Many of you know the story—For those who don’t read on.  For those who do, skip to the bottom for a little Jug update.

PANIC(!) erupted in mid-September 1931.   The coveted Little Brown Jug, the symbol of the Michigan-Minnesota rivalry, vanished from the U-M Administration building.   A frantic search ensued sending media relations man Phil Pack (think of a vintage Bruce Madej) all over town chasing leads.  Based on a tip Pack even searched a few cider mills..but those visits proved fruitless.  /wink

Then, on November 19, 1931, the very same week of the Minnesota game that season, a car pulled up to the Tuomy Hills gas station (now the Bearclaw Coffee at the corner of Washtenaw and Stadium) with four men wearing “dark goggles.”   One of the disguised passengers rolled out a jug onto the pavement & it was scooped up by gas station attendant K.D. Smith.   While initial reports were skeptical of the authenticity of the crock, which was said to have been “freshly painted”, Fielding H. Yost himself inspected it and said it was indeed the real McCoy.  A local sports writer said Yost was full of it, calling it “a clever imitation.” 

Michigan retained the jug in 1931 but then headed back to Minneapolis in 1932.  Yost went along on the trip (Harry Kipke coached the squad) and was bombarded by the press with questions on authenticity of the trophy.   Old “Hurry Up” told them, “Why sure, it’s the real jug.  Take a look at it.  Does it look like a phony?”  [memo: Yes, it more than kind of looked like a phony apparently.]  Thankfully the Wolverines retained the jug in 1932 and Kipke, Yost and crew traveled home with the prized piece of stoneware.  And since we’re all friends here, I’ll add that U-M went onto to an undefeated season and took the 1932 national championship.

Then in 1933…on this day eighty years ago…another jug appeared on campus.  A little media outfit named the New York Times reported thusly:

1933 New York Times

Now Yost confirms that this is the authentic jug (effectively admitting he tried to pass off the “gas station jug” as the real deal).  The Grand Old Man claimed ignorance on what happened or who was involved with the thievery and the return, but openly asked for the person responsible for keep the jug the last 2 years contact him.

The full timeline events from the 1931 disappearance is here.   And all of your Little Brown Jug Lore is here.

 

Note 1: Commemorative?:  Attention Jug fans and Jug Brotherhood.  My spies tell me that the outfit that undoubtedly spun and kilned the original Brown Jug, Red Wing Pottery, are considering issuing a commemorative jug in honor of this special season which is the 110th anniversary of the 1903 6-6 tie (that launched the LBJ rivalry) and/or the 100th meeting between our two schools.   Nothing firm..but I’m efforting the details.  Stay tuned.

Note 2: Fourth and Long:  Unconfirmed…but there might be a little shoutout to the Jug and a Jugologist in John U.’s soon-to-be released book, Fourth and LongGet it now!

Note 3:  Follow MVictors on Twitter 

Michigan Football Tickets

** H/T goes to Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag for dropping this tasty morsel into the very rich with tradition Michigan Football History Calendar, effectively validating why we creating the calendar in the first place.

Michigan Football Tickets

On this day in 1946 Michigan lost its Grand Old Man—Fielding H. Yost.   This was an eBay Watch topic back in 2009 thanks to the auction of a press wire photo from Yost’s funeral procession, held on from August 22, 1946 in Ann Arbor.  The photo depicts the casket and his pallbearers:

For as many times as you’ve speculated that Yost was rolling over in his grave, now you’ve got an idea of what he’s rolling in.  Curiously the gent who composed the photo caption spelled Bennie Oosterbaan’s first name correctly (with the “ie”, often butchered as Benny) but laid an egg hammering when it came to his last name (“Oosterbaum”).  Bah.

The caption of the wire photo reads “GRAND OLD MAN OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL LAID TO REST”.

I can’t summarize Yost’s impact on Michigan athletics in a single post and won’t really try to.  While he was not a man without flaws, he leveraged his incredible success on the football field along with his business acumen to lead U-M to build an athletic campus (for men, for women, and in spirit, for the people of the State of Michigan) that was years ahead of its time, with iconic structures like Yost Field House, the U-M Golf Course, and of course Michigan Stadium still standing and very much operating today.

The day Yost passed must have been a sad day for everyone in Ann Arbor and for the college football world in general.  Except maybe in South Bend.  It was probably a similar feeling as we had a few years back when we lost Bo or to Buckeye fans when Woody passed on.

BTW, and speaking of Woody’s demise…creepily this is not the first time a coffin has appeared on eBay Watch, as in 2008 I featured the auction of Bob Ufer’s makeshift coffin for his Woody Hayes doll:

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Originally posted  March 21, 2009

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Cigars, Ghosts, Field Houses and Yost.

