1915-1921: The Racine Legion were the first top level semiprofessional football team in the State of Wisconsin. The team got its name as their players were made up of members First Wisconsin Reserve Artillery Battery C. After the team was on hiatus in 1918 due to World War I and a terrible influenza pandemic the Racine Legion made a sponsorship with a local dairy company run by William Horlick, the inventor or Malted Milk who also owned a local stadium for minor league baseball.
1922: Following the Green Bay Packers who joined the APFA in 1921, the Racine Legion were one of two teams from Wisconsin to join the league which changed its name to the National Football League. After suffering a 6-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in their first game on October 1st, the Legion would beat the Packers 10-6 in Green Bay for their first NFL win. Despite losing to two of the other NFL’s new teams in the next two weeks, the Racine Legion had a strong first season in the NFL as fullback-kicker Hank Gillo, who led the league in scoring with 52 points. The Legion would win five of their next six games with shutouts, including a Thanksgiving rematch with the Milwaukee Badgers that they won 3-0. The Legion would be the best NFL team from Wisconsin, posting a 6-4-1 record, as they posted a 2-2-1 record in five games against the Packers and Badgers.
1923: Led by General Manager and Coach Babe Ruetz the Racine Legion would take on some of the strongest teams in the NFL, in an era in which teams made their own schedules. The Legion would open the season playing the Toledo Maroons to a 7-7 before losing a defensive battle with the Chicago Bears 3-0 at Horlick Field. Following a 7-7 tie game against the Milwaukee Badgers on the road, the Legion finally got their first of the season by beating the Akron Pros 9-7. The Legion would then get a second win over the Green Bay Packers 24-3 on the road. However, the Packers would strike back and win the rematch two weeks later in Racine 16-0. The Legion would go on to finish their season with a record 4-4-2.
1924: The Racine Legion despite posting two straight respectable seasons, had trouble drawing fans, as professional football was given little coverage and regard. Once again the Legion would have a strong season, posting a record of 4-3-3, playing the Chicago Bears, who tried to claim the 1924 NFL Championship to a pair of ties. They also get split a pair of games against the Green Bay Packers, including a season ending 7-0 win at Horlick Field on November 30th. Despite their competiveness the Legion would suspend operations at the end of the season unable to find further financial backing after the team was turned over to the Racine Exchange Club.
1926: The NFL would return to Racine after being inactive in 1925. The NFL fearing the newly formed American Football League would overtake them as the biggest professional football league expanded to 22 teams to blunt the AFL from getting a foothold. Racine despite losing money would again take the field this time with the nickname Racine Tornadoes. The team had several of the same players that were on the Racine Legion, but were no longer able to compete at the same level. The Tornadoes would open the season with a 6-3 win over the Hammond Pros, but would lose their final four games by a combined score of 89-2. Following a 35-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers on October 24th, the Racine Tornadoes would fold, cancelling the remainder of their season.
©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Racine Legion or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on February 10, 2015. Last updated on February 10, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.