Vincent H. Fraatz '33 (Football, Track)
Vinnie Fraatz, of Clifton Heights, Pa., was one of the finest track and football stars in Catholic University history. His athletic prowess was fully recognized in 1933 when he won a CUA senior male athlete’s highest honor, the Harris Cup.
“In every group of men there are leaders, men outstanding for mental abilities, men pre-eminent in physical qualities, men who are men; and so the Class of ’33 presents Vincent Herbert Fraatz as its best student, athlete, and gentleman. Uniquely the Philadelphian heads his department in the school of engineering, achieved fame as the greatest football end and greatest all-round track star in C.U. history, and was so modest, unassuming and upright throughout his four years that his biography reads as Merriwellian fiction.” – 1933 Cardinal yearbook.
Fraatz, who caught a 45-yard touchdown in a 60-0 victory over American in 1930, made his biggest impact on defense. He was chosen All-District his final two years (1931-32) and helped the squad post a 14-2-1 record. The 1932 Cards gave up just 21 points in eight games and recorded five shutouts. He was named to the Cardinals’ all-time football team in 1935.
“Vinnie Fraatz is, beyond a doubt, the finest end in the history of C.U. football,” the school’s student newspaper, The Tower, proclaimed in 1935. “He was a deadly tackler and a greyhound in speed.”
Fraatz and fellow CUA Hall of Famers Tommy Whelan and Bus Sheary represented the South in a 1932 North-South All-Star game in Baltimore.
“Vinnie Fraatz has no equal hereabouts,” The Tower said. “His keen football sense enabled him, time and again, to break up opposition plays by beautiful and well-timed tackles. There are few men that ever eluded the tenacious Vinnie, once he got within tackling distance of them. His speed in getting down the field under punts, his ability to snag and break up passes, and his all-around good sportsmanship, make his selection a wise one.”
CUA Track Coach Dorsey Griffith considered Fraatz to be his finest all-around performer. He set three Brookland Stadium records – in the 120-yard high hurdles, 220-yard low hurdles and the high jump. In 1931 he was high point scorer in all but one competition. In the second Catholic University Games indoor track meet that year, he led the Cardinals to victory over “such outstanding outfits” as Navy, Lafayette and Maryland. The triumph also gave the Cards the District AAU championship.
After graduating in 1933 with a degree in civil engineering, Fraatz coached ends on the Cardinals’ 1936 Orange Bowl-winning team.