Dr. James Edward Blair (August 5, 1871 - March 8, 1913) was an early professional football player with the Latrobe Athletic Association. He was also a skilled surgeon. He later relocated to Burlington, New Jersey, where he became active in He took a prominent part in the city council for a time and was a surgeon for the Third Battalion of the New Jersey National Guard. He was a charter member of the Burlington Elks Lodge and was a thirty-second degree Mason. He also was affiliated with the Sons of Veterans.
He began his career with the Latrobe A. A. in 1895 as an amateur player. However, his major claim to fame came when a scheduling conflict led to him being replaced by John Brallier, who became the first openly professional football player.
In 1895 Blair found himself in a scheduling conflict. Edward, who also played baseball in nearby Greensburg, discovered it that the team's first football game against the Jeannette Athletic Association conflicted with a prior baseball commitment. Latrobe manager David Berry, who was now seeking a replacement for Blair, had heard of Brallier's performance as the Indiana Normal quarterback and signed him to play in the game for $10 plus expenses.
Blair attended Saint Vincent College, located in Latrobe. He graduated from that school in 1892. Afterwards he attended the University of Pennsylvania where he played college football and college baseball. During his time at Penn, Blair played halfback on the football team and was a three year varsity player on the baseball team.
Edward was born in 1871 to Mr. and Mrs. John C. Blair, both of whom outlived him. He had two brothers, both of whom he outlived: Charles Richard Blair and Paul Blair, who also played on the Latrobe team. He had a wife and a son, who was seven at the time of his death.
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