22. October 2013 · Comments Off on That’s Dedication! · Categories: 2013 · Tags: ,

1927 Ohio State Michigan ticket Dedication day ticket from 1927 on eBay right now

Marking eight-six years today, Michigan Stadium was dedicated on October 22, 1927.  The Wolverines shutout the Buckeyes 21-0 on this historic day, and cameras were on hand for the spectacle:

One of my favs, check out how the Ohio State student newspaper felt about the our new bowl-shaped abode.

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[Ed. This was originally posted November 3, 2010, but had to deliver this Update]

Update October 7, 2011:  Thanks to the generosity of fellow collector Ken Magee [of Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia], there is no longer a hole in Jack Briegel’s home ticket collection.   Apparently Magee decided he want Briegel to have it and left the elusive 1943 ‘Michigan State’ ticket stub on his porch last Friday.  What a kind gesture.  I’ll surely do a follow-up on Magee and his collection sometime soon. Here’s the original story for context:

Original Post:
I obviously check out eBay somewhat frequently for the purposes of writing this series but this time I thought I’d introduce you to someone who’s a pro in the memorabilia game.

This month for GoBlueWolverine Mag I submitted a piece on Ann Arbor resident Jack Briegel and his extraordinary collection.   His focus is on ticket stubs and get this, of the 517 games played at Michigan Stadium to date, Briegel has a full ticket or stub from all of them but one.  That’s right – he’s missing 1!

That elusive piece of the puzzle?  A stub to the 1943 game against Western Michigan.  Briegel has a slot waiting for it:

1943 gap

The ticket to that September 25 game actually lists Michigan State as the opponent.   But the Spartans did not field a team that season as it was common for teams to shut down their football squads that year due to obligations to the war effort.  Folks seemed to have better things to do that fall day as just over 14,000 bothered to show up, and apparently it wasn’t memorable enough for many fans to bother to hang onto their stubs.

Certainly a few tickets to that game exist.  According to the records at ticketmuseum.com, a gent named Ken Magee owns that rare ticket and here’s a look:

1943-Michigan State

Briegel’s not the only one taking on this quest.  Collector Dennis Dail of Bloomington, IL is also going for the ticket gusto, missing a mere 8 of the 517 home games:

1945 – Great Lakes
1944 – Indiana, Iowa Pre-Flight
1943 – Mich St., Indiana, Wisconsin
1928 – Ohio Wesleyan
1927 – Ohio Wesleyan

That ’27 Wesleyan game is of course the first ticket to the Big House and very tough to find, in fact, it’s probably Briegel’s favorite of all the stubs adorning his walls.

Of course if you have that elusive ’43 MSU ticket or anyone from Dail’s missing set sitting around let me know.

Coincidentally there’s quite a few rare tickets up on eBay, you can check out those auctions here:

1942 Michigan at Notre Dame

18. January 2011 · Comments Off on Coffee Service for Fielding Yost’s Service (1927) · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , ,

On the Friday before Michigan Stadium was officially dedicated back in 1927, the University Press Club hosted a dinner honoring Fielding Yost.   Attendees included Michigan alumni and the editors from the various papers that covered the Wolverines over the years.

On that weekend Yost received many gifts including an eight cylinder Packard car from alumni and a set of 26 goblets representing each year of his coaching tenure, presented to him by a member of each of Yost’s teams.  (Robert Soderstrom’s The Big House has a nice recap of the weekend’s events.)

The newspaper editors even got into the action as they chipped in and presented Yost with a silver coffee service.   So why am I talking about this?

Well, thanks to reader James who let me know that his family actually owns that coffee set today.  His folks bought it in an estate sale for a measley $100 in the 1970s <shaking head>, and Hulett says the 26 goblets were also sold at this time to another buyer.

Here’s a look at the Grand Old Man’s coffee set:



yost_initialsThe cream and sugar units were monogrammed with “FYH”


The pot included this nice inscription, offering the gift as a “token of appreciation of his long service to The University and The State”.   And keep in mind, this was a gift from the newspaper editors!  Here’s a little coverage of the event from the October 22, 1927 St. Petersburg Times, including Yost’s reaction to the ceremony.

A big thanks to James for passing along these photos of the coffee set – hang onto that beauty.

