: This is a team photograph of the Oorang Tribe football team with Jim Thorpe in the second row center, October 27, 1922. The team, a National Football League franchise, was sponsored and managed by Airedale terrier breeder Walter Lingo. All of the players were Native American. They were based in LaRue, Ohio, the location of Lingo's kennels. Thorpe served as the team coach and a celebrity spokesperson for Oorang Airedales, and played a few games. The team played two disappointing seasons in the NFL during the years 1922 and 1923. In 1922 their record was 5 wins and 8 losses; in 1923, 2 wins and 10 losses. Jim (James Francis) Thorpe was born in 1888 in Oklahoma to Hiram P. and Charlotte Thorpe. Both Hiram and Charlotte were of European and American Indian heritage and Jim was raised in the Sac and Fox tribes. In 1904 he was sent to a boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for American Indian children. While at Carlisle he played multiple sports, including football, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and track. He left Carlisle in 1909 and 1910 to play professional baseball with teams in Eastern Carolina League in North Carolina. He returned to Carlisle in 1911 for two successful football seasons. In both 1911 and 1912 he was an All-American halfback for football. In 1912 he became the only person to win gold medals in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. His Olympic celebrity propelled him a three year contract playing professional baseball for the New York Giants. He also played baseball with the Boston Braves and Cincinnati Reds. However, it was as a professional football player that Thorpe was more successful and strongly tied to Ohio. He was associated with four professional or semi-professional football teams in Ohio as a player and coach: the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Tigers, the Oorang Indians based in LaRue, and the Portsmouth Shoe-Steels. His greatest success was with the Canton Bulldogs, which he led to win national championships in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1919. From 1922-1923 he was a player and coach for the Oorang Indians, a National Football League team comprised of all native players. The majority of the Oorang Indians team members, like Thorpe, had played at Carlisle. The team owner, Robert Lingo, used the team and Thorpes celebrity to advertise his Oorang Kennels Company, particularly his Airedale terriers. Thorpe played another season with the Bulldogs in 1926 and then went to Portsmouth as a player-coach for the semi-professional Portsmouth Shoe-Steels in 1927. This was Thorpes last athletic job. During the 1930s and 1940s he worked a variety of jobs until he died of a heart attack in 1953.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL07881 Subjects
: Thorpe, Jim, 1887-1953; Cultural Ohio--Ohio Sports; Football players; Football--Ohio--History; Sports teams Places
: LaRue (Ohio); Marion County (Ohio)