Football’s Field of Dreams
This summer the Pro Football Hall of Fame is opening up its own "Field of Dreams." Historic Fawcett Stadium, home to our annual Enshrinement and the Hall of Fame Game, will now be open for tours for the first time. Guests visiting the Hall of Fame can learn about the stadium and stroll across the field thanks to the help of our wonderful Museum Volunteers and the Canton City School District.
Weather permitting, our Museum Volunteer Docents will be offering scheduled tours every day during the summer. The tours will give guests the opportunity to learn about the history of Fawcett Stadium and walk the field where so many great professional football memories have occurred. More on Fawcett Stadium Tours>>>
Fawcett Stadium, built in 1938, has been the venue for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game since its inception in 1962. It was also home to the Enshrinement from 1963 to 1965. The ceremony was then moved to the Hall's front steps. In 2002, the Enshrinement returned to Fawcett Stadium to handle the increasingly larger crowds. It happened just in time as hordes of Bills fans came from Buffalo and packed into Fawcett for Jim Kelly's enshrinement.
Here's a shot of our first enshrinement that took place on Sept. 7, 1963. We also opened the doors to the Hall of Fame for the first time that day.
Kelly's Enshrinement speech was one of the most moving I've ever heard in my 12 years at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At the end of his speech he tearfully expressed that his true hero was his son Hunter who suffered from the debilitating effects of Krabbe's Disease. Born in 1997 Hunter was five at the time of Jim's induction. The average age of death for the disease is 13 months. Hunter had heroically beaten the odds but unfortunately two years later Hunter had succumbed to the illness. Jim still continues the fight against the disease to this day. Visit huntershope.org>>>
There have been 117 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who either played or coached in a Hall of Fame Game. Alan Page, Len Dawson and Marion Motley played in Fawcett as high schoolers. Motley starred for Canton McKinley High School in the first game ever played in Fawcett Stadium, the Bulldogs home field.
That first game in Fawcett was played on September 17, 1938 before a crowd of nearly 10,000 spectators. The Canton McKinley Bulldogs faced Lehman High School that night and were victorious 48-6. Motley had a spectacular performance as he made the conversion from a lineman the season before to a running back in '38. He ran for four touchdowns and kicked three extra points in Fawcett's debut. He also helped score the first ever touchdown at Fawcett Stadium on a halfback pass to wide receiver Nick Roman. As you may know, Marion went on to help reintegrate professional football in 1946 when he signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Here's a rare shot of what Fawcett looked like a decade after Motley played his high school football there.
Hopefully you will be able to plan a visit to the Hall of Fame this summer. If you do, be sure to take a tour of Fawcett Stadium. Perhaps you'll be able to hear the echoes of the great speeches and the footsteps of the many professional football greats who have walked into Fawcett Stadium in the past.
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