student and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors at age 19.[4] He was also president of his senior class and a member of the Delta Epsilon fraternity.[5]

Professional football

At age 19, Fortmann was selected by the Chicago Bears in the ninth and final round (78th overall pick) of the 1936 NFL Draft.[1] After being drafted by the Bears, Fortmann was unsure whether he should attend medical school or play professional football. Bears owner George Halas persuaded Fortmann that he could do both and advanced funds to Fortmann for medical school.[5][6] After speaking with Halas, Fortmann signed with the Bears in May 1936. At the time, he was the youngest person ever signed by an NFL team.[5]

Due to his medical school obligations, Fortmann missed most of the Bears' sessions in his first four years with the team.[4] In 1941, during his medical internship, he described pro football as "just the means to an end", the end being practicing medicine as a surgeon.[7] Yet, Fortmann became fiercely loyal to Halas, saying: "Halas is the salt of the earth. There is nobody I admire and respect more than him."[8]

Fortmann remained with the Bears for his entire professional football career, lasting for eight years from 1936 to 1943. He appeared in 86 games for the Bears. By 1939, Fortmann had established himself as one of the best most valuable players in the NFL. In voting by NFL coaches for the 1939 All-Pro Team, Fortmann received 37 points, the second highest individual vote of any player.[9]

Fortmann was team captain of the Bears starting in 1940. As team captain, he led the Bears to back-to-back NFL championships in 1940 and 1941 with records of 8–3 and 10–1. After the 1940 season, Fortmann was rated as the best lineman in the NFL. The United Press called him "the heart and soul" of the Bears' ground attack that "rolled up a vast amount of yardage overland."[10]

In the 1940 NFL Championship Game, the Bears defeated the Washington Redskins by a 73-0 score. Fortman later cited the 1940 championship game as proof of Halas' skill as a "master of psychology."[8] The Bears had lost to the Redskins three weeks earlier, and Fortmann recalled that Halas kept reminding the Bears of that defeat every day, and when the team took the field for the championship game, "they were keyed the highest emotionally I ever saw them."[8]

In August 1942, quarterback Bob Snyder called Fortmann "a perfect football player" and "the most important man on the Bear squad."[11] The 1942 Bears compiled a perfect 11–0 record in the regular season and won the Western Division championship, but lost to the Washington Redskins in the 1942 NFL Championship Game.

Fortmann announced his retirement from the NFL in January 1943,[12] but was persuaded to return for the 1943 season. He continued to practice medicine at Pittsburgh's Presbyterian Hospital during the 1943 season, flying in on Saturdays to play with the Bears on Sundays.[13][14] The 1943 Bears compiled an 8–1–1 record and defeated the Washington Redskins in the 1943 NFL Championship Game, which proved to be Fortmann's last game as an NFL player. He announced his retirement five days after the championship game.[15]

Honors and awards

Fortmann received numerous honors and awards during and after his football career, including the following:

  • Fortmann received All-Pro honors during each of his eight years in the NFL. He received second-team honors as a rookie in 1936 and first-team honors in 1937 (New York Daily News), 1938 (NFL, UP, Collyer's Eye, Pro Football Writers, INS), 1939 (NFL, UP, Collyer's Eye, Pro Football Writers, INS, New York Daily News), 1940 (AP, UP, NFL, Collyer's Eye, INS, New York Daily News), 1941 (AP, UP, NFL, Collyer's Eye, New York Daily News), 1942 (AP, NFL, INS, New York Daily News), and 1943 (AP, UP, Pro Football Illustrated, New York Daily News).[1]
  • In 1965, Fortmann was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Hall's third class of inductees.[8] His Hall of Fame biography states: "On offense, he called signals for the linemen and was a battering-ram blocker. On defense, he was a genius at diagnosing enemy plays and a deadly tackler."[16]
  • In 1969, Fortmann was named to the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.[17]
  • In 1978, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[18]
  • In 1986, he received the NFL Alumni Career Achievement Award.[19]

Later years and family

Fortmann was married to Mary Van Halteren in a ceremony at East Lansing, Michigan, on March 19, 1938.[20][21] They had two sons, Thomas and Stephen.[3]

Fortmann enrolled at Rush Medical School at the University of Chicago where he studied medicine while playing for the Bears. He obtained his medical degree in 1940. He interned at Harper Hospital in Detroit and completed his surgical training at the University of Pittsburgh.[4][7]

In the fall of 1944, he served as the line coach for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team.[22]

