The father of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the College All-Star Game, and the All-American Football Conference were all born from the mind of one man whose origins tie back to his education in Dubuque.
Arch Ward attended St. Joseph’s Academy and Columbia (now Loras) College before moving over to Notre Dame to complete his education. While in South Bend, he was selected by Knute Rockne to become the school’s first sports information director in 1919, a position he graduated in 1921.
After college, Ward began a successful career in journalism. He started at the Morning Star in Rockford, Ill., before moving to the Chicago Tribune as a sports writer before becoming sports editor in 1930. At that time, he took over writing a column entitled “In the Wake of News,” which was the oldest continuous sports column in the nation.
In 1933, he came up with the idea of an exhibition game between Major League Baseball’s two leagues as a promotional event for the World’s Fair. After initial refusal by the team owners, the game was played and proved to be so popular that it became an annual tradition.
One year later, his idea would carry over into the Chicago College All-Star Football Game for the next year of the World’s Fair. It would also prove to be successful and eventually spawn the NFL’s Pro Bowl.
Ward also organized the Chicago Golden Glove boxing competition, which would also become a national event. Winners of the Chicago Golden Gloves included Joe Louis, Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali.
The Silver Skates competition, the longest continuous running speed skating competition in the United States, also owes its success to the work of Ward. He utilized his writing prowess to promote the event effectively.
In 1941, the NFL would attempt to woo Ward to become the new commissioner of the league. He turned them down and eventually started a new league in 1946, the All-American Football Conference, which would be the original home of the Cleveland Browns. Arch Ward entered the Loras Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983, a member of the inaugural class.