13. January 2013 · 3 comments · Categories: 2012

As a follow to last weekend’s post featuring a comic book recapping exploits of U-M great Tom Harmon, check this out.

Thanks to local collector Ken Magee, owner of Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia, a few more instances where Michigan legends were featured in comic books back in the day.  Each of these are from editions of Treasure Chest, a children’s publication that ran from 1946 to 1972.

First up, check out the cover from 1956, featuring Bump Elliott:

Photo Jan 12, 1 46 48 PM 

The pages inside locked down on the 1948 Rose Bowl, one of my favorites, where your Wolverines hoodwinked and whipsawed the Trojans 49-0.   Before getting into the Mad Magicians route it warmed my heart that it led off with a salute to Yost’s perfectly perfect 1902 Rose Bowl squad, including a cartoon reincarnation of the 1901 team photo:

Photo Jan 12, 1 47 27 PM

 1901 Michigan Team Photo 

Also heart warming— a diagram of Bob Chappuis’ epic jump pass to Bump Elliott in the 2nd quarter:

Photo Jan 12, 1 47 48 PM

  “Gee, sweet TV!”  (And tight M formation!):

Photo Jan 12, 1 49 02 PM

And again, it closes with a salute to the 1901 squad:

Photo Jan 12, 1 48 49 PM

And I guess this finally settles the question of who was rightful recipient of the 1947 national title between Michigan and Notre Dame:

Photo Jan 12, 1 48 34 PM 

Along with the Chap, Treasure Chest featured Tom Harmon in 1950.  From the inside:

Photo Jan 12, 1 45 25 PM

This one went more through Harmon’s entire life, pre- and post-football, including his days at Horace Mann high in Indiana, through Michigan to his service as a pilot, along with his broadcasting career.

From his Michigan days:

Photo Jan 12, 1 44 36 PM

It adds a salute to his boy Forest Evashevski, the straw that stirred the drink that was the 1940 squad and the man who paved the path to Harmon’s Heisman.  Well done:

Photo Jan 12, 1 44 51 PM 

Related:  Tommy Harmon makes the Funny Papers (1941)


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Via the January 14, 1993 Michigan Daily:

DREISBACHIndeed, “Payton” considered Michigan along with Florida and his dad’s alma mater Ole Miss before committing to Phil Fulmer at Tennessee right around signing day.   

Bagging Manning put the Vols on top of most recruiting ratings for 1994, while Gary Moeller’s Michigan crew finished in the top three.   Dreisbach was joined by commits Marcus Ray, Sam Sword, Clint Copenhaver, Jay Feely, Chris Floyd, and Jerame Tuman.

So how would have history changed had Manning selected Michigan?  No idea, but I don’t think there are any regrets with either side.  U-M of course took the ‘97 national title, Tennessee netted a Heisman runner-up :) and the BCS crown in ‘98.

Related:  Hoover Street Rag explored the What If? Manning scenario back in March 2012.  


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HT: Buddy from Stunt3 – thanks for sending this over.

Taylor Lewan - 2013 Outback Bowl - MVictors.com


Even the hardest cynics have to view this as evidence there still is something special and unique about the Michigan football program.   I love that this happened.  I like how Lewan described how he came to the decision and involved Jake Long.  And FWIW, I like that our coach won’t be interviewing with the Eagles (ever).

Now—while on the topic of cynicism–I do get the sense the Lewan likes to be in the spotlight and that might have had a little to do with this.   He’ll get a lot of attention next season and probably more beyond.  [Ed. 1/11  yes, he likes the attention:]

"I like attention," he said. "I’m an attention guy. I LOVE the attention."

How far beyond?   If he builds on the Outback performance and is the consensus All-American and earns a top 5 NFL draft pick, you have to wonder if #77 is considered for a Legends distinction down the road—honoring Jansen, Long and Lewan.   Either way, he’s got a chance to establish himself amongst guys like Long as a truly iconic Michigan vet—something you really can’t take away no matter what happens in the NFL.   And that’s a special thing, especially at Michigan.

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Via eBay, love this one.  Check out of few frames from a comic book featuring Michigan’s Heisman winner Tom Harmon and a few of the preseason college stars heading into the 1941 season.   A true beauty.

