Racine Legion/Tornadoes

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Racine Legion/Tornadoes
Racine Legion/Tornadoes logo

Founded 1915
Folded 1926
Based in Racine, Wisconsin, United States
League Independent (1915–22)
National Football League (1922–24, 1926)
Team History Racine Regulars (1915)
Racine Battery C (1916–18)
Horlick-Racine Legion (1919–1922)
Racine Legion (1922–25)
Racine Tornadoes (1926)
Team Colors Crimson, White
         
Head coaches Babe Ruetz (1922–24)
Shorty Barr & Wally McIlwain (1926)
General managers Babe Ruetz
Owner(s) Racine Exchange Club
Named for The 1st Wisconsin Reserve Artillery Battery C
William Horlick
Racine American Legion Post
Home field(s) Horlick Field

The Racine Legion was a professional American football team based in Racine, Wisconsin, of the National Football League from 1922 to 1924. Its official name was the Horlick-Racine Legion. The team then operated as the Racine Tornadoes in 1926.

In 1915, the Racine Regulars formed Wisconsin's first important semi-professional team. They primarily played against teams from Illinois and Indiana. The team became known as the Racine Battery C in 1916 after many of the players joined the First Wisconsin Reserve Artillery Battery C.

Because of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 the team took a break. It was reorganized in 1919 with sponsorship from the local American Legion post and William Horlick, president of his family's malted milk company. The reorganized team was known as the Horlick-Racine Legion.

In 1922, the American Professional Football Association changed its name to the National Football League. Racine, now known simply as the Racine Legion, was one of four new teams admitted to membership that season.

Led by the fullback-kicker Hank Gillo, who led the league in scoring with 52 points, Racine finished sixth in the 18-team league with a 6–4–1 record. Despite two more respectable seasons, the team failed to interest many fans. In 1925, the franchise was turned over to the Racine Exchange Club, but was inactive that season.

Facing the threat of Red Grange's American Football League in 1926, the NFL was eager to get as many teams and players as possible into the fold to keep them away from the AFL. The Racine franchise was reactivated. The team, now called the Tornadoes, had quite a few of the same players as the Legion. After winning their first game, the Tornadoes lost four in a row and disbanded in late October.

Season-by-season[edit]

Year W L T Finish Coach
Legion 1922 6 4 1 6th Babe Ruetz
1923 4 4 2 9th Babe Ruetz
1924 4 3 3 7th Babe Ruetz
1925 Suspended Operations
Tornadoes 1926 1 4 0 16th Shorty Barr, Wally McIlwain

See also[edit]