Trinity's Hall Of Famer: Mickey Kobrosky '37
Between 1934 and 1936, Trinity College football lost just two
games, and won 19, a staggering record for any time. Thus began the storied
career of Trinity coach Dan Jessee, but the underlying principle credit could
easily be given to one of Trinity’s most talented legends, Milton” Mickey”
Kobrosky’37 (1915-2003), who was Trinity’s first and only inductee into the
National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame this past summer.
To many contemporary Trinity students, 1936 is ancient history, although the college had already been in operation for 112 years, and the athletic program was already widely respected in the realm of collegiate sports. Mickey Kobrosky was in his senior football season in 1936, and graduated from the college in the spring of 1937 with 11 varsity letters: three in football (freshman didn’t play varsity), and four each in basketball and baseball. Kobrosky excelled as a passer, runner and defensive player on teams that went 19-2 over his three varsity football seasons (1934-36). In his sophomore season, the team went undefeated.
“As far back as I can remember, my father was treated as an athletic demigod,” said one of Mickey’s sons, Gary Kobrosky, “Everyone in the know, throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, or anybody that followed sports in the 30’s and 40’s was in awe of my dad. There was this celebrity status. An incredible cachet by association for the entire family with an amazing longevity to this day.”
While at Trinity, Kobrosky put up some dazzling numbers, recording 200 points (third in Trinity’s all-time rankings), while rushing for 1,861 yards (ninth in Trinity history) and completing 1,000 passing yards – all in just three seasons. He earned three-time All-Connecticut and All-New England honors, and was a Jewish All-American, and an Associated Press All- East Honorable Mention.
From 1935-36, Mickey Kobrosky’s abilities transcended Trinity’s small -school status as Grantland Rice and Stanley Woodward named him a Major School First Team All- American his junior and senior seasons.
Kobrosky’s phenomenal prowess in other sports was equally well known. As Mickey’s college roommate, Daniel Alpert‘37 recounted, “Once, while the Trinity baseball team (captained, of course, by Mickey Kobrosky) was playing a practice scrimmage, the coach of the track team requested that Mickey run over to the track to complete some events for the track meet. Unsurprisingly, Kobrosky threw the javelin, shot-put, and the discus, completed the long jump, winning at all four events, and returned to the baseball scrimmage without missing his turn at bat.”
After graduating Trinity, Kobrosky signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians, and played briefly for their minor league affiliate before playing one season for the NFL New York Giants shortly after a spectacular performance as the star player of the Eastern Collegiate Football All-Stars exhibition against those same New York Giants. After suffering a knee injury late in the 1937 NFL season, Kobrosky opted to go to medical school, a decision that pleased his father, a scrap-metal dealer in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Veteran’s Committee Honors Court selected Mickey Kobrosky to the NFF Hall of Fame, which has only recently begun accepting Division III athletes for induction. Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations for exceptions to eligibility that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago. Since Mickey Kobrosky had played nearly 75 years ago, this is an even more astonishing honor.
“My dad was the original embodiment of the scholar- athlete,” said Gary Kobrosky, “He was a pre- med student, class president and achieving such acclaim in three sports, and following up by entering medical school. His service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel, was very valued by the Veteran’s Committee”.
Dr. Milton Kobrosky, who with his wife, Elaine, resided in Longmeadow, Massachusetts with their daughter, Karen and four sons, Steven, Neil, Gary, and Glen, was also highly-regarded for his community service with the Boy’s Clubs of America and Springfield’s public schools. He served in the Army reserves for more than a quarter-century, and displayed an unwavering care and commitment to Springfield’s elderly, poor and disenfranchised.
Gary Kobrosky represented his dad and accepted the honor at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, and another son, Dr. Neil Kobrosky‘76 was also in attendance.The Kobrosky Family and the College would like to see some sort of permanent tribute to their father here at Trinity that would be a perpetual source of inspiration and ensure that Trinity’s legendary first member of the College Football Hall of Fame not be lost to the relentless march of time.