Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Jim "Bright Path" Thorpe

Jim "Bright Path" Thorpe


  • Position: Halfback
  • School: Carlisle
  • High School: Lawrence, KS (Haskell Institute)\rCarlisle, PA (Carlisle Indian Industrial School)
  • Years: 1907-1908, 1911-1912
  • Inducted: 1951
  • Place of Birth: Prague, OK
  • Date of Birth: May 28, 1888
  • Place of Death: Lomita, CA
  • Date of Death: Mar 28, 1953
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 185

Member Biography

James Francis Thorpe was born May 28, 1888, on a Sac and Fox Reservation at Prague, Oklahoma. He played halfback for the Carlisle Indian School in 1907-08, again in 1911-12. In 44 games he had 53 touchdowns, 421 points. Statistics for 29 of the games show he averaged 8.4 yards in runs from scrimmage. In 1912 he had 29 touchdowns and 224 points, leading the nation. At the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm he won the pentathlon and decathlon. He played pro football 1915-28, major league baseball 1913-19, and witnesses said he excelled in any sport he tried. That included golf, tennis, lacrosse, field hockey, riding, rowing, gymnastics, archery, bowling, darts, billiards, basketball, swimming, boxing, wrestling. The honors piled up: 1950, named greatest athlete of the half-century 1900-49 by Associated Press sports editors; 1951, elected to College Football Hall of Fame; 1951, movie of his life "Jim Thorpe All-American" stars Burt Lancaster; 1957, a town, Jim Thorpe, Pa., named for him; 1963, elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame; 1984, a Jim Thorpe stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service; 1998, Thorpe again was honored with a stamp by the Postal Service. Thorpe died March 28, 1953, at Lomita, California, he is buried at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The sports writer Red Smith wrote: "Thorpe was the greatest athlete of his time, maybe of any time in any land."