I cropped it down to highlight the sections featuring “Tommy” Harmon, which was basically all of it:

Tom Harmon Michigan Comic Strip
In this opening frame, Harmon’s depicted with the torn jersey which is a nod no doubt to his final game at Ohio State where his jersey was ripped up during and after the game.  More on that later.   It also looks like they kinda slapped a winged helmet on his above, which is appreciated.


Tom Harmon Yale 1938
Harmon was indeed good right when he came to Michigan in 1937, but back then of course freshman couldn’t suit up with the varsity.  In the ‘38 season he was named all-conference and indeed shined in the Yale game, coming in and tossing the game winner.   Speaking of Yale, did you know Harmon actually “applied” to go to Yale after Harry Kipke was fired in 1937?  In his only letter to the school he wrote that his credentials for admission to the Ivy League college were:“Four years of football, four years of basketball, two years of track.”  LOL.


Tom Harmon Iowa 1939
Speaking of the Iowa game, it was certainly one of Harmon’s finest performances perhaps most notably, he dominated the 1939-Heisman winner, Iowa’s Nile Kinnick.


Tom Harmon vs. Red Grange
A couple things here.  First, re: his 90 yard interception return.  After Brandon Herron’s 94-yard TD return in 2011 against Western Michigan I discussed whether Herron actually bested Harmon for the all-time standard.   Differing accounts had Harmon’s interception between 90 and 95 yards.  So here’s another one claiming 90 FWIW.In the second frame above the classic sports writers (sans stubby unlit cigar) mention Red Grange, which was certainly on the mind of folks when Harmon was doing his thing, especially after Old 98 broke Grange’s scoring record in 1940.


Tom Harmon - Lifeguard
How’s Tricks, Tom?”   Hahhaa.    Regarding Harmon being a lifeguard.  True, but he didn’t do that in Ann Arbor—it was back in his hometown.  Per Sports Illustrated: “He spent the summer before his senior year as a lifeguard at the municipal beach back in Gary (“and punting up and down the sand for at least an hour a day” as TIME noted) and was in shape to rule the Big Ten again.”

I’ve read he also sold gum and worked at the campus radio station to make a few extra bucks.


98 - 6 Ohio
His magnum opus against Ohio State in 1940 is a classic—enough to earn a standing ovation from (and get mobbed by) the Buckeye fans after the game.   The drawing in the second frame was certainly inspired by this famous photo below of Harmon after the game in Columbus:torn 2
And regarding that final quote…
None of Us
…that all changes in 2013 as someone will indeed wear the 98 once again.

All in all a classic.

My only nitpick?   No mention of the ridiculous performance in the 1940 Cal game on his birthday, especially given the fan who tried to drag him down!  Dang, they could have dedicated a couple frames to that alone and I would have loved it.    More »

Thanks to Buddy at Stunt3 for forwarding this over.  Check out this clip from The Munsters featuring Wisconsin and Michigan star Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ Hirsch.  

Buddy added, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he’s the only former Wolverine ever to appear on that show.”  LOL.  Yes, although Al “Grandpa” Lewis was an usher at Ferry Field.  Who knew?

The clip brings up so many questions, but how did Hirsch know the ball that hit him came from, specifically, a punt?  Why couldn’t it have been an errant toss from the parking lot?  

Somehow Hirsch’s acting career didn’t pan out.  Yeessh.

Speaking of Hirsch, the traitor former star is one of the athletic directors to go against Michigan in the 1973 Rose Bowl vote..and perhaps that hit on the noggin from Herman’s prolifically punted pigskin damaged his medulla oblongata:

* Don Canham (Michigan)
* Bump Elliott (Iowa)
* Bill Orwig (Indiana – former Michigan hoops and football player and assistant coach).
* Paul Giel (Minnesota – said he voted for Michigan).

* Ed Weaver (Ohio)
* Cecil Coleman (Illinois)
* Tippy Dye (Northwestern)
* George King (Purdue)
* Elroy Hirsch (Wisconsin – played for Michigan via the V12 program from 1943-44)
* Burt Smith (Michigan State – U-M graduate)

Thanks to Buddy for sending it over.   I wonder what the Stunt3 guys are up to next?