In February 1945, Fortmann was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.[23] In April 1945, he was assigned to an attack transport ship in the South Pacific.[22] He served in the Navy Medical Corps on a hospital ship in the Pacific theater.[4]

In 1946, Fortmann was licensed to practice medicine in California and began practicing on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.[4][24][25][26] He worked as a surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California, from 1948 until 1984. He became the hospital's chief of staff in 1965. He also served as the team physician for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 to 1963. Fortmann and his family in Toluca Lake and/or Burbank until 1974 when they moved to Pasadena.[4][27]

Fortmann was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1983 and, in 1988, began living at the John Douglas French Center, a facility in Los Alamitos, California, specializing in the care of Alzheimer's patients. He died at French Center in May 1995 at age 79.[27][3]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Danny Fortmann Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Census entry for Bernhard Fortmann and family. Son Daniel, born in New York, age 4-1/2. Census Place: Orangetown, Rockland, New York; Roll: T625_1258; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 219; Image: 922. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  3. ^ a b c d "Obituary". Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1995. p. A31 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Art Hopper (January 22, 1965). "Pearl River's Finest, Dan Fortmann, Hall of Famer". The Rockland County Journal-News. p. 21 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. ^ a b c d e "Fortmann, Star Colgate Guard, Signed By Bears". Chicago Daily Tribune. May 22, 1936. p. 33 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ Stanley Grosshandler (1970). "Pro Football's Doctor Alumni" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Pro Football Researchers. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2012.
  7. ^ a b John N. Sabo (January 30, 1941). "An Ambition That Wouldn't Be Lost: Fame and adulation have failed to make Danny Fortmann forget that, above all, he wants to be a surgeon". Detroit Free Press. p. 13 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ a b c d "Hall of Famers diagnosis: Hutson the Best -- Dr. Fortmann". Los Angeles Times. January 24, 1965. p. C7 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  9. ^ "Four Giants Win Honors". Los Angeles Times. December 15, 1939. p. II-13 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  10. ^ "Fortmann, Baugh Top Pro All-Star: Named Outstanding Among Linemen And Backs". The Pittsburgh Press. December 3, 1940. p. 28 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  11. ^ Edward Prell (August 25, 1942). "Fortmann, Musso to Lead Bears for 3d Straight Year". Chicago Tribune. pp. 17–18 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  12. ^ "Danny Fortmann To Assist Shaughnessy At Pitt". The Pittsburgh Press. January 31, 1943. p. 2-1 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  13. ^ "Fortmann Will Operate Sunday in Farewell to Pro Grid". Detroit Free Press. December 23, 1943. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ Jack Sell (December 30, 1943). "Dr. Fortmann Starred For Bears Sans Drills". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. 11, 13 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ "Danny Fortmann To Quit Football". Arizona Republic. January 1, 1944. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  16. ^ "Dan Fortmann Bio". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  17. ^ "All-1930's NFL Team Selected". The Baltimore Sun. August 27, 1969. p. C5 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  18. ^ "Danny Fortmann Member Biography". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  19. ^ "NFL Alumni surprise Cosell with honor". News/Sun Sentinel. March 22, 1986. p. 10C.
  20. ^ "Miss Mary VanHalteren Becomes Bride of Chicagoan in Ceremony Here". Lansing State Journal. March 20, 1938. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  21. ^ Marriage License issued to Daniel J. Fortmann and Mary A. Van Halteren. Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line].
  22. ^ a b "Dan Fortmann Is on Duty With Navy in the Pacific". The Journal News. April 17, 1945. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  23. ^ "Dr. Danny Fortmann Commissioned By Navy". The Daily Republican. February 28, 1945. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  24. ^ Daniel John Fortmann licensed in September 1946. California State Archives; Sacramento, California; Board of Medical Examiners Record of Applications, 1939-1953. Source Information: Ancestry.com.
  25. ^ California State Archives; Sacramento, California; Directory, 1950. Source Information: Ancestry.com. California, Occupational Licenses, Registers, and Directories, 1876-1969 [database on-line].
  26. ^ California, Occupational Licenses, Registers, and Directories, 1876-1969 [database on-line].
  27. ^ a b "Dan Fortmann, 79, Bears guard in the Hall of Fame". Chicago Tribune. May 26, 1995. pp. 2–12 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links

1936 All-Pro Team

The 1936 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1936 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the NFL coaches (NFL), the United Press (UP), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the Chicago Daily News (CDN).Four players were selected for the first team by all four selectors: Detroit Lions quarterback Dutch Clark; Boston Redskins halfback Cliff Battles; Chicago Bears end Bill Hewitt; and Green Bay Packers guard Lon Evans. Three others were selected for the first team by three selectors: Chicago Bears fullback Bronko Nagurski; Boston Redskins tackle Turk Edwards; and New York Giants center Mel Hein.

