George Barclay
Date of birth (1876-05-16)May 16, 1876
Place of birth Millville, Pennsylvania, United States
Date of death April 3, 1909(1909-04-03) (aged 32)
Place of death Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 162 pounds (73 kg)
Position(s) Halfback, Outfielder
College Bucknell University
Lafayette College
Career highlights
Awards 1897 "All Western Pennsylvania" Team
Greensburg Athletic Association
Western Pa. All-Stars
St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Beaneaters

George Oliver Barclay (May 16, 1876 in Millville, Pennsylvania – April 3, 1909 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former Major League Baseball player. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals and later the Boston Beaneaters. He was also an early professional football player-coach for the Greensburg Athletic Association. He was nicknamed "The Rose" for his concern with his looks and his eye for the ladies. Barclay also invented the first-ever football helmet.


Barclay was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 17, 1902, with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played for the Cardinals until he was sold to the Boston Beaneaters on September 11, 1904. He would play for Boston until his release from the team on May 22, 1905.

First football helmet and careerEdit

In 1896, Barclay was credited with inventing the first-ever football helmet, with the intention that it would prevent cauliflower ears. The helmet was constructed by a saddle-maker from nearby Easton with strips of leather harness padding. It made its debut in a Lafayette game against Penn on Oct. 24, 1896. The NCAA and the National Football League made helmets mandatory in 1939 and in 1941, respectively.

Barclay also was a member of the 1897 Lafayette football team that won the national championship. That same year he was a player-coach for the Greensburg Athletic Association. He ended the season on the player on that team named to the “All- Western Pennsylvania” team by the Pittsburgh Press. A year later, he was chosen by Dave Berry, the manager of the rivial Latrobe Athletic Association, to play for the Western Pennsylvania All-Stars in the very first football all-star game, against the Duquesne Country and Athletic Club.


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