James Francis Thorpe
|Real Name:||James Francis Thorpe|
|Death Date:||28 March 1953|
|Place Of Death:||US|
|Cause Of Death:||Heart attack|
James Francis Thorpe was born south of Bellemonta, near Prague, Oklahoma, on May 28, 1888.
He was the son of Hiran P. Thorpe, of Irish and Sac-Fox Indian descent, and Charlotte View, of Potowatomi and Kickapoo descent.
He grew up with five siblings, although his twin brother, Charlie, died at the age of nine. Jim’s athletic abilities showed at a very early age, when he learned to ride horses and swim at the age of three. Thorpe first attended the Sac-Fox Indian Agency school near Tecumseh, Oklahoma, before being sent to the Haskell Indian School near Lawrence, Kansas, in 1898.
When Thorpe was sixteen, he was recruited to attend a vocational school (a school to learn a trade) for Native Americans, the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. His track potential was obvious in 1907, when he cleared the high jump bar at 5 feet 9 inches while dressed in street clothes. Glenn S. “Pop” Warner, the school’s legendary track and football coach, asked him to join the track team. That fall Thorpe made the varsity football team, playing some but starting the next year as a running back. In 1908 Thorpe was awarded third team All-American status, the highest honor for a collegiate athlete.
Following the spring of 1909, when Thorpe starred in track, he left the Carlisle school with two other students to go to North Carolina, where they played baseball at Rocky Mount in the Eastern Carolina Association. Thorpe pitched and played first base for what he said was $15 per week. The next year he played for Fayetteville, winning ten games and losing ten games pitching, while batting .236. These two years of paid performances in minor league baseball would later tarnish his 1912 amateur Olympic status.