|Ray Buivid - Published in the Milwaukee Journal 10/30/1936.|
Ray "Buzz" Buivid (1915-1972)
Let me just say at the outset that I don't know what ethnicity Ray was. My research has found some indication that "Buivid" is a Latvian or Lithuanian name. On the other hand, both Latvia and Lithuania are in a part of Europe where borders switched frequently and ethnicities become fuzzy. Moreover, Lithuania and Poland shared (at least) a common king between 1569 and 1795. (I say "at least" because there was debate, even at the time, as to whether they were two countries with the same king, or were in fact the same country divided into two districts.) Therefore, I cannot say that Ray was not Polish. However, I can definitely claim him as one of our community because, at the very least, he joined it when he married Janna Celichowski, niece of Hattie Baranowski (see Featured Profile #12.)
Ray was born in Sheboygan, and lived there eight years before his family moved to Port Washington, He came to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University. He was an excellent athlete and became a starting back on the Golden Avalanche football team. In 1936, as captain and back, he led that team to one of its more memorable seasons which culminated in Marquette's first bowl appearance in the inaugural Cotton Bowl Classic on January 1, 1937. The game was billed as duel between two of college football's most prolific passers: Ray Buivid and Sammy Baugh of the TCU Horned Frogs. Unfortunately, Ray's offensive line was no match for the TCU rushers. He was shut out in that game and Marquette ended up losing to TCU 16-6.
Despite the final loss, 1936 had been a good year for Ray Buivid. So good, in fact, that he had ended up third in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named an All-American When the NFL draft came around, he was selected as the third pick overall, making him probably the highest player from our community ever selected in the NFL draft. Ray's route into the NFL ended up being not as straight as one of his passes. He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals, but they traded him to the Chicago Bears before the season started. Ray could not agree on a salary with George Halas, so he went to play for the New York Yankees (football team) of the American Pro League. However, he soon quit that team over a salary dispute and went back to Chicago to play for the Chicago Bears.
His NFL career was short, only two years, but it was memorable. In his rookie season, he was not a starter, but played behind veteran Bernie Masterson. However, he still saw substantial playing time and ended up sixth in the league in touchdown passes thrown. In fact, he threw five touchdown passes on one game, becoming the first NFL rookie to accomplish that feat. The Bears won the Western Division that year by 2 1/2 games and on went on to the NFL Championship. Unfortunately, there they lost to the Washington Redskins, led by Ray's Cotton Bowl nemesis, Sammy Baugh.
Some people attribute the shortness of Ray's career to the fact that he was a man ahead of his time. His talents and style of play is much closer so the modern quarterback than to the back of his day. Had he played a few years later, after the introduction of the "T" formation, he may have had a much bigger impact on the game.
After football, Ray had various jobs. He ended up working for General Electric. He was recovering from one heart attack, when he was struck again. He died in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on July 5, 1972 at the age of 56. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, Barbara Ann, and three grandchildren.
Another photograph of Ray during his Marquette days can be found here.
"Buivid "Buzzed" to Fame at Marquette," Milwaukee Journal, July 6, 1972, p. 7 on Google News.
"Buivid Takes His Bride in a Scene of Blue and Gold," Milwaukee Journal,October 20, 1940, p. 57 on Google News.
Cotton Bowl 1937
"Ex-MU Grid Ace Buivid Dead at 56," Milwaukee Sentinel, July 6, 1972, p. 9 on Google News.
1937 Chicago Bears Season on Wikipedia
1937 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards on Pro-Football Reference.com
Ray Buivid on Wikipedia.
Raymond "Buzz" Buivid on MU Scoop Wicki