Regular visitors of Notinhalloffame.com know that we are slowly working on the top 50 of every major team in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB. Once that is done, we intend to look at how each team honor their past players, coaches and executives. Eventually, we plan to do that for the major colleges in the NCAA. As such, it is news to us that the Washington Redskins will retired the number #49 of Bobby Mitchell, the team’s first black player.
The timing comes one day after the statue of former Redskins’ owner, George Preston Marshall, who owned the franchise from 1932, until he passed away in 1969. Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his team, and only did so under immense pressure from the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, who threatened that he would pull the lease on RFK Stadium, which was on federal land.
Mitchell arrived in Washington via a trade from the Cleveland Browns, where he played for four seasons. The Flanker played for the Redskins until he retired in 1968, and with the team, he was a three-time Pro Bowl Selection, and he led the NFL in Rushing Yards his first two seasons. Mitchell’s overall production for Washington was 8,162 All-Purpose Yards with 53 Touchdowns.
After Mitchell retired as a player, he remained with the Redskins in a front office capacity, and would overall spend 41 years with the organization.
He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, and he is a member of both the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins Ring of Honor.
Mitchell passed earlier this year at the age of 84.
The retirement of Mitchell’s #49 marks only the second time that the Redskins retired a number, the first being Sammy Baugh’s #33.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like congratulate the family of Bobby Mitchell at this time, and again reiterate that this should have happened earlier.