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[Ed. As the rosters for the postseason games start to emerge I thought this piece from Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis was timely. The QBs photo alone is worth it $.  This was an interesting point in history for college football and especially this region.  Beyond it being Leach’s final game, this was just days after Montana led Notre Dame to their classic Cotton Bowl comeback victory over Houston, and just a couple days after Woody Hayes was fired for punching a Clemson player.]

Guest post by Dr. Sap

When LSU football coach Charles McClendon was selected as head coach of the East All-Stars for the 1979 Hula Bowl, he knew he was going to have to address two problems: the first was how to stop the East’s two-game losing streak to the Western All-Stars in the Hawaii Classic.

The second problem centered around his quarterbacks. He had three of the most gifted signal-callers in the country, all with varied backgrounds. He had the best pure passer in Joe Montana of Notre Dame. He had the best dual-threat quarterback in Rick Leach of Michigan. And he had Chuck Fusina – Penn State’s runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1978.  

1979 Hula Bowl - Rick Leach, Chuck Fusina, Joe Montana (L-R Leach, Fusina, Montana) Photo Credit: Ken Sakamoto

But the old ball coach wasn’t sure who would start the game and how to best use their skills.

“Each day we’re catching on a little bit more to each other. They’ve all come from different systems and are all used to different alignments. I’m trying to put together a team that will take advantage of what the good Lord gave ‘em,” the LSU coach said before the game.

Montana got the start and actually scored a touchdown on a quarterback draw, but the TD was wiped out by a penalty and a missed field goal left the East team scoreless.
The Irish QB was in for a rough day. He would finish a woeful 3 of 12 passing, for a meager 51 yards.

In the second quarter, Fusina got the chance to show his stuff but did not fare much better. The Penn State QB produced no scoring drives and 3 for 10 passing that resulted in only 42 yards.

hula bowl program coverHula Bowl program cover via eBay 

With the East All-Stars backed up deep in the shadows of their own goalposts, the coach knew he needed to jump start his team, so he dug deep into the playbook.

He sent Michigan State wideout Kirk Gibson wide to the left and Michigan’s Rick Leach to the slot on the right side.


Going into the game, Leach’s passing skills were considered second-rate behind Montana and Fusina.  Some NFL experts even believed Michigan’s QB would be better suited as a receiver in the pro league.

So when Leach lined up as a slotback, everyone thought they’d finally see Leach catch a pass, not throw one.

But the Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue took the handoff from Fusina on a reverse and the Wolverine QB threw a 79-yard rainbow to Gibson to give the East a chance for their first score of the game. Unfortunately the drive stalled with Fusina back in at QB and the East went into the locker room trailing 6-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, Leach got his turn under center and promptly guided the East team on a drive that looked like it would finally put some points on the board.   But an interception in the endzone left Leach disappointed and the old ball coach scratching his head.

McClendon kept Leach in at QB and the Flint Southwestern star showed everyone on TV and the 49,132 people in the stands why Bo Schembechler called him the best quarterback in the country.   After the West tallied two scoring runs to make it 24-14, Leach got back to work by mixing in runs and efficient throws and finally hit paydirt with a 10-yard TD toss to Gibby. [Ed. Gibby and Leach were later teammates again–on the Detroit Tigers].  A two-point conversion run by Leach cut the West lead to 24-22, with just under three minutes remaining in the game.

Here’s where things got interesting.

An odd Hula Bowl rule allowed the trailing team the option of receiving the kickoff after a score was made.  Naturally Coach McClendon took the option of receiving the kickoff and his red-hot southpaw QB drove the East All-Stars down the field for the winning score.

A 14-yard pass to Penn State’s Scott Fitzkee sealed the deal with 20 seconds left on the clock.

“I think the rule is good for the fans, the TV ratings and so on, but I think it was totally unfair to our players,” cried Arkansas’s Lou Holtz who served as the head coach of the West All-Star Team.

Leach finished the day going 7-12 for 187 yards and 2 TDs in the air, with another 52 yards on six carries on the ground.   His 4th quarter comeback that resulted in 23 points earned Leach co-MVP of the game and a little more national respect for his passing prowess.


