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Pudge Heffelfinger


William Walter Heffelfinger

Inducted 1951

Date of Birth



Minneapolis, MN


Yale University (1888-1891)


William W. "Pudge" Heffelfinger played guard for Yale and was the greatest lineman of his time. All-America selections originated in 1889, and Pudge was on the team. He repeated in 1890-91, his last two seasons at Yale. Heffelfinger continued playing for independent teams and on November 12, 1892, received $500 to help the Allegheny Athletic Association beat the Pittsburgh Athletic Club 6-0. This made Pudge the first professional player in the game. In 1893, he coached the University of California to a 5-1-1 record. Pudge launched a business career and published an annual booklet, "Heffelfinger's Football Facts." Pudge was famous for his durability. In 1916, at age 49, he scrimmaged against the Yale varsity. In 1920, age 53, he played 50 minutes for the East All-Stars against the Ohio State All-Stars at Columbus, Ohio. In 1930, age 63, he made his final appearance in a football uniform in an all-star game at Minneapolis. He produced the first sports quiz show on radio and the first spy show, "Secret Agent K-7." He was a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame.


Height 6'3

Weight 195

Career Highlights

  • 1891 Consensus All-America
  • 1890 Consensus All-America
  • 1889 Consensus All-America
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