Fred Chicken played for the Minneapolis Marines (1913, 1915-17)

Fred Samuel “Chick” Slepica, a.k.a. “Fred Chicken” from Minneapolis, Minnesota, used the last name Chicken throughout his lifetime. In the Czech language, “Slepica” means “hen.” A Minneapolis North athlete, he played football, basketball, and baseball for the high school. He went on to manage and play forward on the Ascension Parish independent basketball team. Chicken also played baseball for the North Minneapolis Creams, the Crystals, East Side Eagles, J. C. Donahues, and Olsons. After high school, Chicken went on to play two seasons of baseball for the Lethbridge Miners (1909-1910) and one season for the Calgary Bronchos (1911) in the Western Canada League (WCL). He then played football for Bobby Marshall’s Hennepins (1911) alongside his brother, Joe Chicken. Fred then played baseball for the Seattle Giants and Tacoma Tigers in the Northwestern League (1912). He also continued to play basketball with the Ascension Parish team, which found a sponsor in Dakota Business College in Fargo, North Dakota, and later in the Cooke Institute athletic club in Minneapolis. The Ascension team played games as far west as Billings, Montana, and perhaps Butte. He also appeared as a member of the Company B basketball team, which was sponsored by the Minnesota National Guard. He played for the Saskatoon Quakers (1913) baseball team in the WCL.

Chicken then played fullback and halfback for the Minneapolis Marines (1913, 1915-17), West Duluth (1916), and Rock Island Independents (1917, 1919-20). Outside of football, he played baseball for the Edmonton Eskimos (1914) and Great Falls Electrics (1916-17) in the WCL and for the Elgin Watch Makers (1915) in the Bi-State League. While he was with the Marines, Chicken worked as a bookkeeper in the Hennepin County Auditor’s office.

During World War I, Chicken played for the U.S. Army Air Service Mechanics School (1918) service team, and he played for the Minnesota All-Stars (1921) and the Ironwood Legion (1922). He went on to work as an accountant for Northern States Power Company. He later umpired baseball in La Cross, Wisconsin.

In 1960, Star Tribune columnist Dick Cullum talked to Ossie Solem, the former Marines coach, and Solem said, “The greatest high school prospect who never went to college was Fred Chicken.” Born April 5, 1888, Chicken passed away on November 24, 1968.

Read more in Mill City Scrum, the history of Minnesota's first team in the National Football League.

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