Loeb, Al : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Loeb, Al

Albert Lorch Loeb

Loeb was an outstanding center in the 1910s, and is best remembered for the 1912 Tech-Alabama game. The enormous Tide team was heavily favored, but Loeb gave a rousing pep talk to the Georgia Tech team before the game. His coach, the legendary John Heisman, said, "I think Loeb's speech did it. I've never seen madder playing than Al Loeb did that day and inspired by him, we won." Loeb broke three fingers during the game, but had the doctor tape them up and returned to the fray to lead Tech to a 20-3 victory.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 11, 1890 - d. October 13, 1987

Career Highlights:
Loeb played on Georgia Tech's freshman football team in 1908. The following year, he was a sub for the varsity and a regular player from 1910-1913; he was named alternate captain in 1913. During Loeb's four-year career, Tech had a combined record of 23-10-2 under coach John Heisman. Loeb generally gave away between 40-50 pounds to his opponents and said of Tech's glorious underdog victory over heavily favored Alabama in 1912: "They outweighed us by about 30 pounds per man. They were supposed to write their own score. We licked 'em 20-3. 'Tis said I didn't miss a tackle all day. And there were plenty of 'em made. I broke three fingers but had our doctor, 'Quack' Jackson tape 'em together. I finished the game. Also, coach John Heisman had a heavy shift that left me on the end so I was eligible as a pass receiver. I caught a couple, too...I was also called upon to do a bit of blocking. We ran series plays, three or four consecutively. We had no huddle -- just lined up, and without a signal we were gone. It seemed just a bit speedier than at present."

Loeb said there was relatively little anti-Semitism directed towards him, but noted, "At Georgia Tech...absolutely and utterly none. It would crop up at times in games but didn't last long. Furthermore, I was too busy playing ball. Only one incident stands out. Georgia had a center against whom I'd played in previous years. He finished school and returned only with the avowed intention of 'getting that Jew.' He had a bad reputation...and he was rough. His father, one of our enlightened legislators, attended the game and it is reported that he bet $50 -- that was a lot of money in 1913 -- that Loeb wouldn't finish the game...it worked the other way. The legislator's son failed to line up for the second half. I finished the game...just at the kickoff this little Yiddle was standing in the center's place towards the middle of the field and I didn't feel too easy. In fact, I remembered my Shema just about that time. It must have helped. I have always been, if not extremely ritualistic, a sincere Jew. In fact, I think at that at times, under the goading of opponents. I kept my head and played over it. Hence, as some of the old-timers stated, I was called 'Der Yiddisher Vild-Kat.'" Loeb is a member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.

Atlanta, Georgia

Career Dates:
Played center for Georgia Tech from 1910-1913.

Physical description:
5'7", 156 pounds

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)