Any Stadium Bonds out there? – Bonds to fund Michigan Stadium
Big House Dedication –  Ticket stubs, Stadium history
Yost’s Bust – Head statue of F.H. Yost
Yost’s Shiny New Packard – Beautiful car given to Yost by alums
Freshly Minted Big House – Postcard – Great pic of ’27 Stadium

A big thanks to Ira Weintraub down at WTKA 1050AM for passing these along, who in turn got them from longtime WTKA caller ‘High Octane Mike’.

Harold Sherman lived in the area and wandered over to the original Michigan Stadium construction site and snapped these shots.  They were passed along to his son Pete, who was kind enough to show them to the likes of H.O. Mike and Ira.

I’m thinking they date to the late spring timeframe, 1927, a few perhaps later on.   Why?  Well, it appears as though we’ve got some cement work going on here and Yost solicited bids for the concrete work in March 1927 and started pouring shortly thereafter.









Don’t see a steam shovel or crane buried?  From my upcoming interview in GoBlueWolverine magazine with Dr. Robert Soderstrom, author of The Big House:

GBW: One of the greatest tales of Michigan Stadium involves a crane or steam shovel being buried beneath the stadium, lost in all that water and sand during the build. But you didn’t find any evidence of this in your research?

Soderstrom: [laughs] I was unable to confirm that and I’ve heard that story since I arrived in Ann Arbor way back in 1968. I could not find anything in the current literature, either in the Ann Arbor News or the Michigan Daily or anything. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t have been recorded by somebody if in fact they had lost a whole steam shovel.

The [excavator] lost everything else. I also asked his granddaughter and she said she never heard that story from her grandfather.

In the past couple years I’ve featured posts on Fielding Yost busting the Galloping Ghost and highlighted a program from the 1953 Football Bust which featured autographs from a few of the Yost’s finest players. 

Thanks to reader Craig B., this edition of eBay Watch takes a look at a statue bust of the old coach as presented in a wire photo:


Along with the note, Craig asked an excellent question:

So, what we know from this is that there was a bust of Yost in Yost Field House, but I have never, in my life, seen it.  Do we know where it is today?  Can we get it put back into Yost?  Am I just missing it somewhere?  Anyway, I shall eagerly await any potential news you have on this, in post or reply form.  Thanks much!

The photo is dated October 27, 1927 and if I had to guess at the blurry plaque below the bust, it reads “Fielding H. Yost – illegible – University of Michigan – then I think it might say, ‘University of Michigan Club of Chicago’ – 1927:


As Craig points out, the auction description hints that this statue might have been associated with Yost Field House but given the date of the photo itself, it may have been presented to Yost at or around the Michigan Stadium dedication game which occurred just five days prior on October 22, 1927. 

While Fielding Yost was certainly responsible for the building of Michigan Stadium (this is wonderfully chronicled in Robert M. Soderstrom’s ‘The Big House’ book), he already had a building bearing his name—the Field House sitting on the horizon northeast of the stadium.  Folks found other ways to honor the ‘Old Man’ in the wake of the stadium dedication, perhaps this bust was one of the prizes bestowed upon him.  According to The Big House, a group of donors chipped him and bought him a beautiful eight cylinder Packard car, and she was a real beaut: (M photostore):


According to Soderstrom, Yost “was most moved by a gift of 26 silver goblets, each one presented by a member of the 26 Michigan teams he coached.”  Wow.

But the question remains – what happened with with this statue?  Is somewhere on campus or with Yost’s family?  I emailed Greg Kinney at the wonderful Bentley Library and hopefully he has some ideas.

The auction ended recently and no one bid the $9.99 starting price for the photo.

[Ed.  Craig B. points out post-post that the back of the photos reads ‘1947’, which would put the stadium dedication so…I could be something offered up after Yost died the year prior, who knows?]

eBay Watch: Big House Dedication (1927)
The Big House: Fielding H. Yost and the Building of Michigan Stadium (from Amazon)

Coach Ken ‘Red’ Simmons with a photo of he and track star Jesse Owens from 1937

Former women’s track head coach Red Simmons is a fixture on the athletic campus, whether it’s attending football, hockey, or basketball games, or working out each morning at Crisler Arena.  Oh, did I mention Simmons turns 100 in three weeks?

