The Frankford Yellow Jackets were an outgrowth of the Frankford Athletic Association which was founded in 1899. They lost their original field when Frankford High School was build and eventually built their own 10,000 seat stadium at Frankford and Devereaux Aves. The team had famous players including player/coach Guy Chamberlain, Link Lyman, Hap Moran, Two-Bits Homan, and Houston Stockton (grandfather of basketball great John Stockton).
Pennsylvania Blue Laws required the team to play home games on Saturdays which offered a second day to schedule games. The Yellow Jackets often shared a train home with the Saturday visiting team for an away replay on Sunday. They played a lot and they won a lot - both against local, independent, and NFL teams. After earlier failures in New York City and Washington, DC, the Midwest-based NFL sought to gain a foothold on the east coast and extended the Yellow Jackets an invitation to join the league.
In 1924, their first NFL season, Frankford finished with an overall record of 17-3-1 and an 11-2-1 record in league play. They finished third in league standings; but under modern standings tabulation procedures, Frankford would have finished in first place.
After denying local rival Pottsville Maroons the 1925 Championship through a league protest, the Frankford Yellow Jackets won their own title in 1926. They finished the season with a 14-1-1 record, including 11 shutouts. The offense scored 28 TDs to opponents 6 TDs. The Yellow Jackets steamrolled opponents; ironically, only losing to the Providence Steamrollers. However, the Yellow Jackets avenged the loss the very next day (an example of one of those home-and-home weekend series).
By 1930 the team was in decline with veterans aging and everyone suffering from the Great Depression. Prior to the 1931 season, their home field Frankford Stadium caught fire and forced the Yellow Jackets to play home games at the Baker Bowl (North Philadelphia) and Municipal Stadium (South Philadelphia). The team never recovered and after unsuccessful attempts to sell the franchise, the NFL bought back the rights to a Philadelphia team. Waiting in the wings was Main Line scion Bert Bell, ready to purchase the rights and rebrand the team as the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933.
Celebrate the brief but great history of the Frankford Yellow Jackets with this 100% cotton gold shirt by Bella + Canvas.
Available online only. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.
Part of the Shibe Originals collection - designs by Philly artists and exclusively available at Shibe Vintage Sports.