San Francisco 49ers Fathead

Frankie Albert Biography
Frankie Albert was the first starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. The 5-10 166 pound left handed QB was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 10th pick of the first round of the 1942 NFL Draft. After serving in World War II in the Navy, Frankie Albert found his opportunity in the new All-American Football Conference or the AAFC. Albert who was born on January 27, 1920 would be the first of many great quarterbacks in San Francisco 49ers history.

Frankie Albert Jersey #63 & #13

Player Info

Height 5' 10"
Weight 166 lbs
DOB: 1/27/1920


Pro Football Reference

NFL Draft

1942/Round 1/Pick 10

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Career Highlights

All Pro 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949
Pro Bowl 1950
Awards 1948 AAFC CO-MVP (with Otto Graham)
Records 88 TD Passes - AAFC Record
29 TD Passes Season - AAFC Record

Team(s) As A Player

San Francisco 49ers 1946-1952

Frankie Albert “Mr. Bootleg”

Before there was Steve Young, or Boomer Esiason, there was a great left handed quarterback named Frankie Albert. Shaughnessy (Albert’s college coach) called Albert “a magician with the ball.” To further describe Albert’s talents. “He was neither strong nor fast,” Shaughnessy told Esquire magazine in 1943. “His talents were primarily those of a faker.”

Frankie Albert was famous for inventing the bootleg, or at least perfecting it. He would fake a handoff to the running back and then roll out with the ball hidden by his hip. “I guess my ability to handle the ball made me effective,” he said modestly. “I was pretty good on a bootleg. I could hide the ball and run it if I had to.” (2)

When Albert would roll out he would normally be looking for his star receiver Alyn Beals. “Beals was my main receiver,” said Albert. “Boy, did he have some great moves! He was a good faker. I can remember several times setting up to pass and watching the defensive back fall down after Alyn put a fake on him. The back would trip over his own feet. I'd look at the defensive man lying on his butt while Alyn was wide open.” (2)

Some football historians would compare Albert to another scrambling quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Both players could really move around and buy time. Neither had a particularly strong arm, but both could make plays especially when the play would break down. “At least with Tarkenton, those guys knew Francis had the ball,” Don Paul (former Rams linebacker) said. “With Frankie Albert we weren't always sure. Then he would stand there and laugh at you.” (1)

Frankie Albert’s Greatest Games

During his first four seasons in the AAFC, the Cleveland Browns were the arch rival of the San Francisco 49ers. Not only were these the best two teams in the AAFC, they also featured the best two quarterbacks, Otto Graham and Frankie Albert. Albert and the 49ers did not beat the Browns often, but it was a huge victory when that happened.

It was October 27, 1946 and the San Francisco 49ers travelled to Cleveland to play the mighty Browns. Frankie Albert was fantastic completing 14 of 21 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Alyn Beals for two of his touchdowns, 15 and 16 yards and a 9 yard touchdown to Durdan. The Niners beat Cleveland 34-20. After the game, Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown praised the 49ers, especially Albert. "They outplayed us and we had it coming to us," the All-America coach said, adding: “And that fellow Albert is one very tricky guy.” (3)

Once again they would play the Cleveland Browns. This time it was in San Francisco on October 9, 1949. The Browns had Pro Football’s first undefeated season in 1948 and were once again the toughest team in the league. However, this day would belong to Frankie Albert. He threw a then AAFC record five touchdown passes. (Otto Graham broke his record the next week with six) This was perhaps the 49ers greatest showing in the old AAFC.

Frankie Albert Career Stats

During Frankie Albert’s seven year pro football career he completed 831 of 1564 passes for 10795 yards, threw 115 touchdowns and had 98 interceptions. He also ran the ball 329 times for 1272 yards and 27 more touchdowns. In 1948, Frankie Albert had his best statistical season. He was 154 of 264 passes for 1990 yards with 29 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions. Frankie Albert was Co-AAFC MVP along with Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham.

By A. Goodin,
October 13, 2009

Frankie Albert Biography Sources

(1)  Frankie Albert, a Pioneering Quarterback, Is Dead at 82 (2002, September 9) New York Times
(2)  THE COFFIN CORNER: Vol. 7, No. 5 (1985) FRANKIE ALBERT: "MR. 49ER" By Joseph Hession

(3)  Frankie Albert's Passes Baffle Clevelanders Who Suffer Terrific Letdown (1946, October 28) Evening Independent pg. 14