My Least Favorite Hawk – Bobby Hull

Continuing in the series, Alex Sheridan (@lawnie2 and The Full Amonte) has a few words for Bobby Hull.

This is the best thing Bobby Hull ever gave us. I could give two shits about his team-record 604 goals, 1,153 career points, or status as the first player to ever break the 50 goal mark. Hell, a 1961 Stanley Cup is pretty much worthless to me, too. His son, on the other hand, is one of the greatest goal scorers of all time, and trolls Buffalo like nobody’s business (I bet Brett never missed wide right…) But how can I praise a guy who played much of his career in St. Louis and Detroit, while shoveling shit on his father, whose number is in the rafters at the United Center?

Because Bobby Hull is a wife-beating piece of shit, that’s how.

Hull’s second wife, Joanne, whom he wed in 1960 and divorced in 1980, told an ESPN documentary in 2002 that she “took a real beating” at his hands. She described an incident during which Hull “threw me in the room, and just proceeded to knock the heck out of me. He took my shoe – with a steel heel – and proceeded to hit me in the head. I was covered with blood. And I can remember him holding me over the balcony, and I thought this is the end, I’m going.”

She filed to end the marriage in 1970 after several more incidents, but they reconciled until Hull threatened her with a loaded shotgun in 1978. Their daughter, Michelle, also described his pattern of behavior to “Sports Century,” and she now works as an attorney specializing in domestic violence.

He remarried in 1984, but the incidents of physical abuse continued for new wife Deborah. Hull was arrested in the parking lot of their Willowbrook condominium in 1986 during a violent domestic altercation, and was eventually convicted for taking a swing at an intervening police officer. Willowbrook Police Chief Steven List said “there was evidence he had struck his wife in the face. She had some contusions, some swelling.”

And yet, the Golden Jet’s consistently flushed face shows up on the Jumbotron at more than a few Hawks games a year, and everybody laughs and cheers for Drunk Uncle Bobby while Tony Esposito stands next to him wondering “why in the hell did I do those Binny’s commercials again?” The Blackhawks parade Hull around as a pillar of days gone by, when hockey players were hockey players and men could threaten their wives with shotguns when dinner wasn’t ready on time. When the balcony had more uses than a nice place to relax. When stilettos weren’t for porn stars, but to be used as blunt implements.

Now, in a post-“The Decision” world, leaving your team for money would get you crucified, both by fans and in the press. And Chicago, a city known for a slight inferiority complex (the Second City nickname came from somewhere, you know), would be the first place you’d see burning of jerseys in the street if, say, Jonathan Toews ever bolted to Winnipeg to play for his hometown Jets. But how easy we forget that Hull took a million bucks to go to the city of no parks to play in the WHA, thereby alienating himself from an entire generation of Hawks fans. It’s a damn shame things didn’t stay that way.

But wait, there’s more! In 1998, Hull told a Russian newspaper that, and I’m quoting verbatim here, “Hitler had some good ideas.” Further, Bobby offered no defense when asked if it would be fair to describe him as a racist, saying “I don’t give a damn. I’m not running for political office.”

And yet, here we are in 2014, Bobby Hull holding a title literally meaning a person who represents an organization. And while 99% of Hawks fans are cheering a decrepit old man who last made a real impact on this team in 1961, I’ll be jeering a racist piece of shit who last made an impact on his partner in 1986.

  • vegasvics

    Don’t sugar coat it

  • OMFS88


  • raditzzzz

    i dont think there would be jersey burning if toews left for a big contract with winnipeg, or kane did the same with buffalo. now detroit, st. louis or vancouver… thats a different story.

    • Gary

      When Bobby left the Hawks/NHL,the player had no leverage.No free agency,You were a Hawk or a Wing etc until management said otherwise. At that time Chicago was the lowest paying team in the league. That said I’m not excusing his abuse issues.

  • Brain Sprain

    Why no mention of the statue? Is there a social media campaign brewing to have it removed? I would argue that is more insulting to female hockey fans than our beloved ice crew.

    Can some of the lady commenters opine on that?

    • Brain Sprain

      Ladies opine on the women battering….everyone else is welcome to voice their opinion on the racists stuff. Leave the statue or tear it down?

