Why not Cookie Gilchrist?

Here is a pitch to get Cookie Gilchrist into the [NFL] Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Music to the ears of Woody and the rest of us who
have any memory of Cookie as a Hamilton Tiger Cat

or as a one man wrecking crew playing on Offences
or playing on Defences on several teams in the CFL

or running back kick offs or kicking off, for that matter.

February 8th, 2010 by OldSchool

Part 2: Little in; why not Gilchrist?

CLICK HERE to read about his accomplishments in the A.F.L.

Here is a bit of what he did in the CFL.

In the CFL, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist, was a 5 time CFL all-star,
4 time AFL all-star who helped lead the Hamilton Tiger Cats to the Grey Cup title in 1957.

He often played both ways; in fact, he was an all-star selection in 1960 as a linebacker.

He was also a place-kicker. And, just so you know, Gilchrist is enshrined in the CFL Hall of Fame.

Count me in !!!!

You might want to check that. To the best of my knowledge, Gilchrist rejected his election into the CFL HOF. The Spec reported about two years ago that he has changed his mind, but the HOF board claims there is no process to reconsider a rejection.

That's my understanding as well. Cookie is not in the Canadian Football HOF. He was offered it, but turned it down. His rationale was evidently to protest against racial discrimination he experienced or witnessed in the CFL at that time.

Having said that, if he has indeed changed his mind about inclusion in the HOF, then the HOF not having a process in place to permit this seems a bit silly. I doubt they have a process or policy against changing his mind either. So I don't see why they couldn't make a policy now to re-nominate him and allow him in.

Gilchrist did refuse the CFL HoG on the grounds of racial discrimination while he played up here. Ironically enough, If he had spent his years here south of the Mason Dixon Line in the US, he would have encountered a lot more discrimination. For that matter, it would have been worse for Cookie just about anywhere in the US.

I am on side for wanting Cookie's entry into BOTH halls of Fame. He was one exciting ball player.

When he played in Canada, the cry from the media and the fans was, "LOOKIE, LOOKIE, HERE COMES COOKIE!!"

I just became aware of this story ... if he turned it down then he has made his choice .. on both sides.

He spat in their face for principals and to go back and say can i be in now ? makes him wishy - washy

that's kinda harsh isn't it? but still ... they tried to honour his accomplishments how silly was he

There is a lot more to the story of Cookie Gilchrist and his life than what most know. I feel it is an unfortunate situation for the CFL and the NFL / AFL and it's fans that he has not been properly recognized.

I will tell you this...Cookie loves the Canadian people and Canada. He is pleased he was allowed to play in our country and has fond memories of his fellow players and the fans who welcomed him into their hearts and homes.

He was a fantastic football player and is a proud, articulate man dealing with the health issues accompanying age. He was way ahead of his time when he payed football. He quit when he couldn't give 100%. By today's standards he would be one of the highest paid players.

Any problems he experienced were as a result of him speaking up against racism at a time when it was not "fashionable", for lack of a better word!

Anyone interested in learning more need only to look up "the Pro bowl Boycott" of 1965...his involvement with getting Cassius Clay to come fight in Canada while banned from fighting in the US. There is no shortage of info on "the Internet".

It is my hope that some day his story will be told in "his own words".

"Spat in their face!" "Wishy - Washy!" { Forgive spelling errors; I'm quoting an extremist)!

He hasn't asked for another chance to enter the HoF. The fans want him in.

RYCK: Do you ever think about what you're entering on this site?

Sure i do ...you ever think when you reply ???
you ever think maybe trolling behind me just to try and insult me doesn't mean a thing to me?
get a life ...

I didn't say he wanted back in someone else said that
like i said i just became aware of it so had to go with what was written ..

its fine if fans want him in ..the HOF tried he refused am i supposed to feel sorry he isn't in the HOF ??? it was his choice

OK...let's move on ...

The thing that needs to be done is a groundswell of support from the media to keep his name out there. Few are left who remember him in his prime. I don't remember seeing him at practices when my dad would drag me along back in 1954...I was 4 years old...but I do remember watching him on the old black and white when he played in Canada and later on our colour when he went back to the States to play in the AFL.

I can't think of a player, to this day, who was as dominant on both sides of the ball.

My greatest fear is that when he passes someone will write a book or make a movie about his life without the benefit of hearing from him "First Hand", what his life entailed.

The guy was way ahead of his time! Hopefully, time will mend some wounds and he will accept the recognition that he so rightly deserves. His play in Canada alone would justify Hall of Fame recognition but his play in the AFL with the Bills was incredible!

It's never too late to do the right thing. :thup: Why? Because it is the right thing to do!

I can. Jackie Parker. Maybe even Garney Henley as far as two way players go.

I'm not going to pretend to know anything about what may or may not have happened to him, but I do have to say that many people would feel like it was a slap in the face that he turned down the HOF. I know there are many players who would have jumped at that offer and didn't even get one kick at the can, let alone two.