1936 Chicago Bears season

The 1936 Chicago Bears season was their 17th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 9–3–0 record and finished in second place in the Western Division behind the Green Bay Packers. After week 10, the Bears were tied with the Packers in first place with identical 9–1 records, having split their season series. However, the club swooned at the end of the year, losing their last two games on the road to Detroit and the Cardinals. Green Bay went on to easily defeat the Boston Redskins and win the NFL title.

1936 NFL Draft

The 1936 National Football League Draft was the first draft of the National Football League (NFL). It took place on February 8, 1936, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The draft was instituted in an effort to end bidding wars among the league's teams by the arbitrary assignment of negotiating rights to amateur players. It was haphazardly decided that the last place team from the previous season would get the first selection, and the process would continue in reverse order of the standings. Under this structure the Philadelphia Eagles, who finished 1935 at 2–9, would select first.This was the only draft to have nine rounds; the number increased to ten for the 1937 draft. The first player ever drafted, Jay Berwanger, who had previously been awarded the initial Heisman Trophy, never played in the NFL. His rights were traded by the Philadelphia Eagles to the Chicago Bears, as the Eagles felt they would be unable to meet Berwanger's reported demand of $1000 per game. The Eagles received tackle Art Buss from the Bears in exchange for Berwanger's rights. George Halas was unable to convince Berwanger to sign with the Bears. Riley Smith, the second pick, was the first player drafted to play in the NFL.

1937 All-Pro Team

The 1937 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1937 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the NFL coaches (NFL), the International News Service (INS), the United Press (UP), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).Four players were selected for the first team by all five selectors: Detroit Lions quarterback Dutch Clark; Green Bay Packers fullback Clarke Hinkle; Washington Redskins tackle Turk Edwards; and Chicago Bears guard George Musso. Three others were named to the first team by four selectors: Washington Redskins Sammy Baugh (NFL, INS, UP, NYDN; selected as a halfback); Chicago Cardinals end Gaynell Tinsley (NFL, UP, CE, NYDN); and Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar (NFL, UP, CE, NYDN). Three more were selected by three selectors: Washington Redskins halfback Cliff Battles (NFL, INS, NYDN); Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson (INS, CE, NYDN); and New York Giants center Mel Hein (NFL, INS, NYDN).

1937 Chicago Bears season

The 1937 Chicago Bears season was their 18th regular season completed in the National Football League. The Bears started the season fast, winning their first five games, three of them on the road. After a tie to the Giants and a loss to the Packers, the Bears finished the season strong, winning their last four games. The club was second in scoring offense, behind Green Bay, and led the league in scoring defense.

1938 All-Pro Team

The 1938 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1938 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the National Professional Football Writers Association (PFW), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).Players displayed in bold were consensus first-team selections. Four players were selected for the first team by all five selectors: New York Giants halfback Ed Danowski; Green Bay Packers fullback Clarke Hinkle; New York Giants tackle Ed Widseth; and Chicago Bears guard Dan Fortmann. Another two were selected for the first team by four selectors: Brooklyn Dodgers quarterback Ace Parker (PFW, UP, INS, NYDN); Pittsburgh Pirates halfback Byron White (PFW, UP, INS, CE); and Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson (PFW, UP, INS, NYDN). Five players were selected for the first team by three selectors: Chicago Cardinals end Gaynell Tinsley (PFW, INS, CE); Philadelphia Eagles end Bill Hewitt (UP, CE, NYDN); Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar (UP, INS, NYDN); Green Bay Packers guard Russ Letlow (PFW, INS, CE); and New York Giants center Mel Hein (UP, INS, NYDN).

1938 Chicago Bears season

The 1938 Chicago Bears season was their 19th regular season completed in the National Football League. They finished third in the Western Division and did not make the championship game. The Bears started the season well, winning 4 of their first 5 games. However, two upset losses to the Cleveland Rams, two losses to the Detroit Lions, and a loss to Green Bay prevented the Bears from competing in the West.

1939 All-Pro Team

The 1939 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1939 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the NFL coaches (NFL), Professional Football Writers Association (PFW), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Collyer's Eye (CE), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).Players displayed in bold were consensus first-team selections. Four players were selected for the first team by all six selectors: Chicago Bears fullback Bill Osmanski; Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson; Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar; and Chicago Bears guard Dan Fortmann.

