Fred S. Chicken
RII: 1917, 1919, 1920
*1918 - In Service
Fred Chicken - Came to the Independents with his good friend Rube Ursella. Ursealla and Chicken joined the Independents for their last game of the season in 1917. Chick was a key player in the Independents rise to fame.
Crop from 1919 Independents Team Photo
Fred S. Slepicka was born in Minnesota in 1888. Fred and one of his 8 Brothers changed their name to Chicken, (the literal translation of Slepicka). Fred attended Minneapolis North High School where he starred in Baseball and Football. In 1907 the football team was undefeated and unscored upon in Minneapolis. Minneapolis North challenged the Illinois state champions from Oak Park to a game. Fred and his team won easily and proclaimed themselves champions of the Midwest.
In 1920 several of the former Marines remained in Rock Island to play for the Independents in the first season of the league that would become the N.F.L. The team finished a respectable 6-2-2. The team developed a rivalry with George Halas and the Decatur Staleys (who would become the Chicago Bears in 1922). During the second matchup of the teams several of the Independents were injured including Fred who had his leg broken by George Trafton. Fred left the team after the injury and would not play again for the Independents.
In 1921-1924 Fred played for his old them the Minneapolis Marines. During this time he continued to play baseball for several different teams around the country and in Canada. Fred was just as good of baseball player and played AAA baseball in Seattle towards the end of his professional career.
Thanks to the Chicken family for the Information.
Rock Island Argus - October 11th, 1919