The First Professional Football Player

William "Pudge" Heffelfinger brought CAA to victory in 1893

Meet the first professional football player: William “Pudge” Heffelfinger. Pudge played for the Chicago Athletic Association team against West Point at the Chicago’s World Fair game in 1893. One of the very first night football games in history, lasting just 40 minutes, CAA won 14-0.

Football was a popular, and very competitive, attraction between local athletic clubs at the time – Pudge was recruited and compensated for his athleticism with a lofty $500 fee (about $13,000 today).

Learn more about the game’s history here.

From The Vault

Hot Doug's is Back! Well, Sort Of Up at Cindy's with the Chicago Public Library Foundation 1896 Democratic National Convention Q&A with William Wrigley Chicago Summer Beach + Bike Guide Get Thee to Christkindlmarket June Street Festivals to Check Out The Union Stockyards, Carl Sandburg and Today