The only man to be elected to the baseball, college football, and pro football halls
of fame, Hubbard was a huge man, 6'3" and 250 lbs. At little Centenary and Geneva
colleges, he won nationwide fame as a bone-crushing tackle. In his
career, he played end and linebacker in addition to tackle for the 1927 champion
New York Giants and the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers champions. He was named at tackle
on the first three official All-NFL teams, 1931-33.
He began umpiring minor league
games during the summers while he was playing pro football, and the year after he
retired from the gridiron, he became an AL umpire. In 1944, Hubbard gained notoriety
as the first umpire to eject a pitcher (the Browns' Nels Potter) for throwing a spitball.
Hubbard's imposing size and keen eyesight made him one of the best at his trade.
He was once examined at the Boston Optical Lab and was found to have 20-10 vision,
the strongest ever recorded - even better than Ted Williams.
Ironically, a hunting
accident in 1951 affected the sight in his left eye and led to his retirement from
the field. He served as supervisor of AL umpires for 15 years. He was elected to
the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, the year before his death.
»July 27, 1947:
Jake Jones of the Red Sox hits a foul ball along the 3B line in the sixth. Browns P Fred Sanford throws his glove at the ball to prevent it from rolling into fair territory. Umpire Cal Hubbard awards Jones a triple on the basis of the rule about intentionally thrown gloves. In 1954 the rule is changed so that it only applies to fair balls.
»November 26, 1961: The Professional Baseball Rules Committee votes 8-1 against legalizing the spitball. Only National League supervisor of umpires Cal Hubbard votes in favor.
»February 2, 1976: The Special Veterans Committee selects old-time players Roger Connor and Fred Lindstrom, and umpire Cal Hubbard, for Cooperstown. Hubbard becomes the first man elected to both the Football and Baseball Halls of Fame.