The next edition of eBay Watch once again defies the series name of these posts and looks not to eBay, which hasn’t offered any cool Michigan stuff lately (is that a function of the results on the field?), but instead to the Mastro Auctions site.

A brief search on auctions with the word ‘Michigan’ in the description yielded an absolute beauty:

1930 Michigan Schedule robot

I’ve used the phrase ‘one-of-a-kind’ to describe the items in eBay Watch before but I’m guessing that you’re looking at the lone walking wooden Michigan football schedule man in the universe. Just a guess.

For goodness sake, if someone knows anything about this item you must email me immediately. The auction title describes it as a “University of Michigan Unique 1930 Wooden Figural Football Schedule” which means Mastro’s got web auctioneers with mad writing skills. Here’s what else they offered up on this beauty:

With seats for 72,000 rabid spectators at “The Big House,” the University of Michigan was a football-crazed institution by 1930—and complied with the ardent support by issuing unique figural schedules like the offered keepsake. Crafted from sturdy wooden blocks assembled to form a hinged torso, legs, and feet, this marionette-like piece is attached to a lengthy wooden pole (to facilitate “walking”). On the front of the largest block, a helmet-wearing, ball-toting likeness is painted—complete with gold-colored “M” on the front of his “Michigan-blue” sweater. On the reverse, the Wolverines’ nine-game schedule is printed—with a grid (unmarked) at the far right to facilitate entry of final scores. Michigan, incidentally, went 8-0-1 that year, with a 0-0 tie against Michigan State being the lone outcome preventing a perfect season.

This thing is awesome. Unfortunately it’s one of those things that you’ll have to spend mucho hours/years explaining to your better half why you bought it (“Look at it. It’s walking!”). And honestly the novelty might wear off after a few seasons. Anyway, glad I found it.

I’m slowly becoming well versed in the Kipke-era, having published a few eBay Watch’s and an article in Brian Cook’s Hail to the Victors 2008 on the period. Here’s a sampling:
1930 Michigan Football Jersey
1933 and the Dickinson Formula
Norm Daniels’ 1931 Jersey
On the Meyer Morton Award
The Fall of 1934

Here’s my recap of the 1930 season from a previous post:

Coach Kipke’s Wolverines finished 8-0-1, the lone blemish a scoreless tie at home with Michigan State College. That tie cost the Wolverines consideration for the national title, settling for a share of the conference crown with Northwestern (final standings). And although this was a year before a certain future President arrived on campus, the squad featured some very famous names. The sons of both Fielding Yost and the legendary Willie Heston suited up for the Wolverines in 1930- two chips off the old block M.

The 1930 schedule also featured a double-header. Yes, two football games in one day–consider the tailgating logistics for that one! In an attempt to cover revenue shortfalls due to the Depression, Michigan actually played both Denison and Michigan Normal on September 27, 1930. Unfortunately only a few thousand fans bothered to watch this circus act as the Wolverines shut-out both squads to get off to a quick 2-0 start to the season.

We can assume this schedule bot was some sort of promotional item hatched by the students or the athletic department. As I mentioned in the excerpt above, times were hard for most and buying tickets to the football game wasn’t in the budget. The auction description starts with the line, “With seats for 72,000 rabid spectators at “The Big House,” the University of Michigan was a football-crazed institution by 1930″, but actually attendance never reached 72,000 in 1930. The largest crowd (68,459) watched Michigan defeat Ohio State on October 18, 1930, beyond that, crowds averaged around 30,000 that season.

The auction ends on October 27, bidding starts at $100. Full auction is here.

2 Comments

  1. How did a 0-0 tie with Michigan State College make UM conference co-champions in 1939? Michigan State wasn’t in the conference until, I believe, the early ’50s. In 1930, Chicago was still in the Western Conference, not MSC.

  2. Greg (MVictors)

    hmbgoblue – Correct, should read that the tie cost the Wolverines a national title.

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