1939 Chicago Bears season

The 1939 Chicago Bears season was their 20th regular season completed in the National Football League. They finished second in the Western Division with an 8–3 record. The Bears started the season well, winning 4 of their first 5 games. However, two mid-season losses to New York and Detroit cost them the Division to Green Bay. The Packers went on to win the NFL championship.

1940 All-Pro Team

The 1940 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1940 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the so-called "official" All-Pro team selected by 92 sports writers who were members of the Pro Football Writers Association of American (PFW), the sports writers of the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Collyer's Eye (CE), the New York Daily News (NYDN), and the Chicago Herald American.Players displayed in bold were consensus first-team selections. Three players were selected for the first team by all seven selectors: Brooklyn Dodgers quarterback Ace Parker; Brooklyn Dodgers tackle Bruiser Kinard; and Chicago Bears guard Dan Fortmann. Four others were designated for the first team by six selectors: Cleveland Rams fullback Johnny Drake; Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson; Brooklyn Dodgers end Perry Schwartz; and New York Giants center Mel Hein. Another four players were selected by five of seven selectors: Detroit Lions halfback Byron White; Washington Redskins halfback Sammy Baugh; Chicago Bears tackle Joe Stydahar; and New York Giants center Mel Hein.

1941 All-Pro Team

The 1941 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1941 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the so-called "official" All-Pro team selected by a committee of professional football writers for the NFL (NFL), the sports writers of the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), Collyer's Eye (CE), the New York Daily News (NYDN), and the Chicago Herald American.Players displayed in bold were consensus first-team selections. Five players were named to the first team by all six selectors: Green Bay Packers halfback Cecil Isbell; Chicago Bears halfback George McAfee; Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson; Chicago Bears guard Dan Fortmann; and Chicago Bears center Bulldog Turner.

1942 All-Pro Team

The 1942 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1942 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the "official" All-Pro team announced by the NFL and selected by a committee of nine reporters (NFL), the Associated Press (AP), the International News Service (INS), and the New York Daily News (NYDN).

1943 All-Pro Team

The 1943 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players who were chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team for the 1943 football season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), the International News Service (INS), Pro Football Illustrated, the New York Daily News (NYDN), and the Chicago Herald-American (CHA).

Colgate Raiders football

The Colgate Raiders football team represents Colgate University in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) college football competition as a member of the Patriot League.

List of Chicago Bears in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are currently members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and are one of two remaining charter members of NFL. Founded in 1919 by the A.E. Staley Company as the Decatur Staleys and based in Chicago since 1922, the Bears organization has become one of the most successful professional football teams, having won a total of nine professional American football championships—eight NFL Championships and one Super Bowl—second most in the NFL, behind the Green Bay Packers. The franchise has recorded 18 NFL divisional titles, four NFL conference championships, and the most regular season victories of any NFL franchise. In 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was created to honor the history of professional American football and the individuals who have greatly influenced it. Since the charter induction class of 1963, 32 individuals who have played, coached, or held an administrative position for the Bears have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Bears hold the record for the most individuals enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Of the 35 inductees, 28 made their primary contribution to football with the Bears, while the other 7 contributed only a minor portion of their career with the Bears. Of the original 17 individuals inducted in 1963, three spent a majority of their careers with the Chicago Bears. This includes the founder, long time owner, and head coach George Halas, long time halfback and two-way player Bronko Nagurski, and the "Galloping Ghost" Red Grange. The first few years of the Hall of Fame's existence saw 14 Bear players enshrined. Jim Finks was enshrined due to his contributions to the team as a general manager, not a player. Mike Ditka was inducted into the Hall of Fame while serving as the team's head coach. The most recent Bear to be inducted was Brian Urlacher in 2018.

List of Chicago Bears players

The following are lists of past and current players of the Chicago Bears professional American football team.

List of Colgate Raiders in the NFL Draft

This is a list of Colgate Raiders football players in the NFL Draft.

National Football League 1930s All-Decade Team

This is a list of all NFL players who had outstanding performances throughout the 1930s 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.

National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

The National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team was chosen by a selection committee of media and league personnel in 1994 to honor the greatest players of the first 75 years of the National Football League (NFL). Five players on the list were on NFL rosters at the time of the selections: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, Reggie White, and Ronnie Lott. Gale Sayers was named to the team as both a halfback and kickoff returner. Every player is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, except for Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

Dan Fortmann—championships, awards and honors

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