Truman Spain

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Truman Spain
Date of birth: c. 1913
Date of death: February 12, 1968
Place of death: McLean, Texas
Career information
Position(s): Tackle
College: Southern Methodist University
NFL Draft: 1936 / Round: 4 / Pick: 30
Drafted by: Pittsburgh Pirates
Organizations
Career highlights and awards
Honors: 1935 College Football All-America Team

Truman "Big Dog" Spain (c. 1913 – February 12, 1968) was an American football player who was selected as an All-American at the tackles position for the 1935 National Champion Southern Methodist University Mustangs. At the end of the 1935 season, Spain was selected as a first-team All-American by Grantland Rice for Collier's Weekly and by a board of coaches for Pathé News.[1][2] He was also selected as a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and in a consensus All-American team.[3][4] The 1935 SMU team had 12–0 record, scoring 288 points while only giving up 39. The team was invited to play in the 1936 Rose Bowl, and Spain became the center of attention in the newspapers' coverage of the game. Much of the coverage focused on Spain's good looks and indications that Spain would be signed by Hollywood as a movie star. One syndicated feature article compared Spain to Clark Gable under the headline: "IF MOVIE COLONY GRABS OFF ONE OF MUSTANGS, IT LIKELY WILL BE CLARK GABLE SPAIN."[5] The article noted that Spain was "all man" and reported on the reaction of co-eds to his "rumba king" good looks:

"If it's a new movie idol California desires out of the Rose Bowl classic New Year's between the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the Redmen of Stanford, the No. 1 nominee of the galloping Ponies Is Truman Spain giant all-American tackle. This Spain fellow, young ladies, is definitely of the Latin type except that instead of being sleek he is as hard as ship's steel and as torrid as a foundry furnace. He is tall, very bronzed and handsome enough. His smile dashes from white and very even teeth and according to campus co-eds, he is a 'honey.' He has straight black hair, which like Clark Gables, klnda' likes to fall down over his forehead. ... No mere man could use the correct expression, but a co-ed said: 'His large, black eyes burn into you and make you feel that something is going to happen.'"[5]

An article in a Texas newspaper reported on the attention being focused on Spain: "Spain, towering well over six feet and going past the two hundred pound mark, was the center of attention. He played high school football in the Oil Belt, and many of his old friends met the train to wish him well. He came in for a lot of kidding about trying to crash the movies."[6] In late January 1936, the publicity drew an offer for Spain to enter the boxing game, which he turned down. Spain said he was due a movie tryout, and "a bunged-up face wouldn't be any help in Hollywood, unless Truman wanted a gangster role."[7]

After retiring from football, Spain worked as an oil drilling contractor in Ardmore, Oklahoma.[8] He died in 1968 of an apparent heart attack at age 55.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inwood Smith Selected For Collier's 'American: Ohio State Guard One of Three Middlewestern Players Honored; Year Termed 'Greatest'". Circleville Herald. 1935-12-12. 
  2. ^ "INWOOD SMITH ON PATHE ALL-AMERICA". Mansfield News Journal. 1935-12-09. 
  3. ^ Alan Gould (1935-12-07). "Southwest Conference Lands Two Men on All-America: Lester and Wilson Make First Eleven; McCauley, Spain Placed on Second Team; Baugh, Wallace on Third". Galveston Daily News. 
  4. ^ Jack Singer (1935-12-22). "Real All-American of 1935 Season Selected". Los Angeles Times. (The Consensus All-American team was based on the following scoring system: 5 points for a first-team selection; 3 points for a second-team selection; and 1 point for a third-team selection. The All-American teams reviewed for the consensus team were AP, UP, INS, NEA, North American Newspaper Alliance, All-America Board, Collier's, Bill Corum's symposium, and Fritz Crisler.)
  5. ^ a b "IF MOVIE COLONY GRABS OFF ONE OF MUSTANGS, IT LIKELY WILL BE CLARK GABLE SPAIN". Abilene Daily Reporter. 1935-12-13. 
  6. ^ Tom Beasley (1935-12-27). "MATTY BELL SAYS HIS MUSTANGS IN TIP-TOP CONDITION: AUTOGRAPH SEEKERS SWAMP COACH; SPAIN IS CENTER OF ATTENTION". Big Spring Daily Herald. 
  7. ^ "Tom Beasley Around And About The Sports Circuit". Big Spring Daily Herald. 1936-01-30. 
  8. ^ a b "SMU Grid Hero Dies in McLean". Amarillo Globe-Times. 1968-02-13.