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Throwback Thursday: Art Donovan

After a hiatus, Ben Lamers returns with a new Throwback Thursday series. Over the coming weeks (and probably month or two) we'll be looking at Colts players or personnel who have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. First up: Art Donovan.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I've been sitting on this idea for a little over a month. But between traveling for work and traveling for races, all with a computer that was dead and did not charge, I obviously haven't gotten a chance to write in a while.

That wait is over (cue your cheers...or your boos).

As many of you know, the Colts saw both Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison be selected to enter the Hall of Fame this fall.

In honor of this, I thought it would be fun to profile a different Colts Hall of Famer each week as a part of Throwback Thursday.

To qualify, in my book, as a "Colts Hall of Famer" the player will have needed to play a bulk, or at least a significant portion, of their career in either Baltimore or Indianapolis. I'm sure I'll run into some trouble about players I include, or don't include, down the line on this list. But we can cross that bridge when we get there.

The first player we'll be featuring is the great Art Donovan.

Donovan grew up in the Bronx, and was a standout football player in high school, receiving a scholarship to play football at Notre Dame. However, after one year, Donovan left Notre Dame to serve in the US Marines. With the Marines, Donovan fought in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. After the conclusion of the war, Donovan finished his degree at Boston College.

Donovan was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 22nd round of the 1947 draft.

This Baltimore Colts team, though, was not the team you are probably all thinking of, these were the "original Colts" if you will. While he was drafted in 1947, Donovan's rookie season was in 1950. At the end of the season, that Colts team disbanded.

Donovan was signed by the New York Yanks in 1951. The team folded after the season.

That franchise was moved to Dallas, where they became the Dallas Texans for the 1952 season. Donovan was on that team as well. The Texans also folded.

Then Donovan wound up on the newly established Baltimore Colts team, the one we have all come to know and love.

In his first five seasons with the Colts, Donovan was a Pro Bowler, and was also named to the All Pro team in four of those seasons. While not a Pro Bowler in 1958 or 59, Donovan won two World Championships with the Colts. A nice trade off.

He was also named to the 1950s All Decade team. Donovan would retire from the NFL in 1961, and was named a Hall of Famer in 1968. He became the first Colts player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Donovan's number is one of only eight numbers to be retired by the Colts franchise.

If any of you have seen any old interviews, or own any Colts history DVDs, you will have seen Donovan on them. Off-the-field (and I would assume on it) Donovan was quite the character. Once his playing career ended, he did make some appearances with both Dave Letterman and Johnny Carson.

Donovan was the first Colt to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he wasn't the last. We'll check back in next week to look at another Colts Hall of Famers.