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02. January 2013 · Comments Off on Outback Outtakes · Categories: 2012

A few more from Tampa:

Media Gift.  The players’ bowl gifts are well publicized.  The media typically get a little something at these games as well FWIW.  The Sugar Bowl offered up jackets.   The Outback Bowl gave out a set of four rocks glasses and a mini leather pigskin, not bad:


Rolling through the rolls of photos, a few more from the game.


8 - cheerleader hurts

 8 - Gardner no helmet

 8 - kickoff

 8 - m footballNot exactly Gameday material.  As if the 20,000 different shirts, hats, pins, etc. didn’t have the “Michigan Football” message covered

8 ace gone Ace says see ya

8 denard argueWhat?   What?

8 Denard ClowneyBig Clownin’ meets Denard

8 denard lead


8 pee weePee Wee taking on blocks.  Roh takes an elbow to the monobrow


8 Denard spins

 8 game winner 1Part 1: The game winner :(

 8 game winner 2Part 2


8 pigskin gardner  8 shoe string

 8 TD passGallon go-ahead TD pass in flight 

8 treezy

 8 joe reynolds


More from MVictors:

  • Denard’s Message to U-M Fans
  • Crumbled Cookie – South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos
  • Outback – Pregame Shots

  • A quick clip from postgame from Outback Bowl 2013, a message to U-M fans:

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    From the Outback Bowl:

  • Denard’s Message to U-M Fans
  • Crumbled Cookie – South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos
  • Outback – Pregame Shots
  • Damn I wanted Denard, Treezy and crew to go out on a big note but it wasn’t to be.  Michigan fans know this game can be brutal and there you have it.   USC doesn’t convert on that fourth sad denard down late in the game, or even if we wrap up Shaw and bring him down on a couple late scrambles, and it’s surely over. 

    I thought the defense was just inches away for sealing this game against a team we probably shouldn’t have beaten.   Give Gardner credit for generally remaining cool and getting the team down the field for the go ahead score.  Lewan overall did a fine job on Clowney. 

    This game will be remembered for Clowney’s bomb blast, the back-and-forth nearly four hour battle and it being Denard’s finale.   It was fun to be down there in the fourth quarter to watch it play out but it was just heartbreaking watching the team creep off the field and sulk during the postgame.  

    For a team with no running back and a depleted secondary they still had the chance to do some great things this year but really didn’t.  The highlight of the season has to be squeaking by a very mediocre Michigan State team and there’s no way 8-5 can be considered anything but a disappointment despite facing 4 of the best teams in football this year all on the road.  

    Michigan teams and championship teams have depth.  One man goes down, the next guy takes his post and performs.   They are not there yet but you see a broad foundation of young guys on the team and coming.  

    I had a photographer on the pitch for the first time and loved the results.  We went through them pretty rapidly so I’ll probably post some more.  Check them all out here:

    Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos      Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame

    Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos      Outback – Pregame Shots

    More Sight and Sounds:

    Raymond James – Loved the layout of the stadium, at least from my view (and I’ve heard complaints from those inside, so..yeah).  That said, the scoreboards are atrocious and it was tough to find a decent down and distance, but I love how they handle the ends of the field and the pirate ship and the beer garden feel.  Here’s a panoramic, click to expand:


    Aboard the SS Big Clownin’ before the game:


    Clowney Don’t Play That – I was behind the Carolina bench heading toward that end of the field when big Clownin’ dropped that bomb.  It sounded like an absolute cannon shot – never heard anything like it.   Here’s Clowney on the bench right after that bomb cooling off:


    The Track – While the grass was really tightly cut it it was actually pretty damp on the pitch before the game – I assume they hosed it down in the morning.  Denard slipped several times trying to cut and while obviously both teams faced the same conditions, it seemed Michigan had more trouble. 

    Hey Sixteen – Several of the USC coaches (I didn’t see Spurrier) approached Denard after the game and congratulated him on his career.  Each one referred to Denard as “16”.

    Look for Dreadlocks – As soon as the players took the field it was clear you couldn’t read the Michigan numbers from upstairs.  It was a little better closer to the field but it was brutal.  Here’s a decent representation of what it looked like from up top:


    Comfy and shoelaceless:  Denard’s cozy slippers, perhaps a Christmas gift?



  • Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos
  • Outback – Pregame Shots
  • TWIMFbH: Beating the Irish in the Beauty Contest