13. June 2009 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: Rah-Rah-Rah Rose Bowl Rout (1902) · Categories: Archive 2009

Next up for eBay Watch, I’ll look at the auction of a pin apparently dating back to the inaugural Rose Bowl held in Pasadena.   If truly dated to this period and this game, the souvenir will likely attract a few bidders:


The face of the badge certainly looks dated, with an older style block M and the rounder pigskin.  The ‘rah-rah-rah’ sentiment is a found on other items from the period but unfortunately there’s no mention of Rose Bowl, Tournament of Roses, or Pasadena so all we’ve got is the seller’s claim:

It was worn that day by a young Michigan student from Ann Arbor, Wilfred B. Shaw. Not only did he experience one of the greatest days in Wolverine Sports History but he went on to serve his alma mater as General Secretary of the Michigan Alumni Association! The pin was acquired from hobby legend Frank Nagy nearly 40 years ago.

Shaw also wrote a few books in the day, including a few collections of Michigan history.  His book, ‘The University of Michigan’ even contains a brief mention of the Rose Bowl game:


This game was special for many reasons.  For starters, as it was the inaugural ‘Tournament of Roses’ football game, this was the start of the bowl tradition we know today.  Maybe most important to Michigan fans, it was this day during Fielding Yost’s first season at the helm of the Wolverines that he capped a truly perfect season by defeating Stanford 49-0.  The definition of truly perfect?  How about undefeated, untied, unscored upon. Captain Hugh White, Willie Heston and company rolled up the eleven teams they faced by a combined score of 550-0. 

There are several nice photos out there of the trip out West and not just from the game.   Here’s a favorite of mine of Yost and his confident bunch on a trolley, republished in the book Tradition: Bo Schembechler’s Michigan Memories:



The pounding took by Stanford almost was too severe for both the Cardinal and the Tournament of Roses brass.  The game ended with eight minutes left when Stanford’s captain conceded defeat.  And in the aftermath, the onesidedness of the the contest left the event organizers looking for a better competition.  From the Bentley Library’s game summary:

The tournament association, though realizing a profit of $3,161.86, thought the wide difference in the score would make an annual game unappealing to spectators. The following year they replaced the football game with a chariot race, and it would be 16 years before the Rose Bowl would again feature a post-parade football game.

Football wouldn’t return to the Pasadena until 1916, and the Wolverines wouldn’t be back for nearly a half century when in 1948 they laid down another 49-0 beating, this time on Southern Cal.  But that’s another story.

Thankfully not all the memorabilia from the ‘02 Rose Bowl is on the open market.  The permanent exhibit in Schembechler Hall has a nice display case with a few artifacts, including a ribbon and a watch apparently presented to Michigan captain White:


The auction ends Monday June 15 and current top bid is around $20.

1901 Season Football Pass
How about Willie Heston?
1948 Rose Bowl and the title debate

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