You get a little bit of it all and more in this week’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History.  Enjoy:

Want more?  Check out:
Yost Steps off the Sidelines, for now 
Leathernecks Help Dedicate Yost Field House (1923)

 

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.   Listen to it live tomorrow on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or catch it live at the Wolverine Beer Tap Room.

Just a reminder the segment is sponsored by Stadium Trophy which has partnered with WTKA on its ‘Michigan High School Scholar Athlete of the Week Award’ segment.  

1974 Rose Bowl MichiganSalute!  via Dr. Sap’s archives

The Stanford Cardinals (yes, s) came to town exactly 39 years ago Saturday and surely braced themselves to face Bo Schembechler in the 1973 home opener.   TWIMFbH gets into that game and much more.  Have a listen…includes a couple salutes to the great Bob Ufer:

As discussed in the clip, the boys from Palo Alto hold a special place in Michigan football history as they were the lambs opponents vs. Fielding Yost’s undefeated, untied, and unscored upon Point-A-Minute crew in the 1902 Rose Bowl.   Staring at a 49-0 deficit with eight minutes still left in the game, the Indians found the only white towel that wasn’t blood-stained and waved it, begging for mercy.  It was granted.

Fast forward nearly four decades and it was once again Stanford who faced another one of the finest Wolverines squads in history—this time Fritz Crisler, Bob Chappuis and the Mad Magicians of 1947.  Once again Michigan hung 49 (to Stanford’s 13) on October 4, 1947.

Bo Schembechler didn’t hold back either when the Cardinals visited in ‘73, thirty-nine years ago this Saturday, in fact he practically beat the “s” of the Stanford nickname (although that wouldn’t officially happen until 1981), winning 47-10.

But ‘73 is better remembered by U-M fans by the vote of Big Ten commissioners that occurred at the conclusion of the regular season.   We salute you (see bumper sticker above) and We Never forget!

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.   Listen to it live tomorrow on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or catch it live at the Wolverine Beer Tap Room.

Just a reminder the segment is sponsored by Stadium Trophy which has partnered with WTKA on its ‘Michigan High School Scholar Athlete of the Week Award’ segment.  

1902 usher

So you don’t see many authentic items on eBay that fall inside the Yost Point-A-Minute era from 1901 to 1905.   There’s one up now.

Left you’ll find a Usher’s ribbon for the Thanksgiving day game held on November 27, 1902.  It’s the last game played between the Gophers and Wolverines that didn’t involve a certain water crock.  It wasn’t until the following year, 1903, that the Little Brown Jug was purchased in Minneapolis, left behind after the game and reclaimed by Michigan in 1909…and the rest is college football history. 

Looking at the Usher’s ribbon, it looks to be authentic, although I’m not suggesting that someone would have the stones to forge such a thing, but you never know. 

Having written on this stuff for a while now when I first spotted the ribbon I knew I’d seen that font style before.  Sure enough, on this vintage MVictors post from 2006, you clearly see the athletic department favored that print type on official materials including this 1901 season athletic pass that I’ve give my right pinky to have on my wall.

The usher who donned this silk ribbon watched Michigan take down the Gophers 23-6 in the ‘02 season finale.  Yost and crew once again ran the table finishing the season a perfect 11-0, outscoring opponents 644-12 to claim the national championship–although the New York Times seemed to favor Yale and everyone/anyone else on the east coast. 

Want to own this beauty?  Current bid is at $49.99 and it ends in 5 days. 

Related:
1900 – Elephants at Michigan & Trumbull
1902 – Rah-Rah-Rah Rose Bowl Rout
1902 – Some Vintage Rose Bowl Cheer

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For a man whose heyday was in the first part of the 20th century, we certainly know a lot about Fielding Yost, on and off the field.   His robust collection of personal letters were donated to U-M in the early 1970s.  We have countless photos of the Old Man and even a compilation how he looked since he arrived in Ann Arbor:

 

Have you ever heard his voice?  Ever wonder what he sounded like?   We know legendary radio voice Bob Ufer made famous Yost’s pronunciation of Meechigan. 

Well check this out.   As Yost was preparing to retire from U-M in 1940, he was honored with a nationwide radio presentation dubbed, ‘A Toast to Yost from Coast to Coast’.   John U. Bacon mentioned the tribute in Three and Out:  “..his admirers put on a tribute in his eponymous Field House, broadcast on NBC radio and titled “A Toast to Yost from Coast to Coast” (which was also the title of a popular song).”

The Bentley has the original recording of that tribute, choppy in spots, but well worth a listen if you have the means.   The highlight for me is certainly hearing the voice of the legendary Yost as he addresses the audience.   Here’s a small clip where Yost recaps his history of coaching then talks about when he stepped off the train in Ann Arbor for the first time:

You get a little taste of that Meechigan at about 14 seconds in.

