Staley’s Bears 1920-1921

Charles Hubbard “Hub” Shoemake

Height: 6’0 Weight: 193
Born: 9/29/1899 Oskaloosa, IA
Died: 3/10/1984 Washington, DC
High School: Oskaloosa (IA)
College: Illinois, Bethany (WV)
Staley: 1920

The November 1920 issue of the Staley Journal reported “Hubbard Shoemake, the former star lineman with the University of Illinois Freshmen Varsity, is the latest addition to the fold. He will be remembered as the big fellow who scored the touchdown for the Kewanee Walworths in the game at Decatur several weeks ago and also sent away those long spiral punts. Shoemake is a lineman and was only used in the backfield by the Walworths because of his knowledge of the game. His home is at Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he made the All Iowa high school eleven several years ago…. The signing of Shoemake will give Coach Halas a dependable lineman or backfield man who can kick with the best of ‘em. ” On October 9, Shoemake had played left half back for the Walworths and scored their only touchdown in their 25-7 loss on Staley Field. On October 21 he signed on with the Staleys to play for a better team and surely a higher salary. Hub was one of at least three men who played for both Decatur and another team that season. He was also one of at least four Staley players who played college football after their “professional” careers.

Shoemake grew up in Iowa a little southeast of Des Moines. He graduated from high school in 1916 after having been the captain of both his football and basketball teams. He won All State football honors his senior year as a 192 pound end. He was working for a local express company when he registered for the draft in September 1918 but the war ended before he was called up for service. In 1919 he entered the University of Illinois and played tackle on the “Freshman Varsity.” After joining the Staley team in 1920 he and 200 Decatur fans traveled to Chicago to watch their team defeat the Chicago Tigers 10-0 at Cubs Park. After subbing in a few games Shoemake started at guard in the last four games of the season, all in Chicago. In addition to his Staley factory salary he received an additional $875.00 for his gridiron work.

Hub returned to his family in Iowa that December but in September 1921 joined former Staley teammate Sidney Gepford in playing football for the Bethany College Bisons in West Virginia. Shoemake enrolled as a freshman and that year lettered in football, basketball and baseball. In his sophomore year he kicked 10 extra points as his football skills were extolled in the 1923 Bethanian school yearbook.

“Shoe” has rightfully been termed the “Most finished lineman ever produced in Bethany College.” To watch “Hub” play was a keen delight and revelation. He always seemed to take out his man with apparent ease. And his long distance and accurate placing, in punts, decided the “breaks” in more than one game. With his experience, he certainly ought to be a bulwark of strength on next year’s team.”

The following season the now 193 pound lineman played at Bethany alongside former Staley teammates Roy Adkins, Sidney Gepford and Kile MacWherter. The Bethanian reported that “’ Shoe’ is probably the hardest hitting man on the squad and a mighty fighter. His being selected as all-state tackle signifies how he fills his position. ” During his senior year, Shoemake captained both the football and basketball teams before graduating in 1925. That year Hub married Pennsylvania native and Bethany classmate Margaret Elizabeth Hunter. Little is known of their life for the next several years as they lived in Wheeling, West Virginia.

In the fall of 1929 and 1930 Shoemake was hired to coach the line at Bethany, but the Bison teams were no longer very competitive as the yearbook explained, “It is Bethany’s policy to be represented in contests by student, not professional athletes.” The Shoemakes moved in with Margaret’s parents in 1930 and had son John as Hub worked with his father-in-law as insurance agents in Rochester, PA. After five years, Hub took his sales skills to Washington, D.C. to work for the accounting equipment firm Rol-Dex. He responded to Staley’s 1956 request for information about former football players but did not attend the team reunion that October at Wrigley Field. C. Hubbard Shoemake passed away at age 84 in Washington. His cremains were interred on April 23, 1984 in the Beaver Cemetery and Mausoleum in Pennsylvania near the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers.

Copyright @2016 Mark W. Sorensen