  • Commit88

    While it is pretty brutal to hold someone, especially your wife over a balcony, I’m glad nobody here has any skeletons in their closets. Oh wait, most of us probably have shitty things we’ve done we wouldn’t want newspapers writing about.

    • seabsrat

      I think we all have skeletons, but what upsets me is when someone says or does something truly awful and then doesn’t seem to show any remorse or signs of changing their behavior for the better. Thats what makes someone very despicable.

    • Andrew Heitman

      Yes, let he who is free of spousal abuse cast the first stone….wait…I should be all set then…whewf, that was a tall bar to hurdle.

    • boldmatter

      well i never held a loved one off a balcony. that’s a “skeleton” i think most of us manage to avoid

  • Znarf Dnanidref

    I agree with the gist of what Alex is saying here. Unless I’m mistaken, however, it appears as though several paragraphs of this article are just copied and pasted verbatim directly from the Bernstein article linked within.

    • That’s my mistake in transcibing Alex’s formatting from his submission to us. No plagiarism intended.

    • Lawnie

      Yes, you’re right. I meant for that to be a quote but the formatting didn’t come through. Sorry for what appeared to be misleading. It’s been corrected now.

      -the author

  • jordyhawk

    Bobby was a clean, gentlemanly player so it’s always been tough to reconcile that with the off-ice allegations. He looked like a schmuck hanging off Brett and it was obvious Brett didn’t fully embrace him as a father (they were definitely no Ned and Todd Flanders if that helps). Now he looks looks blotto whenever I see him.

    Stan however (that’s Mr. Mikita) looks better with age. When you consider he wore the Indian Head for 22 years, completely reinvented himself as a player, won everything, and stuck around during some of the really dark years (I know, he got paid) he’s my all-time favorite Hawk. I have heard it suggested he may have early signs of dementia. I hope not, but whatever it is I wish him the best.

    • YoAdrienne

      I was really disappointed when I heard about the domestic abuse. I always liked Bobby up until then. Now, he just makes me cringe when I see him. Sure, he’s a hoot in the convention sessions, but I’d just as soon hear from some of the other old-timers that don’t get much attention. I’m sure they all have good stories, too. And, I’ll bet some of them are just as funny. Stan Mikita is a great example. He’s hilarious!

      Stosh is my all-time favorite Hawk, too. I haven’t heard about the dementia, but he was diagnosed with short-term memory loss back in January or February. Either way, I’m not really surprised by it, given the number of years he played without a helmet. (A lot of people don’t know that he designed one of the first hockey helmets after getting a concussion.} He also had oral cancer a few years ago, and got radiation therapy for it. It’s quite possible the treatment caused problems, too. It’s sad to think about, but I’m really happy to see him out there at a lot of the Hawks shindigs. He’s still kicking.

  • Great piece… you know you are a scumbag when your son won’t even play nice in the public spotlight. Especially back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s the iceberg theory is in full effect… if that’s the stuff that was actually made public, I can’t even imagine the stuff he did that got swept under the rug.

    He’s a piece of trash, I’ll never cheer him.

  • VanDorp’sMullet

    Sadly, this is an excellent choice and for all the right reasons. When I was a kid, Hull and Mikita were legends to me… and they still are, but one of them is just a legendary fuckwad.

  • Late to the post, but this is a good choice, for reasons mentioned above and below. I was waiting for Bobby to get the treatment … and it truly is an (unfortunately) spectacular job of marketing the Hawks have managed on this one.

    hull’s a weird case, too … he’s a player I grew up admiring from afar. I wasn’t old enough to watch him play as a Hawk, but as a Hawks fan, it was assured I’d be a fan forever. then, slowly over the years (for me) his off-ice personality became known. Tough to reconcile that sometimes.

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      Well said.

  • Pilotefan

    Idolized Bobby when I was young and thought that after ’61 the Hawks would ascend to a dynasty and put the Habs in the past.
    No more Cups for 41 years and Bobby became a drunken abuser of women.
    Growing up is a bitch.

  • cza
  • Mike

    You do know where the “Second City” nickname came from, right?

  • oldguy

    If I recall correctly his first marriage at age 17, to the daughter of the St Catherines teepees owner, was annulled shortly after he blackened both of her eyes.