There’s much more, even a speech from then-judge Willie Heston and a great story from the man who hired Yost, Charles Baird.  I’ll post a few more clips later on.

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[ed. Repost, originally from April 2011 ]

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You might know that Yost Ice Arena, the current home of your beloved Frozen Four bound hockey squad, was once the home of the Michigan basketball team.  Up on eBay right now is a wire pic of hoops star Cazzie Russell and notice the gent who’s featured on the wall with his familiar grin:

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I’d like to see that giant photo hanging somewhere inside Yost–AD Dave Brandon, you must bring it back.  Extend the Yost brand!

Bring back the Old Man!  What better place than here?  What better time than now?

Beat Irish!

Update March 9:  Yes, I was up to something.  Indeed the Children of Yost will unveil their new flags tonight at Yost for the ND-Michigan hockey tilt… including…the old man!!:

yost2

Readers of this site probably know that the season of 1909 is a real favorite of mine.  So much went down that year, and a true piece of college football history recently showed up on eBay from that epic season.  It’s a U-M athletic department-issued scorecard from the 1909 Notre Dame-Michigan game held at Ferry Field:

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This is a huge day in Notre Dame football history.  The Irish, coached by former Yost player and assistant Frank ‘Shorty’ Longman, defeated Michigan 11-3 for their first victory (ever) over the Wolverines.   Some contend that the game even was the origin of Notre Dame’s nickname:

Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates – who happened to have names like Dolan, Kelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan – "What’s the matter with you guys? You’re all Irish and you’re not fighting worth a lick."

Notre Dame came back to win the game and press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish."

My hunch is someone out there knew the significance, as the righteous piece of cardboard fetched a cool $567.

After the game Yost, perhaps just to get in Shorty’s craw and downplay the defeat, contended that his men really treated the game like a practice since Notre Dame and Michigan didn’t share common rules.   Despite ND’s victory, the ‘09 season concluded with a debate in the press over the rightful owner of the mythical title ‘Champions of the West’ between the two teams.    Naturally each team claimed the distinction.

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To fan the flames Coach Longman, who still lived in Ann Arbor, had his pet dog Mike (above) outfitted with a little jacket that displayed the score of the 1909 game and paraded him around town.   The next season the teams were scheduled to meet again in November but the game was abruptly cancelled due to an eligibility dispute and the teams didn’t meet again until 1942.   Pick up Natural Enemies for much, much more.

As far as the scorecard, it’s quite a relic from this historic game and even holds a little Ann

imageArbor history.  The ads on its pages range from bike and tobacco shops, clothiers, restaurants and funeral homes.  Best I can tell only one of the businesses is still with us—and that’s the Muehlig funeral home (although they’ve moved off main street).

A company called ‘Varsity Laundry’ also bought an spot in the score card.  It turns out Varsity was run at one point by Moe Dalitz, a notorious bootlegger and gambling racketeer.

Count the Handlebars
Elsewhere on eBay…if you missed out on the 1909 score card, you can still get this epic piece of history.  Check out this auction of a photo of a youthful, mustache-rocking Fielding H. Yost and his buddy showing off a couple shiny new bikes?!  Really:

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There’s no date on in the auction but it’s probably around 1897 when we know Yost wielded the wicked facial hair while at Ohio Wesleyan.

If you read this site somewhat regularly you’re familiar with the work of my pal and football historian (Natural Enemies) John Kryk.   Well, in good news for football fans everywhere, Kryk recently was named as the NFL columnist for the Toronto Sun, & according to the paper he’ll be “the first full-time, year-round NFL beat columnist in Canadian sports journalism history.”

So what can we expect from Kryk?  We’ll see—but based on the evidence his first few columns there’ll be the occasional nugget of Michigan football history.   Check Kryk’s piece on Tom Brady this week that focuses in on a single moment of brilliance in the ‘99 Penn State game.   It wasn’t a TD toss or a sharp pass or even the start of a key drive.   It was a critical, seemingly unconventional decision to do nothingthat is, just let the play clock run out despite having a couple timeouts.  Kryk explains here.

And yesterday Kryk took us back a century ago Friday when football enacted sweeping rules changes (including the opinion of Fielding Yost) that altered the face of the game forever :

It was exactly 100 years ago Friday — Feb. 3, 1912 — that the U.S. college football rules committee (there was no pro league yet) agreed to pass the last of a series of sweeping, epochal rules changes that would forever differentiate, and define, the American game.

Those new rules included:

  • adding a fourth down;
  • shortening the playing field between the goal lines to 100 yards;
  • creating a 10-yard end zone behind each goal line;
  • increasing the value of the touchdown from 5 points to 6;
  • allowing forward passes to be thrown across the goal line;
  • removing the 20-yard downfield limit on forward passes.

You can find Kryk at the Toronto Sun and follow him on his new Twitter handle, @JohnKryk