Days to kickoff: 32
The “Phantom of Union Springs” was Auburn’s very first ALL-AMERICAN in football and Auburn’s very first ALL-AMERICAN in baseball! Did he wear jersey #32. Uh, nope. He wore #18 as a junior and #20 as a senior. Since he was ALL-AMERICAN on Auburn’s 1932 undefeated football team, I thought #32 was a great time to honor him. Besides, #20 is already too crowded, and Mr. Hitchcock is far too important in Auburn football history to take 2nd place on day 18 (sorry for the tease!).
Jimmie Hitchcock played tailback, quarterback and punter. He reportedly was listed in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” for punting 232 times and not having a single punt blocked. He led the Southern Conference in scoring as a senior and also led Auburn to the Southern Conference championship.
Those efforts earned him a spot on the Walter Camp All-American Team. Duke coach Wallace Wade called Hitchcock “the finest all-around back ever to play against any of my teams.” After graduating, he had a brief major league baseball career during which he married the daughter of a former Yankee pitcher and manager. Jimmie served in the Navy during World War II.
Best as I can tell, he and his wife, Dorothy, lived their post-war years in Auburn and/or Montgomery. He was a member of the AU Board of Trustees when his former teammate, Shug Jordan, was hired to be Auburn’s head football coach. Jimmie Hitchcock was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. According to the Montgomery YMCA, Hitchcock’s interest in and devotion to youth athletics (perhaps his two sons were a catalyst), led to the introduction of Little League Baseball in Montgomery.
Since his death in 1959, deserving high school students in the Gump have been honored with the Jimmy Hitchcock Memorial Award.
Other actual 32s: Carl "Hollywood" Stewart, Stacy Danley, William Andrews, Adlai Trone and Rudi Johnson.
--compiled by TarHeelTiger