As part of its celebration of the 150th anniversary of the athletic program, mgoblue.com is running a few nice pieces including a video bit from Greg Kinney of the U-M Bentley Historical Library and a breakdown of the first athletic team at Michigan – the baseball squad that played during the 1885-86 school year. A couple notes:
- Kinney explains how they arrived that this is indeed the 150th anniversary. It is, in short, because it is during this academic year that the first recorded athletic scored is found in the university “dope books” –the log of record for sports results for decades. The 1909 dope books were used to confirm my pesky +1 point challenge to the Syracuse-Michigan score that season. (I’m still waiting for my varsity letter).
- In the story of the first team, they profile each player including a figure notable for other reasons in U-M history, Albert Pattengill:
Outfield: Albert Pattengill
The only man on this list to stay at U-M, Pattengill was a professor for 37 years, mainly teaching Greek. He also had a reputation for being quite the power hitter. From his obituary:
“At that time, he was a big, square, shouldered youth. To this day, the students relate a tradition as to how he batted a home run once from a point 100 feet south of North University Avenue, so that the sphere landed on the skylight on top of the old medical building. Professional baseball players have looked at the distance and have disputed it, but the tradition stands, nevertheless.”
The same obituary points to Pattengill as a main reason why Fielding H. Yost, the legendary football coach, stayed at Michigan:
“At one time, Yost wanted to break away and go where he had a better offer, but Prof. Pattengill argued with him an hour and at the end of that time, “Hurry-up” announced “I’ll stick.”
Not bad but they left out some stuff. Pattengill also represented U-M during the founding of the Big Ten in 1895/1896 (and is frequently mentioned for his involvement in the football program during early Yost years – read Stagg vs. Yost!).
Beyond that, did you know Pattengill was on the committee that officially made maize and blue U-M’s official colors? ‘The Michigan Book’, published in 1898, says this went down specifically on February 12, 1867 (History Calendar updated) & the tome added a few notes on the shades our of beloved colors, emphasis mine:
“Our college colors were chosen at a meeting of the literary department held in the chapel on Saturday, February 12, 1867, when Milton Jackson, ’67, Albert H. Pattengill, ’68, and J. Eugene Jackson, ’69, the committee appointed for the purpose, reported a resolution in favor of “azure-blue and maize”, which was adopted. In about ten years the colors came to be styled, as they are now styled, yellow and blue. The original blue was neither light nor very dark, and the yellow was decidedly golden. Never has there been any warrant for the sickly yellow and the faded blue furnished by some of the tradesmen of Detroit and Ann Arbor.”
How about that?
From the look of the pants (which appear to be the 2015 version) from media day, it looks like Coach Harbaugh is down with being decidedly golden:
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