Monday, December 31, 2007

Red Grange Busted in Temple Terrace, 1/3/26

On the first weekend of 1926, Harold “Red” Grange would leave his mark on Tampa history in more ways than one. On New Year’s Day, Grange and his Chicago Bears stormed into Tampa’s Plant Field for an exhibition game against Jim Thorpe and the Tampa Cardinals. Grange, nicknamed the “Galloping Ghost,” dazzled a crowd of 7,000 fans with a 70-yard run for a touchdown in a 17-3 triumph over the Cardinals.

His stay in Tampa would also include a stop at the Temple Terrace Country Club on January 3 for an event to kick off the winter golf season. The match featured British Open champ Jim Barnes paired with future U.S. Open winner Johnny Farrell against Gordon Gibbons, the amateur champion of Florida, and Lawrence Sherill, the amateur champion of Tampa. Not surprisingly, Barnes and Farrell won the match with a best-ball score of 69, shooting par or better on 17 of the 18 holes.

Later that day, Grange, Barnes and Farrell would become forever linked for more than just participating in sporting exhibitions in Tampa. After leaving the Temple Terrace Country Club, a Packard automobile driven by Grange exceeded the posted speed limit while en route to an orange grove. A motorcycle cop pulled over the luxury vehicle, whose occupants included Barnes and Farrell, as well as Olympic silver medal-winning swimmer Helen Wainwright, and the owner of the vehicle, Joe Mickler. An intrepid photographer who had just finished snapping photos of the athletes came upon the scene and took one final image for posterity.
Grange would leave Tampa with more than just a traffic ticket, however, as he also purchased $15,000 worth of property on the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, the present-day site of the Babe Zaharias Country Club.

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