Joe Carr1879 - 1939
Joe F. Carr was born in Columbus on October 23, 1879, the son of Irish immigrants. He was a pioneer executive not only in football but also in basketball and minor-league baseball. This native son of Columbus is in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. With only a few years of formal education, he became a sportswriter for the Columbus newspaper known as the Ohio State Journal.
He was also the manager of the Columbus Panhandles professional football team. In 1921, he became the president of the professional football league which he named the National Football League.
It was from Columbus that Joe F. Carr served as the president of the NFL for eighteen years until his death in 1939. He helped professional football become a more stable and respected sport in the eyes of the public and the media. During the first several years of his presidency, he introduced a standard player’s contract to help control players’ hopping from one team to another. He made peace with the colleges around the country by establishing a rule that prohibited any NFL team from signing a college player until his class had graduated. He also recruited financially stable team owners in the big cities, bringing the game to bigger crowds in bigger venues.
The NFL was fortunate to have this Columbus native and his leadership ability in those early years to help guide the league from Columbus. His passion and love for the sport until his death in 1939, while he was still in office, were obvious.
In 1963 Carr was named one of seventeen charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On October 12, 2015, Joe F. Carr was inducted to the City of Columbus Hall of Fame.