Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard was born on January 27, 1894 in the predominantly white neighborhood of Rogers Park, Chicago, IL. He went to what is now known as Lane Tech (Albert Grannis Lane Manual Training High School) where he played baseball, football, and he ran track. Following, Pollard attended the Ivy League member Brown University, where majored in Chemistry and played halfback on the university football team. He became the first black running back to be named to Walter Camp’s All-America team.
He later played pro football with the Akron Pros, the team he would lead to the NFL (APFA) championship in 1920. The Akron Pros were a professional football team that played in Akron, Ohio, from 1908 to 1926. The team originated in 1908 as a semi-pro team named the Akron Indians, but later became Akron Pros in 1920 as the team set out to become a charter member of the American Professional Football Association. The following year (1921), Frederick became the co-head coach while also playing as the team’s running back. He also played for the Milwaukee Badgers, Hammond Pros, Gilberton Cadamounts, Union Club of Phoenixville and Providence Steam Roller. Pollard, along with all nine of the black players in the NFL at the time, were removed from the league at the end of the 1926 season, never to return again. He spent some time organizing all-black barnstorming teams, including the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928 and the Harlem Brown Bombers in the 1930s, which ended due to The Depression.
Fritz Pollard (along with Bobby Marshall) was of the first black men to play in the Rose Bowl, play professional football (NFL). In 2005, Fritz Pollard was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2015, Pollard was posthumously inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Pollard passed away May 11, 1986 in Silver Spring, Maryland at the age of 92.