Frank Kinard Brooklyn-New York Yankees (AAFC) & New York Yankees (AAFC)
"We didn’t have enough players for someone to be taking a vacation in mid-season…everyone who played back then showed up for every game. If you got hurt too bad to play, you retired.”
Today it is unlikely that a pro football lineman named "Bruiser" would weigh a mere 195 pounds. However, in 1938, when Hall of Fame tackle Frank “Bruiser” Kinard began his pro career, that’s exactly how much he weighed. Even in his final season, and still playing the big man's position of tackle, he tipped the scales at just 216 pounds. But his play was as his name implies – bruising.
Kinard earned a host of accolades during the nine years he played pro football, including All-NFL recognition from 1938 through 1944 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers team. In 1946, after a one-year hiatus due to military service, Bruiser returned to pro football as a member of the New York Yankees of the newly formed All-America Football Conference. That same year, he became the first pro football player to earn All-League honors in both leagues.
Kinard was a two-time All-America at the University of Mississippi when he was drafted in the third round by the Dodgers in 1938. It was a year abounding with outstanding rookies but only two, Kinard and Byron "Whizzer' White, made the All-NFL team. Kinard had a burning desire to play and he played for keeps.
He had outstanding speed for a tackle and his admirers, of whom there were many, insist that he would have been outstanding at any position. On offensive plays, and particularly the Dodgers’ patented “shovel pass,” Kinard was the key blocker. On defense, he was a crushing tackler.
The Bruiser was tough and durable even in the rough-and-tumble competition of pro football. He rarely needed a rest and near-60-minute performances were the rule, rather than the exception. He missed just one game due to injury and, even then, it was doctor's orders, not a lack of willingness to play that kept Bruiser on the sideline.