Seidelson, Harry "Red" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Seidelson, Harry "Red"

Pinicus Hersch Seidelson

Seidelson was a lineman at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1920s, and later played professionally in the NFL. Known as "Doc" (he became a dentist), "Red" (because of the color of his hair), and "Pinc" (because his given name was Pincus), Seidelson changed his name to Harry when he obtained his American citizenship.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Seidelson was a two-sport star in high school (football, baseball), and was also an exceptional boxer and street fighter. According to his grandson, Mark Seidelson, Harry lived in the notorious "Hill District" neighborhood and was occasionally picked up by the second-district police station as extra "insurance" if the police anticipated any sticky situations.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. August 13, 1901 - d. July 4, 1986

Career Highlights:
Seidelson was a fantastic lineman for the legendary Pop Warner at Pitt in the early 1920s. He played during Warner's final three seasons at Pitt (Pop moved to Stanford in 1924), and was a member of the 1923 team that took a train cross-country to play in California (which may have been Warner's audition for the Stanford job). In Warner's textbook on football, the illustration of the perfect lineman's stance is a sketch of Seidelson!

After graduating from Pittsburgh, Harry joined the Toronto (Ohio) team in 1924. He then jumped mid-season to play for the Frankford Yellow Jackets of the NFL. In 1925, his first full season with Frankford, Seidelson played over 40 games (!), although not all of them were in the NFL. At this time, NFL teams still played exhibitions against other professional teams that were unaffiliated with any league. Harry appeared in an exhausting five contests around Thanksgiving; he played games on the Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving, then played on Thanksgiving Day and played in another two matches on the following Saturday and Sunday.

What made Seidelson's career even more incredible was that he was a practicing dentist at the time. In fact, he had a special agreement with Frankford because his home and practice were in Pittsburgh but the Yellow Jackets were located near Philadelphia, on the other side of the state. Harry would practice dentistry Monday through Thursday, board a train Thursday evening, practice with Frankford Friday, play two games on the weekend, then board a train Sunday night to return to Pittsburgh.

During that 1925 season, he played guard and tackle for the Frankford Yellow Jackets who finished 13-7-0, sixth in the NFL. That year, baseball owner Barney Dreyfuss asked Harry to play in an exhibition game against the Chicago Bears, the best team in the NFL. Dreyfuss was testing the waters for an NFL franchise in Pittsburgh so he assembled the "Pittsburgh All-Stars" for the occasion. Seidelson and the rest of the All-Stars were offered $300 if they beat the Bears, which they did, as Chicago's great Red Grange was injured and Pittsburgh won, 24-0.

In 1926, Harry continued to practice dentistry and played his final season of professional football -- for the Akron Indians (1-4-3) in the NFL. Harry retired after the 1926 season, having played in 17 career NFL games.


Career Dates:
Seidelson played guard at the University of Pittsburgh from 1921-1923. He then played guard and tackle in the NFL with the Frankford Yellow Jackets in 1924-25, and with the Akron Indians in 1926.

Physical description:
6'1", 202 pounds

Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.

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The Encyclopedia of Football, by Roger Treat (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1976 -- 14th Edition)
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)