Blake, c. 1903
|College||Vanderbilt (1903, 1905–1907)|
|High school||Bowen School|
January 31, 1885|
May 8, 1962 (aged 77)|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Robert Edwin Blake (January 31, 1885 - May 8, 1962) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player for the Vanderbilt Commodores of Vanderbilt University. Every football season in which he played, Blake was a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) championship team and unanimously selected All-Southern. He was a lawyer and Rhodes Scholar.
His three brothers, Dan, Vaughn, and Frank, also played on those winning teams. Dan, Bob, and Vaughn were captains of the 1906, 1907, and 1908 Vanderbilt football teams respectively. He thus signed letters "Bob Blake, pater familias."
Blake was born on January 31, 1885 in Cuero, Texas to Daniel Bigelow Blake, Sr. and Mary Clara Weldon. Dan, Sr. was a physician and once president of the Nashville Academy of Medicine. Bob Blake prepped at Bowen School.
Blake was Vanderbilt University's first athlete to earn 16 letters, participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He stood 6 feet and weighed 170 pounds. While a senior, Blake was honored as Bachelor of Ugliness.
Blake was a prominent end for Dan McGugin's Vanderbilt Commodores football teams in 1903 and from 1905 to 1907. He was also a punter and drop kicker. As a punter, one writer claimed others considered him "the best in the country." He was selected All-Southern unanimously each and every year he played, and Vanderbilt won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) championship in all of his years. In 1915, John Heisman called Blake one of the greatest players in Vanderbilt history, along with Ray Morrison and Owsley Manier.Grantland Rice once said about Bob Blake, "he was the only halfback who never lost a yard around right end."
A fellow student at Vanderbilt once said of Blake "He is an athlete and this has been one great factor in making him popular, but Bob Blake would have been a popular man if he had not been an athlete. In the third place he is interested in and takes an active part in every phase of college life. In the fourth place he has maintained himself well in scholarship, while not a brilliant student, he has, in my opinion, made a record above that of the average student." In the opinion of fellow Vanderbilt player Honus Craig, Blake was the South's greatest player. Blake was chosen for an all-time Vandy team in 1912, and for an Associated Press Southeast Area All-Time football team 1869–1919 era.
Vanderbilt won a major intersectional contest in 1906 when it defeated Carlisle 4–0 via a single, 17-yard Blake drop kick, "the crowning feat of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association season." The score was 4 to 0, as field goals then counted for 4 points. College Football Hall of Fame inductee Albert Exendine was playing for Carlisle. Frank Mount Pleasant missed four field goals.
He made Walter Camp's All-America Honorable Mention in 1907, as well as the first team All-American selection of Michigan coach Fielding Yost. Blake threw the pass to Stein Stone on a trick double-pass play which set up the score to beat Sewanee in 1907 for the SIAA championship, which was cited by Grantland Rice as the greatest thrill he ever witnessed in his years of watching sports. Blake missed two kicks on a slippery field in the 8–0 loss to Michigan.
In 1910, Blake was awarded a law degree and returned to Vanderbilt for one season as an assistant football coach for Dan McGugin. The 1910 team shocked defending national champion Yale with a scoreless tie.
After practicing law in Nashville from 1911 to 1919, he engaged in business in Saint Louis, Missouri. He was elected to the board of directors of the International Shoe company in 1921, and directed the company since 1929.
Blake was president of the Missouri Constitutional Convention and awarded the "Man of the Year" award for Saint Louis in 1944.
Blake died in St. Louis in 1962.