The last installment of eBay Watch is this year’s finest: a collection of post cards featuring members of 1907 Michigan football team. Perhaps a one of a kind set, the photos feature legendary players including the great Adolph ‘Germany’ Schulz, coach Yost and even the team trainer Keene Fitzpatrick.
The seller offered up the entire collection and it didn’t go unnoticed by collectors. The winning bid for these beauties was $1,364.60 back in October. I actually used the photo of Joy Miller in ‘The Disgrace of 1909‘ but this is the first time I’m posting the entire set.
Based on the crude way the auction items were photographed and presented on eBay, I doubt the seller was a professional memorabilia collector which makes this pretty cool. The postcard of Yost is different from the rest, not only the pose but also the background. It appears as though the publisher misspelled the surname of fullback Walter Rheinschild [no h on the post card], and it is not clear as to why Eugene Flanagan was included as he doesn’t appear to have played a significant role on this or any team. In fact, the Bentley spells his name “Flanigan” but that’s only on an alternate full roster and he didn’t make the team photo in any season. Maybe he snuck into the shoot hoping people would be talking about him 100 years later? Well done man.
1907 was Fielding Yost’s seventh at the helm of the Wolverines, and it was a fine year. Featuring All-American Schultz, the blue were not scored upon in the first five games of the season while running up 107 points. This set up the showdown with eastern power Penn who visited Ann Arbor on November 16th. The volume of memorabilia available for a game that was played 100 years ago is a good indication of the games’ significance, and there’s quite a bit out there for this one:
The hard fought battle ended with Penn escaping with a 6-0 win, after they carried an onside kick into the endzone. You can read an excellent summary of the game from the New York Times here. Both teams had touchdowns that were taken back due to “illegalities”.
It sounds like Yost pulled out all the stops as his Meechigan men even attempted (and completed) a “triangular forward pass”. As described by the Times:
Schultz passed the ball back to Watkins, who threw it over to Magoffin, drawing the Pennsylvania team to that side, and the Michigan Captain then passed it to Hammond, who advanced it 20 yards.
More factoids from the Penn game:
– The 6-0 defeat was Michigan’s first ever loss at home.
– According to Bruce Madej’s book Champions of the West, the Penn game marked the introduction of the Block M formation:
The large block “M” was formed in the cheering sections by 750 yellow and 1250 blue banners, sold to spectators at the cost of 25 cents each. Said the Michigan Daily in its November 17, 1907 edition, “Probably no more beautiful feature was ever seen at a football game than the block “M” section. At a signal from the yellmaster, the black mass of humanity on the bleacher suddenly became transformed, as though by a magic touch, into a gigantic “M” outlined against a background of blue.”