WMFD TV

Search Archive WMFD.com News

www.wmfd.com - The first pro football player to earn a paycheck somehow gets lost in sports history. }}" />

   
 
 
The Forgotten Football Star

Story By: Brian Skowronski

 

 

 
 
 
  Email Story to Friend
   
  Original Published: 2/27/2014

Ground breaking legends like Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson that helped pave the way for African-American athletes in the United States will be forever cemented in sports history. But in our nations most popular sport of professional football, the first black player to ever receive a paycheck is often overlooked.

Charles "The Black Cyclone" Follis signed a contract with the Shelby Blues in 1902 after the team competed against his amateur Wooster squad and decided Follis needed to play for them after an impressive performance.

Follis also played catcher for the college of Wooster baseball team and would later sign a deal with the Cuban Giants, also becoming the first collegiate catcher to play in the negro leagues.

Follis would have his football career ended short due to injury and would pass away from pneumonia at just 31-years-old. Perhaps it was his short life-span or abruptly ended athletic careers, but Follis is also known as "The Forgotten Player", as he is seldom mentioned in history with greats like Robinson or Owens.

James Cosby of the Cosby Educational Heritage Center says that he has actually read articles that suggest Follis was the first paid football player of any color. Cosby also says that Follis should be admired for his perseverance both on the athletic field and in the classroom, giving African- Americans at that time something to strive for.

Cosby offers tours at the Heritage Center which includes artifacts from African- American history, including articles on Follis. Cosby can be reached to schedule an appointment at 419-755-8834.

   
  MORE RECENT NEWS
 
Image1 Standing room only at Lexington School's Board of Education meeting Wednesday night. Full Story
Image1 Some 133 area employers were saluted during the 26th Annual Employer Recognition Breakfast sponsored by Richland Newhope Industries Thursday at the Holiday Inn in downtown Mansfield. Full Story
 
Image1 A federal lawmaker visits an area hospital to see how well it's prepared, should an Ebola virus patient be brought in. Full Story
Image1 Richland Newhope Superintendent Elizabeth “Liz” Prather has been named the interim superintendent for the Crawford County Board of Developmental Disabilities, effective Oct. 23. Full Story
  MORE NEWS
 

Newhope superintendent named interim Crawford DD leader

Family Life Counseling Opens Office In Shelby

Benefit will be held for woman in need of lung transplant

Man Arrested After Crashing Stolen Pick-Up Truck

Crawford County United Way Launches 211 Call Service

Two Mansfield Women Indicted On Meth Manufacturing Charges

Mansfield Preschool Ratings and Springmill Learning Center

Mansfield Woman Indicted In Fatal Collision With Motorcycle

Charges Filed, Bond Set, In Fatal Crawford County Accident

United Way Director Taking Campaign Message To Contributors

Galion Community Hospital donation helps police department

More News