In this Friday edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we remember a outstanding workhorse running back that was the unsung hero of the great Lions’ offenses of the early 1950s.
33. Bob “Hunchy” Hoernschmeyer
Halfback / Tailback / Wingback / Defensive Back. 1950-55 Detroit; 1946-47, 1949 Chicago Rockets (AAFC); 1947-48 Brooklyn Dodgers (AAFC)
During the first five years of the Lions’ fifties dynasty, the man known to his teammates as “Hunchy” was the bread-and-butter back for coach Buddy Parker’s troops. “Hunchy isn’t one of the name players in the league, but he’s certainly one of the most underrated,” Parker once said. “When it comes to picking up those all-important two or three yards that can be the difference between winning and losing a game, he’s invariably the most reliable man.”
The 5-foot-11, 194 pound Hoernschmeyer came to the Lions in 1950, as the team’s first choice in the newly defunct All-American Football Conference (AAFC) talent dispersal draft. Hunchy was a triple-threat, do-it-all player for the Chicago Rockets and Brooklyn Dodgers during the AAFC’s short four-year reign. He led the Lions in rushing every season from 1950-53, and helped Detroit win two of its eventual three World Championships during the decade.
Parker’s offense took great advantage of its backfield talent. The Lions often used Hunchy, and fellow halfback Doak Walker as passers and receivers in halfback option plays, shovel passes, and reverse passes. The results were substantial, as ten of Hunchy’s eleven career Lion completions went for touchdowns.
Hunchy’s greatest performance as a Lion came on November 23, 1950, against the New York Yanks when he rushed for 198 yards, including a team-record 96-yard TD scamper, in a 49-14 rout. That single-game rushing total remains the most in team history for anyone not named Barry Sanders. Hunchy earned all-pro honors in 1952, and went to the Pro Bowl after the ‘51 and ’52 seasons.
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