American Football Database
Walter East
Date of birth: (1883-03-29)March 29, 1883
Place of birth: Coulterville, Illinois, United States
Date of death: August 29, 1930(1930-08-29) (aged 47)
Place of death: Philadelphia, United States
Career information
Position(s): End
Career highlights and awards

Walter Rufus East (March 29, 1883 – August 29, 1930) was a minor league baseball player active between 1903 and 1912. As a second baseman he played for various in the Southern Association, Eastern League, Missouri Valley League, Ohio State League and the Ohio–Pennsylvania League. East however also managed several minor league teams from the Ohio–Pennsylvania League.

In 1906 he also was active in professional football as an end with the Massillon Tigers of the Ohio League, a direct predecessor to the modern-day National Football League. He played his first game for the Tigers on October 20, 1906 in a 57-0 victory over the Shelby Athletic Club. East had a big day and his play was publicly commended. A week later, he played again for Massillon against combined Benwood-Moundsville team in a game that saw Peggy Parratt throw pro football's first forward pass to Bullet Riley. On November 4, 1906, East was reportedly released by the Tigers after having a good game in a 33-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Lyceum. However a scandal later became the reason Massillon's management decided to end their relationship with East.[1]

East is best known for his role fixing a championship football series in 1906 between the Canton Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers. The scandal began when an allegation was made by a Massillon newspaper charging the Bulldogs coach, Blondy Wallace, and East of conspiring to fix a two-game series between the two clubs. The scandal called for Canton to win the first game and Massillon was to win the second, forcing a third game-with the biggest gate-to be played legitimately, with the championship at stake. Both Wallace and East denied the charges.[2]

East was accused soliciting Tiger players Tiny Maxwell and Bob Shiring to fix the game, but he had been released after the two players told Stewart and Wightman about the attempt. He then returned to Akron, Ohio accusing the Tiger's coach Sherburn Wightman, of masterminding the scandal. According to East, Wightman had first asked him to solicit two of his fellow players to throw the game, then had East find a backer who would pay Wightman $4,000. However Wightman backed out of the deal at the last minute. He later went on to add that no member of the Bulldogs or their backers, as far as he knew, were connected with the deal. He finally stated that the only reason that Tigers manager E.J. Stewart went public on scandal was to ruin the attendance for a future Canton game against the Latrobe Athletic Association. As proof, East produced a contract in which Wightman agreed to throw the game for $4,000. The document was signed by East, Wightman, and John Windsor, one of the owners of the Akron baseball team. Windsor added his, which backed East in all particulars, including the comment that he never had met and still did not know Blondy Wallace. Meanwhile, Massillon management claimed that the contract was used to obtain names of East and Windsor on a contract, East could be released, those persons trying to fix the game would be exposed, and the corrupt East and his crew would be sent away from pro football.

In the aftermath of the scandal, East was seen in Akron as being the hapless victim of a crooked team. He was retained as manager of the Akron Champs. It should also be noted that East, boasted of fixing a college football game, as well as a baseball game in 1905.[3]

In the summer of 1907, Akron owners', John Windsor and Ben Campbell, argued over retaining East as the Akron manager. The decision led to a fist-fight between the two owners. A reporter humorous wrote "It was the first time two men got into a fight over another man." Bob Quinn then bought the Akron team and kept East on as manager for the 1907 season.[4] In 1908 East coached the Erie Sailors and the Mansfield Brownies in 1912.

East also served as the Akron Zips men's basketball head coach in 1909, when he guided the team to a 6-7 record.[5]

He died suddenly at a hospital during a business trip to Philadelphia, of uremic poisoning, in 1930.[6]

Baseball managerial record

(from Baseball Reference Bullpen) (from Baseball Reference Bullpen)

Team Year Record Finish
Akron Buckeyes 1905 66-42 2nd
Akron Rubbernecks 1906 83-55 2nd
Akron Champs 1907 83-53 3rd
Erie Sailors 1908 37-53 8th
Mansfield Brownies 1912 72-67 2nd


  1. "The Birth of Pro Football". PFRA Annual (Professional Football Researchers Association): 10–14. 1989.
  2. Peterson, Robert W. (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511913-4.
  3. "Blondy Wallace and the Biggest Football Scandal Ever". PFRA Annual (Professional Football Researchers Association) 5: 1–16. 1984.
  4. Sandoval, Jim; Nowlan, Bill. Can He Play? A Look at Baseball Scouts and Their Profession. SABR, Inc.. ISBN 978-1-933599-23-6.
  5. "Walter East Coaching Record". Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  6. "Summit County Attorney Dies", Evening Independent, Saturday, August 30, 1930, Massillon, Ohio

External links

Template:Akron Zips men's basketball coach navbox