It's time for Bobby Mitchell to make history again.
Mitchell, the first black player to start for the Washington Redskins, has become the first black selected to the Touchdown Club's Hall of Fame. His induction will take place Nov. 14. A portrait of the former all-pro receiver will be hung in the club's dining room display, the 21st to achieve that honor. The last person to be inducted, in 1977, was former Washington quarterback, Sonny Jurgensen.
Mitchell was a star football and track performer at the University of Illinois from 1954-58. He and Jim Ninowski shared most valuable player honors when the college all-stars upset the NFL champion Detroit Lions in the 1958 All-Star game. He also set a then-world record of 7.7 in the 70-yard low hurdles.
Mitchell was an eighth-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 1958.
He started 48 consecutive games at halfback.
In 1961 the Redskins acquired him, along with Leroy Jackson, for their No. 1 draft choice, which the Browns used to select the late Ernie Davis. Mitchell was not the first black signed by the Redskins. That distinction went to running back Ron Hatcher of Michigan State, who signed a contract five days before Mitchell.
Coach Bill McPeak converted Mitchel into a receiver. Mitchell added a new dimension to the team's offense and was named all-pro five times. When he retired following the 1968 season, he had caught 529 passes for 7,953 yards, an average of 13.3 per reception, and scored 65 touchdowns. He became a scout for the Redskins and is currently executive assistant to the president of the Redskins.
Tickets for the black tie affair, which begins with a reception at 7 p.m., are $45 apiece and may be reserved by calling the Touchdown Club.