Senior Citizen Day at HOF

General Published on : 9/24/2003

Sam Dana, NFL's oldest alumni visits Hall of Fame for Senior Citizen Day

Sam Dana posed next to the Jim Thorpe statue
Sam Dana, a former back with pro football’s 1928 New York Yankees, visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame today.  Appropriately enough, Sam’s visit coincided with the Hall’s Senior Citizen’s Day celebration.  At 100 years of age, Sam is the oldest living former NFL player.Although this is Sam’s first visit to the Hall, his son Bob has been corresponding with the Hall since this past spring, when he decided it was time to set the record straight.  Dana, who was known as Sam Salemi during his playing days is listed in Total Football, the NFL’s Official Encyclopedia, as having died in 1969. 
After learning the facts, the Hall of Fame quickly spread the word to the surprised but pleased pro football world.  Since then, Sam has been visited by NFL Films, been the guest of the Buffalo Bills at their training facility, recognized by the NFL Players Association, and interviewed by numerous media outlets, including Sports Illustrated and USA Today. 
Sam Dana is flanked by the Hall's Executive Director John Bankert (right) and Joe Horrigan, VP-Communications/Exhibits
A resident of Kenmore, New York, a Buffalo suburb, Sam attended both Canisius College and Columbia University, where in 1922, he played football with Lou Gehrig.  Two of Sam’s teammates with the 1928 football Yankees, were future Hall of Famers Ray Flaherty and Mike Michalske.  
Dana was at the Hall for most of the day during which time he shared his memories with Hall of Fame visitors and signed autographs.

As a part of the Senior Citizens Day celebration the Hall also offered:

  •  Extended hours of operation by opening at 7 a.m.
  •  Free admission to senior citizens, 62 and older.  

    Children and/or adults accompanied by a senior citizen received a special 20 percent discount off the normal admission rates as well. 
  •   Johnnie’s Bakery of Canton provided free cake and coffee
  •   The first 500 seniors through the turnstile received a Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary commemorative coffee mug. 
  •  Additionally, senior citizens received a 15 percent discount on most items in the Hall’s Museum Store. 
  • Also, Dr. Charles Wallace, MD, was at the Hall of Fame from 9 a.m. until 12 noon attending a free blood pressure screening offered by AstraZeneca.