Ben Agajanian, the ‘Toeless Wonder’ kicker for the Rams and Chargers, died at age 98
Ben Agajanian, a Southern California native who thrived for parts of three decades as an NFL kicker even after the amputation of four toes, died this month at age 98.
Agajanian, known as the “Toeless Wonder,” kicked for the Rams and Chargers during both teams’ initial runs in Los Angeles. He died on Feb. 8, according to an online obituary.
Born in Santa Ana in 1919, Agajanian graduated from San Pedro High and played at Compton College before he enrolled at the University of New Mexico. During that time, a freight-elevator accident led to Agajanian’s loss of four toes, but that only briefly stopped his football career.
Agajanian had a squared-off football cleat fashioned for his use and, four years after he went undrafted out of New Mexico, Agajanian signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1945.
That signing started a 19-year pro career that included one-year stints with the Rams (1953) and Chargers (1960) and a two-year run with the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference (1947-48).
Agajanian won NFL championships with the New York Giants (1953) and Green Bay Packers (1961) and retired in 1964, at age 45, after a brief stint with the San Diego Chargers. Agajanian then joined the Dallas Cowboys as a kicking instructor, and became known for teaching soccer-style kickers how to approach the ball.
Agajanian opened the Long Beach Athletic Club in 1972, which became a magnet for the era’s best handball players.
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