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George “Mickey” Murtagh

Sport: Football

Born: April 8, 1904

Died: February 10, 1993

Town: Jersey City

George Augustus Murtagh was born April 8, 1904 in Jersey City. Nicknamed Mickey as a boy, he excelled in a number of sports, including baseball and football. He attended St. Peter’s Prep, where he starred for the Marauders as a baseball catcher and football end in the early 1920s. Mickey was a six-footer with great quickness and agility. He could play any position on the field, but was best as an undersized lineman.

In 1922, Mickey was admitted to Georgetown University and made the varsity a year later. Mickey was part of a squad that included Jack Hagerty, Claude Grigsby and Babe Connaughton, Mickey’s hulking linemate—three of the top players in the region. Lou Metzger, Ching Hammill, Fred Sheehan and Gene and Tom Golsen were also key players. In 1924, Lou Little became the Hoyas’ coach. He tightened up the defense and in 8 games the team gave up a mere 39 points. Mickey, a junior, was a crucial player on both sides of the line. Unfortunately, the offense lacked scoring punch and Georgetown finished the year a lackluster 4–4.

The story was different in 1925. The Hoyas blew out Drexel, Detroit and Lehigh by a combined score of 89–0. These were not national powers, so Georgetown’s November game against undefeated Fordham at the Polo Grounds in New York was seen as the true test of their talent. The Rams had surrendered a mere 12 points t that time and were heavy favorites. Mickey and his teammates shocked the crowd with a 27–0 victory. Georgetown’s only loss in 10 games during 1925 was to Bucknell, by a score of 3–2, in a rain-soaked defensive battle.

After graduation, Mickey decided to give pro ball a try. The NFL had expanded east in 1925, establishing a team in New York owned by Tim Mara, a wealthy sportsman (aka professional gambler). Mickey and Jack Hagerty


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