After I wrote about “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a few people let me know about Don “Barefoot” Post, billed as “the world’s only all-round barefoot athlete.”
So, here’s a bit of information about him.
[Update at the end.]
One of the first things one notices is that Don Post is really pretty good at self-promotion, and it appears that the bare feet were part of that promotion.
His first claim to fame was running in the 1947 Boston Marathon. The reason I talk about “self-promotion” is that he managed to get articles in the newspapers before the marathon. Here’s one from the Columbus Dispatch of March 26, 1947.
Barefoot Boys Plans To Try Marathon
ROCHESTER, N. Y. MAR. 26 —AP—After a month of jogging his way through the snow of Maplewood Park—without shoes—Donald A. “Barefoot” Post has professed himself ready for his first try at the Boston Marathon he’ll run barefoot.
Post has a 10-year carreer of barefoot athletics behind him, in football, basketball and softball. Thus far a 10-mile jaunt is the longest Post has managed in his training routine, but he feels that better weather conditions next month, plus and additional month of conditioning, will enable him to cover the 26-mile marathon course.
We’ll find out how that turned out later.
He was active in football, basketball, and baseball, at the semi-pro level. Here’s a story from 1947 regarding his football playing.
Barefoot Grid Player Feature of Sunday Game
The Rochester Brownie-Scarlets football team, which comes to Canandaigua this Sunday to meet the Merchants football team in its first at-home game, is not only one of the toughest operating this season in the Flower City area, but it also features on its squat the famed “Barefoot” Post, who claims to be the world’s only athelete who invariably performs without footwear of any kind.
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The Rochester team has a strong drawing attraction in “Barefoot” Post, who has quite a record, in addition to his eccentricity, as an all-around athelete, doing best in baseball, basketball and football. Post is said to be the only runner who ever attempted to run the 26-mile Boston marathon barefooted. He played every game of the past season with the barnstorming Ridge Clippers baseball team, and was last season’s most sensational feature in basketball in Buffalo, crashing into the sports pages of the Buffals daily press with a rash of news photos and columns of interviews.
By the way, a story a few days later noted that the coach never put him in the game, which pissed off the fans, and Post. At that point he jumped to a different team!
He also played basketball barefoot. Here’s an advertisement that appeared in a local paper announcing it (sorry about the quality—it’s the best I could find).
And of course a news story accompanied it. This is from January 2, 1948.
Barefoot Courtman With Ridge Clippers Opposing VFW Quint Here Sunday
Sunday afternoon the VFW basketball team plays host to the capable Rochester Ridge Clippers quintet on the Dunkirk High school surface.
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Featured with the squad to see action here will be Don “Barefoot” Post, rated as the world’s only all-around “barefoot” athlete. Don’s latest barefoot experience carried him through the tough and grueling 26-mile Boston marathon. “Barefoot” Post is truly an all-around athlete, competing in baseball, football, basketball and foot-races, always with his bare tootsies. He explains his barefoot antics with “Shoes bother my feet.” The VFW management had to agree to “Barefoot’s” usual request wherever he appears, namely, when he gets to town Sunday he will give out 10 autographed pictures of himself entitling youngsters who spot him barefooted on the downtown streets Sunday free admittance. Rain, snow or shine he just will not wear shoes and it will be something, to see him cavort on the hardwood without the help of shoes.
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And of course he also played (and managed) baseball. This is the standard shot in his baseball uniform.
Here’s a 1954 story on his baseball playing.
Barefoot Player In Benefit Game Here Saturday
This Saturday, Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m., on the Liberty Street ball diamond, the Penn Yan Merchants will be host to the Rochester Ridge Clippers. This group is headed by Don (Barefoot) Post, the world’s only all-round barefoot athlete. The game is being played as a benefit for the two injured Little League players, Paul Casetta and Wally Rhinehart. All proceeds receive will be forwarded toward the rapidly growing fund for the boys, which is now at about $1,2000. The American Legion is the latest contributor with $75.
At Saturday’s game the spectators will be treated to a rare sight, when Don Post plays one of the outfield positions in his barefeet. Post is the organizer of the Clippers and has taken part in sports in a very unusual manner. Statistics reveal that Post is perhaps the only athlete partaking of more than one sport and doing so without using shoes or socks. He has played an entire basketball game in his bare tootsies and has also run in the famous Boston Marathon. In this race he completed some 13½ miles of the 26-mile grind, before blisters forced him to retire.
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It looks like the “Ridge Clippers” were both a basketball and baseball team.
We also see what happened when he ran the marathon. Oh well. (I also saw another story that said he ran another marathon in South Africa.)
Barefoot Ted also has a write-up on “Barefoot” Post.
[H/T: The Barefoot Professor.]
Update, February 13, 2014:
I just got word that Don died last Thursday at age 89. Here is his obituary:
Clarkson, N.Y.: Feb. 6, 2014, Barefoot Post, 89. Predeceased by his wife, Marjorie. Survived by his son, Donald W. Post; his brother, Jerry (Joyce) Post; 3 nephews, Howard & Charles Appell and Jonathan Post; several cousins. Donald was a US Navy veteran of World War II, semi-pro baseball player, Kodak retiree and avid editorial writer.