This edition of eBay Watch again features glassware, this time two cocktail glasses that appear to be a gift from former Michigan player and coach, Bennie Oosterbaan:
The frosted highball glasses measure 7″ tall, featuring a sketched face of Oosterbaan with the etching Greetings from Bennie. The auction description doesn’t reveal many details about these beauties, or why they were created. I’m assuming they were presented either at a year end football bust when Oosterbaan was head coach between 1948 and 1958, or as gift at a bust or as a gift to boosters when he held the role of director of alumni relations from 1958 to 1972.
The pair sold for $26.
Oosterbaan’s career as an athlete in Ann Arbor is second to none, excelling not only in football as part of the Benny-to-Bennie combination in the mid-1920s, but also in hoops and in baseball. He was an All-American in basketball twice and in baseball won the conference batting title in 1927 with a .429 average.
A highball glass is designed to hold cocktails of course, but an actual highball drink has varying definitions. Highball can simply refer to a family of mixed drinks that contain booze and a mixer. To me, a highball was what my dad mixes up around the holidays and that’s bourbon and ginger ale on ice.
If you enjoy the occasional drink and want to know some of the history and culture behind the most famous cocktails (kind of like eBay Watch for booze), I highly recommend Eric Felten’s weekly column How’s Your Drink? in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition. He also published a book of the same name that looks pretty cool [check it out here].
This week’s column was excellent again, starting by introducing you to the new drink at Harry Caray’s in Chicago called the Impeach Effen Blago Cocktail, inspired by the crooked Illinois governor. Felten winds through the history of a once famous drink called the Cohasset Punch which was all the rave in the early to mid 1900s. Check out the review of the drink in the Chicago Tribune in 1936:
After three or four of them, “a pleasant mellowness steals over you, your imagination glows, you discover humor you never possessed. When you finally get up to go, “lo, your legs are merely attached to you body for appearance’s sake.”