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Alexis Thompson

Alexis Thompson (May 20, 1914 – December 20, 1954) was an owner of the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Steagles.[1] Prior to his executive career, he was a field hockey player who competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics for the United States team, which was eliminated in the group stage of the Olympic tournament. He played one match as forward.

Thompson was born in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of Yale University, he was the grandson of the founder of Republic Iron and Steel, also named Alexis Thompson, and son of David Thompson. When David died in March 1929, the younger Alexis inherited millions. A U.S. Army corporal, Thompson was an entrepreneur who made millions more selling eye care products.

In December 1940, Steelers owner Art Rooney sold the Steelers franchise (including the players) to 28-year-old Thompson for $160,000 and then used half of that to buy a half interest in the Eagles franchise from his friend Bert Bell.[2][3] After having second thoughts, the owners traded their cities back to each other before the start of the 1941 season — so that the Steelers franchise moved to Philadelphia and became the Philadelphia Eagles and the Eagles franchise moved to Pittsburgh and became the Pittsburgh Steelers. As part of the deal, eleven members of the 1940 Steelers were traded to the Eagles franchise (and thereby continued to play in Pittsburgh), while seventeen of the 1940 Eagles were traded to the Steelers franchise (and thereby continued to play in Philadelphia).[2]

In the hospital for appendicitis while the Eagles won their first NFL title in a snowstorm in 1948,[4] Thompson sold the franchise a few weeks later to a group of investors known as the "Happy Hundred" for $250,000 on January 15, 1949.[5][6][7]

Thompson's body was discovered on December 20, 1954, in his six-room apartment in Englewood, New Jersey.[8] He died at age (40 or) 43 of an apparent heart attack.[1][9]

References

  1. ^ a b "Thompson, 43, ex-owner of Eagles, dies". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. December 21, 1954. p. 4, part 3.
  2. ^ a b Dvorchak, Robert (August 26, 2007). "Blood Brothers: The 1943 Steagles became an unlikely product of the war years". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  3. ^ See: History of the Pittsburgh Steelers#1940–41: A new name and a "new" team.
  4. ^ "Bedridden owner of Eagles cheered by club's victory". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 6, part 2.
  5. ^ "Syndicate buys Eagles for $250,000". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. January 16, 1949. p. 1, part 2.
  6. ^ "Eagles sold to syndicate led by Clark". Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. January 16, 1949. p. 6.
  7. ^ Didinger, Ray; Robert S. Lyons (2005). The Eagles Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 1-59213-449-1.
  8. ^ "Once owner is dead at 43". Milwaukee Journal. United Press. December 21, 1954. p. 15, part 2.
  9. ^ "Alexis Thompson Pro Eagles Grid Ex-Owner Dies". The News and Courier. 21 December 1954. Retrieved 14 January 2014.

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