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September 6, 1918: Reporting for Football Duty
The story posted on August 14th told of the 500 men who tried out for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station football team of 1918. Practice began on August 8th and four hundred men worked for several weeks before learning they were not among the 104 who made the first cut. Those who made the cut were invited back to practice on September 5th. Those who did not make cut included many college players that formed the core of Great Lakes' regimental football teams that played one another during the fall of 1918. Several regimental teams were good enough to schedule and beat college and service teams from other camps during the season.
As noted in the previous story, a few that did not participate in the early practices joined the team over the coming weeks, including three key team members that joined the Great Lakes football team 100 years ago today. George Halas and Paddy Driscoll were members of the Great Lakes baseball team. The conclusion of the baseball season allowed them to shift their attention to football.
The other new team member was Charlie Bachman, who had been involved in training that conflicted with football practice. Bachman, a former Notre Dame lineman, was named to Walter Camp’s Second Team All-America in 1916 and would prove to be among the headiest players on the 1918 Great Lakes team.
The three new team members that joined the Great Lakes team one hundred years ago today spent most of their lives involved in football. George Halas became a player, coach, and owner of the Chicago Bears, while Paddy Driscoll was among the highest-paid players in the early NFL and later coached the Bears to an NFL championship. Both were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bachman, on the other hand, was a college head coach for twenty-eight years and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. That’s a pretty good haul of talent to join a team on one day.
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