Despite standing a mere 5 foot 6 inches tall and 165 pounds, John “Johnny” Biancone was a highly decorated quarterback and halfback for the Oregon State College Beavers from 1931-1934. This trophy, I’m assuming, was given to Biancone his senior year by Oregon State to commemorate his playing days at OSC.
John graduated from Portland’s Benson High School in 1930, where he lettered three times in five different sports. He was a member of the 1928 City Championship Team, captain of a soccer team that was undefeated all four years, and he was also a State Wrestling Champion in 1929. He is a member of the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame.
While at Oregon State, John lettered three years in football and baseball (back then they could not play on Varsity as a Freshman so they couldn’t earn letters for that year). On the gridiron, John played both halfback and quarterback under coaches Paul Schissler and then Lon Stiner. It appears he switched between HB and QB during games, depending on what was working. A 1932 news article from a rival team city said John was “a dashing, tricky open field runner.” While he played football during 1933, it doesn’t appear he was on the field during the Beavers famous “Ironmen” game, where only 11 players played every minute on both offense and defense in a 0-0 tie against a two time National Champion USC team that suited up 80 men for the game. While I haven’t done the research, I’m assuming Biancone was injured for that game.
After college John spent one year in 1936 playing quarterback in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers, where records indicate he played in 5 games (they played far fewer games back then). The following preseason he broke his leg and was released by the Dodgers, ending up with the Paterson (NJ) Panthers of the American Association (more of a minor league team) for a couple years.
Fast forward to 1942, and Biancone, like many men his age, found himself in the Army stationed at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in California. At this base, Captain Biancone was the manager of the its football and baseball teams. It seems he was the Athletic Director for the entire base, which at the time, had many former college and pro athletes in the army stationed there. The large army bases would put together athletic teams to compete against other military bases, college teams, and even professional teams. Biancone’s 1943 baseball team compiled an impressive record, including a winning streak of 20 straight games behind the stellar hitting of their star centerfielder who you may have heard of… Joe DiMaggio!
This neat trophy stands about 7 inches tall and the football player and plaque are silver or silver plated. Is I said, I presume this was given to Biancone by OSU at the end of his senior season, either because he was a team Captain, MVP, or they could have given these to all the seniors. A cool piece of 80+ year old Oregon State history!
In the last picture below from 1932, John Biancone (far right) is standing next to his coach at OSU, Paul Schissler (center), and teammate Harold Moe (far left).