Backyard Gridiron, 1938

Editor’s Note: The members of this photo have been identified! We received the following response from a loyal Mobile Bay reader.

In reply to your query about the “Backyard Gridiron” photo in your October issue, I am the the snaggle-tooth kid in the center. The missing teeth indicate that I was six years old which dates it in 1938. We were in our front yard on Hillwood Road in Spring Hill. From left to right, the kids are: Richard Lester (7), myself (6), my brother Blake (9), Jack Cummings (7), and Jack Friend (9).

Thank you very much for using some of my Dad’s pictures in Mobile Bay. – R. S. “Bobby” McNeely


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In 1939, John T. Riddell introduced the first plastic helmet, and, while invented for football, the U.S. government saw the helmets as a benefit for soldiers fighting in World War II. It wasn’t until 1943, however, that helmets became a mandatory piece of football equipment.

S. Blake McNeely Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama • Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited

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