I don't much have an opinion either way on whether he should be in the hall because he played long before I was born, but he is the one who turned it down and I can't fault the HOF if they don't offer him another shot at it.

Not taking anything away from either...but neither had the stats that Cookie did. I talked at great length with Garney about Cookie's situation and he said "ABSOLUTELY HE BELONGS".

Apples and oranges but Parker is still the best two way player of his time.

Being overlooked for the CFHOF and being nominated but throwing it back in their face are two vastly diff. things. He made his choice. Not being in the Hall doesnt diminish how good a player he was.

Cookie was mad at the Americans because he went and signed a $5,000 professional contract and then he lost his 108 scholarship offers as he was no longer eligible.......hardly racism....he caused it by taking the cash..........he continued the anger up here and took it out on anyone in the Tiger-Cats management who was American......The CFL was a place to play for those who experienced racism in the States.......where do people get this racist stuff from concerning Gilchrist and the CFL ? The CFL was always far ahead of America as far as this stuff goes.............

BTW, Cassius Clay was a draft dodger......banning him from boxing in the USA had nothing to do with race. All draft dodgers had to come to Canada if they wanted work.......blacks, caucasions or whatever. I had a white English teacher in Stoney Creek who was a draft dodger...race had nothing to do with it.

note:........ it appears Gilchrist has it set up that even typing his name on this forum is a breach of copyright........ :roll:

WOW...just WOW...where do you think this stuff up? :roll:

I'm a research type guy so I went right to his own website and started reading his own words......

http://www.cookiegilchrist.net/ (click on the photo section and that will take you to all kinds of stuff)

by the way, his name being copyrighted?.....I was making that up either....Even typing out his name seems to have restrictions on it..

from his website;

[b]All Images and text on this website are the Property of Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist, no un-authorized use permitted. Any use must have written authorization of Mr. GilChrist.

"Cookie" Gilchrist(R)(TM), Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist(R)(TM), and "U" are "A" SUPER STAR! "2" (R)(TM) are all the sole property of Chester Gilchrist and his estate.© All information on this website the 2009 the sole property of Chester Gilchrist and his estate.

......After reading his website, it doesn't sound like he was suppressed because he was black to me.......he was given golden opportunities in the U.S....then went to Canada and the Tiger-Cats gave him more.......but he grumbled all the time at the American management in the Tiger-Cats about being mistreated because he was black..huh?.....the Tiger-cats in 1965 treated everyone equally.......way too much drama from this guy I'm afraid.....and then to refuse the HOF induction?.....C'mon!

Woody, the guy was a great player and had every opportunity to succeed and from all accounts was highly respected, treated good and had the world ahead of him..........but he became a drama queen and was unappreciative of everything it seems.....even in Canada where black athletes were given every opportunity going......I'd classify him as very high maintenance and just wore everybody down with his insinuations and complaining. I'm not at all impressed by the way he has handled himself......especially concerning the CFL.....but, that's just me

From his website:

He was also raised to become one of the greatest football players in western Pennsylvania high school history as a bruising, unstoppable fullback. His play attracted notice and led to his first major but life- altering mistake. As an 18-year-old, Gilchrist accepted $5,000 from Cleveland Browns' head coach Paul Brown, effectively turning him into a professional and leaving him ineligible for any of the 108 college scholarships that would be offered him."


He is the only athlete to turn down being enshrined into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, because of what he described as racism and exploitation by management. Gilchrist frequently was at odds with team management, the American ones working for Canadian teams, he told a reporter from the London Free Press, saying that most of the problems he encountered were a result of his standing up for principles at a time when Black athletes were expected to remain silent.

Well, deerhunter … Of course you couldn’t possibly sum up 14 years of the mans football career in one post!Let alone know what all transpired…“golden opportunities”??? He was 19 years old.


Your last paragraph says it all! Thanks! :wink:

I'm not about to re-write history here......I went to his own website.......he sounds like he had every opportunity possible in the U.S and in Canada but appreciates none of it......oh well, so be it.

I'm proud of the way Canada was well ahead of the world in treating blacks and going against the popular grain of racism......ergo :underground railroad way in the past, blacks athletes etc.........and we progressively got better and better.....people like Lincoln Alexander and Bernie Custis humbly hung in with Canada as we grew up and matured as a country and they seem to love the life they carved out and the positive growth in racial issues we have gone through with them......I appreciate them teaching young kids about the past and yet never get bitter or blame the people of today for it..........we can always get even better but they sure don't seem bitter and turn their noses up at deserved love and recognition like Gilchrist did with the HOF thing..... I feel sorry for the man actually if he wanted to live in a negative space as he obviously has......that's his call, not mine.

Again...that is your perception and you are certainly entitled to it. BUT...you don't know the whole story!

BTW...Bernie and Cookie are friends to this day and I know if given the chance...Cookie would have loved to have stayed in Canada with his Canadian wife and children but NO...he was SOLD under a personal services contract to Ralph Wilson. (much the same as Wayne Gretzky was sold some 20 years later)

Again, thanks for your input!