Francis (Frank) C. Machinsky
Born: (New Salem, Pennsylvania)
Died: September 5, 2014 (Columbus, Ohio)
Moose Machinsky, who had won a national champoionship with the Ohio State Buckeyes, came north to Canada to play for the Toronto Argonauts in 1956. Military service in the United States limited his professional career to that single season in the Big Four.
After that single season, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, during which he was stationed in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C. After two years of service, he returned to Columbus, Ohio, where he started several businesses, including Moose Beverage.
Born in New Salem, Pa., Machinsky grew up in Buffington, where he starred on the Uniontown High School football team. The Red Raiders were undefeated in his senior year and Machinsky was named to the all-star team.
Machinsky also played town baseball, where he was hired to work construction at $48.50 per week by John Galbreath, who also owned the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many of Galbreath’s employees had attended Ohio State and they convinced the young player to choose the Buckeyes over Notre Dame.
After a season of freshman football, Machinsky made the varsity squad for three seasons. The Buckeyes went undefeated in 1954, beating Southern California in the Rose Bowl to claim a national title. Mackinsky was named an All-Big Ten selection at tackle that season and he was named the team’s co-captain in 1955. He credited legendary coach Woody Hayes for the team’s success.
“On the field, he was a tyrant, but if you were giving your all and you were doing your best, … if he knew you were busting your tail, he never said a word to you,” Machinsky once told the Fayette County (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame. “If you were dogging it, then look out.”
He played in the Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine all-star games after graduating.
The Washington Redskins selected Machinsky in the fourth round (No. 41 overall) of the 1956 NFL draft.
“I was small and they called me up and said we’re coming to see you and we want you,” he said. “The Canadian team Toronto was recruiting me because they went for a little smaller linemen up there because yu had to play both ways. I asked the Redskins what they were going to pay and they said $6,000 and I said I got a contract here (with a) $2,000 bonus and $9,500 salary with Toronto.”
Later, Machinsky survived a serious industrial accident on a construction site in which he was badly burned on his left side by a gasoline explosion. He had a janitor’s supply business, a beer distributorship, a trash company and an insurance agency.
Machinsky was inducted into the Ohio State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Fayette County (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.