CLEVELAND BULLDOGS - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The CLEVELAND BULLDOGS, a professional football team in Cleveland in 1924-25, was one of several attempts to establish the pro sport in the city. The major force behind the Bulldogs was SAMUEL H. DEUTSCH†, a jeweler who became president of his father's firm, Rudolph Deutsch & Co. Deutsch obtained the National Football League franchise in July 1923 for the Cleveland Indians, which finished 5th in the 20-team league that year. On 3 Aug. 1924, Deutsch paid $2,500 for the Canton Bulldogs, a team that had won the championship in 1922 and 1923 but also had lost $13,000 in 1923. Deutsch combined the best players from the 1923 Indians with the best of the Bulldogs to create the 1924 Cleveland Bulldogs. Coached by Guy Chamberlin, the Bulldogs finished 1st in the league with 7 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie, playing their home games at Dunn Field (LEAGUE PARK). A dispute with the Chicago Bears arose over who was league champion, and a league ruling declared Cleveland the champions.
The Cleveland NFL franchise was transferred to Herb Brandt of the Brandt food company in August 1925, but the team fared poorly on the field and at the bank, and by mid-November the organization was nearly bankrupt. The Bulldogs returned in 1927, and Deutsch, along with fellow investors MAX ROSENBLUM†, Herb Brandt, Harold Gould, and Clinton C. Winfrey, built the new Bulldogs around native Clevelander BENJAMIN (BENNY) FRIEDMAN†, a star quarterback at Michigan. To complete the team, the owners bought the 1926 Kansas City Cowboys, but the restructured Bulldogs finished 4th in the league and were no more prosperous than their predecessors in 1927. Deutsch probably sold the team to Elliott Fisher, owner of the Detroit Wolverines, since the 1928 Wolverines roster included 12 former Bulldogs, 8 of whom became New York Giants when Fisher sold the Wolverines to Tim Mara in 1929.Last Modified: 11 Jul 1997 04:04:59 PM
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