FRANK GATSKI

FRANK GATSKI

Class of 1985
Center >>> 6-3, 233
(Marshall, Auburn)
1946-1956 Cleveland Browns (AAFC/NFL), 1957 Detroit Lions

Frank Gatski. . Anchored powerful offensive line during Browns' dominant years in AAFC, NFL. . .Strong, consistent, exceptional pass blocker who never missed a game or practice in high school, college or pro football. . . Played in 11 championship games in 12 years with his teams winning eight times. . .Played as linebacker early in career. . .All-NFL four years. . .Played in 1956 Pro Bowl. . .Born March 18, 1919, in Farmington, West Virginia. . .Died November 22, 2005, at age of 86.

During the period the Cleveland Browns were dominating first the All-America Football Conference from 1946 to 1949 and then the National Football League in the early 1950s, Frank Gatski anchored the offensive line that powered pro football's most potent attack. He concluded his 11-year tenure with the Browns in 1956 and then was traded to the Detroit Lions for a final season in 1957.

The 6-3, 233-pound Gatski, who played three years at Marshall College before joining the U.S. Infantry in World War II, had to survive a grueling training camp tryout to earn a spot on the 1946 Browns roster. Then he had to serve a two-year apprenticeship behind the veteran Mo Scarry before Frank took over the regular center job for good in 1948.

Strong, consistent, blessed with a great attitude and exceptional pass blocking abilities, Frank was also durable. He never missed a game or a practice in high school, college or the pros. He was named to the All-NFL honor roll in 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1955 and played as a starting center in the 1956 Pro Bowl. Perhaps because he played at a comparatively obscure position, Gatski was relatively unsung through most of his career. Many of his more publicized teammates on both the Browns and the Lions preceded him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, Frank can claim one signal distinction – he played in 11 championship games in 12 seasons with his team winning eight times.

During his tenure, the Browns won all four AAFC championships and were in the title game their first six years in the NFL. The Browns missed the playoffs in 1956 but Frank earned his eighth championship ring in 1957, when the Lions overwhelmed his old team, 59-14, in Gatski's final game in the NFL.

Year
Team
G
1946 Cleveland (AAFC)
10
1947 Cleveland (AAFC)
12
1948 Cleveland (AAFC)
14
1949 Cleveland (AAFC)
12
1950 Cleveland
12
1951 Cleveland
12
1952 Cleveland
12
1953 Cleveland
12
1954 Cleveland
12
1955 Cleveland
12
1956 Cleveland
12
1957 Detroit
12
AAFC Total
48
NFL Total
96
Career Total
144
Full Name: Frank Gatski

Birthdate: March 18, 1919

Birthplace: Farmington, West Virginia

Died: November 22, 2005

High School:
Farmington (W.Va.)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame:
January 19, 1985

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 3, 1985

Presenter: Abe Gibron, Former Browns teammate

Other Members of Class of 1985: Joe Namath, Pete Rozelle, O.J. Simpson, Roger Staubach

Pro Career: 12 seasons, 144 games

Drafted: Signed as a rookie free agent by the Cleveland Browns

Uniform Number: 22, 52

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