Based upon documented information researched with confidence of accuracy, and, on behalf of the family of Leroy "Ace" Gutowsky; Kingfisher, Oklahoma High School; Oklahoma City University; the Portsmouth Spartans; the Detroit Lions; the great state of Oklahoma; and myself, Mark House, I respectfully nominate and request sincere consideration of Leroy "Ace" Gutowsky for a posthumous "Senior" induction into the National Football League's Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Certainly with no thought of any Hall Of Fame potential existing at the time, Leroy "Ace" Gutowsky rambled his way to the top of the National Football League's (NFL) ground gainer list by 1939. As a Portsmouth Spartan (632 yds.) and Detroit Lion (2,445 yds.) workhorse, Gutowsky owned his team's rushing record for the better part of three decades leading into the 1960's. NFL.com lists him as the leading rusher for the leatherhead decade of the 1930's. As well, NFL.com recognizes Gutowsky as the ring leader of a 1934 defense that gave up an "astonishingly low" total of only 59 points over an entire 13 game slate.
The official birth certificate of Ace Gutowsky's son, Jerry Gutowsky, provides documented proof of his 1909 birthplace being listed as Komalty, Oklahoma. The historically misunderstood fact is, it was Ace's father (Assuph Gutowsky) that was an original Russian immigrant arriving in the United States as a parentless child. Oklahoma's Kingfisher County official census information from 1920 documents Assuph Gutowsky's year of "immigration" as being in 1892 which is seventeen years previous to the birth of his son Ace.
The former Oklahoma City "All-American" Ace Gutowsky is officially recognized with 3,279 league leading rushing yards in his eight NFL seasons. Many would consider this a miraculous accomplishment considering the various Hall Of Fame gridiron stars Ace competed with and against on his way to becoming King Of The NFL Mountain in the 1930's.
Earl "Dutch" Clark was a teammate of Ace with the Portsmouth Spartans and Detroit Lions from 1932-1938. Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans was an opponent with the New York Giants from 1936-1939. Bronko Nagurski played for the rival Chicago Bears against Ace from 1932-1937. And, along with Nagurski, another most famous Bear by the name of Red Grange shared some of the same leatherhead gridiron turf and time as that of Leroy "Ace" Gutowsky.
Gutowsky's Hall Of Fame teammate Dutch Clark, along with other greats such as Alphonse Leemans and Bronko Nagurski were voted as part of the National Football League 1930's All-Decade Team. Yet, this mighty gridiron warrior arising from the tribal lands of southwest Oklahoma out gained these and other Hall Of Fame caliber leatherheads on his way to being recognized as the NFL's career rushing leader before retiring in 1939.
Could the massive media machines of the larger Chicago and New York markets inadvertently assisted with the oversight of one Leroy "Ace" Gutowsky? How is it that Gutwosky rushed past the NFL's all-time greats without notice and/or recognition? Is this man named Gutowsky the "true" Galloping Ghost of pro football's past?
As future Hall Of Famer Earl "Dutch" Clark was unable to participate and call out his standard "Ace And Go On Two," it was ole rookie Ace Gutowsky himself who moved from fullback to quarterback in this first NFL playoff game against the Bears. While Clark was obligated to coaching duties back in Colorado, it was Gutowsky who courageously stepped in and guided the Spartan offense in this landmark first indoor and first championship gridiron contest against the history laden Bears.
Along with participating in this first NFL playoff game, Gutowsky also was a noted offensive and defensive star in the Lions' first ever 1934 NFL Thanksgiving Day game vs. the vaunted Bears. "Despite two Ace Gutowsky touchdowns, the Lions lost 19-16." But, the NFL's Thanksgiving Day historical broadcast tradition was launched in fine fashion with Ko Mah Ty's warrior carrying more than his share of the load for his team that had just recently moved to Detroit.
Ace Gutowsky's pinnacle NFL season materialized in 1936 with the Detroit Lions. Following a 1935 Championship season with the Lions, Ace rushed for a team high 827 yards in 1936. Although out rushing Hall Of Fame teammate Dutch Clark by 199 yards and Hall Of Fame rival Bronko Nagurski by 298 yards, Gutowsky did fall 3 yards short of Hall Of Famer Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans for this annual rushing title. Despite this three yard discrepancy, official records indicate Gutowsky was the NFL's All-Purpose yard man in this year of 1936.
While taking nothing away from the "Great Nagurski," Red Grange, Tuffy Leemans and others with similar elite profiles, could Ace Gutowsky be the most overlooked and underrated football star in NFL history? Can his decade of leading NFL rushing stats, amassed while competing head to head with such great players be misleading? Does the body of work of one Leroy "Ace"Gutowsky deserve sincere consideration for NFL Hall Of Fame induction? "Most definitely" should be an obvious answer to these historical reflections with confidence that one of the greatest NFL players should no longer remain outside the realm of a most deserved Hall Of Fame recognition.
Author's Note: Information contained within this Hall Of Fame nomination has been researched and composed with confidence of accuracy. iMages have been collected and utilized with no intent of profit but with enthusiasm for rediscovery of a much overlooked yet predominant piece of National Football League history.