I recently sat down with the Michigan legend to talk about his amazing life for a piece for GoBlueWolverine Magazine for next month.  Definitely check that out, but in the meantime I wanted to share this nugget.

Simmons was a track star at Redford High School and was offered a slot on the U-M track team.   He told me that part of his desire to come to Ann Arbor stemmed from a trip he and his pals took when he was 17 years old:

Simmons: “My heart was set on coming to Michigan. In 1927 when the football stadium was opened, two other guys from Redford and I hitchhiked up here to see the game. At that time I thought, ‘Boy I’d love to go to this school.’”

It didn’t occur to me until after the interview that Simmons is very likely the last living person to attend the first game at Michigan Stadium.

I’d love to know if anyone knows of another person still with us that attended the 1927 opener or dedication game that season.  And while Simmons has had his share of honors from the University, wouldn’t it be cool if he was recognized during the dedication of the renovation next fall?

Yost Michigan Stadium 1927

Yost showing off Michigan Stadium in 1927

Simmons never ran for U-M track as the stock market crash of 1929 forced a change of plans.  He eventually ended up running (and starring) at Michigan Normal (later Eastern Michigan) in Ypsilanti.  Simmons explains:

Simmons: “You didn’t have scholarships back then, but out of high school in 1928 the U-M track coach, [Stephen] Farrell, offered me a job which included room and board at a fraternity house. Books, tuition and all that–you had to pay. We didn’t have any money at all. I said I’d have to work a while to make some money for books [before coming to Michigan]. He told me, ‘Anyone who can hurdle as good as you can, you can work a year. But I want you to come to Michigan.’”

“So I worked that year and then came the big stock market crash of 1929. I was just ready to start and boom! Farrell wrote my folks, he didn’t call, and told my folks, ‘I’m sorry but Kenneth won’t have a job at the fraternity.’ But at the same time, Lloyd Olds, the coach at Michigan Normal which is now Eastern Michigan, came to the house. He urged me to come to Michigan Normal and told us the tuition is only $18.50 a semester and they had a man who could loan me the money.”

More quotes from Simmons from our interview:

Most mornings you can find former Michigan women’s track coach Ken ‘Red’ Simmons at Crisler Arena, lifting weights, walking steps and occasionally taking laps around the concourse.  His fitness routine today is a far cry from a Mike Barwis workout session, but Coach Simmons has a pretty good excuse– he turns 100 years old on January 5th.

Simmons was a high school track champion at Redford High in Detroit and intended on joining the Michigan track team before the stock market crash of 1929 ended those plans.  He eventually wound up running track at Michigan Normal (later Eastern Michigan) in Ypsilanti where he had a successful collegiate career which included a trip to the 1932 Olympic trials.

After school, Simmons joined the Detroit Police Department where he served as an officer and was on the police track team for twenty-five years.  During his tenure on the force he became good friends with Olympic legend Jesse Owens and implemented the then-revolutionary practice of including weight training as part of the squad workout regimen.   In 1959, just two days after his retirement from the Police Department, Simmons knocked on Fritz Crisler’s door in Ann Arbor to inquire about a coaching position at Michigan. Crisler knew of Simmons exploits on the track and his use of weight-training and hired him in to join Don Canham’s track team in Ann Arbor.

In 1960 Simmons formed the Ann Arbor Women’s Track Club, dubbed “The Michigammes,” who with Simmons’ leadership dominated AAU meets around the country.  With the passage of Title IX, Canham tapped Simmons to lead the U-M women’s track team, which he did from 1978-1981.

Since then Simmons has received numerous honors from the University, including the unique distinction of being both an honorary ‘M’ Man and ‘M’ Woman.  To this day he and wife Lois can be spotted at Michigan football, basketball and hockey games.

I joined Simmons at Crisler one afternoon to discuss his amazing life:

On his plans to go to Michigan: My heart was set on coming to Michigan.  In 1927 when the football stadium was opened, two other guys from Redford and I hitchhiked up here to see the game.  At that time I thought, ‘Boy I’d love to go to this school.’   And I thought I was going.

On his offer from Michigan: You didn’t have scholarships back then, but out of high school in 1928 the U-M track coach, [Stephen] Farrell, offered me a job which included room and board at a fraternity house.  Books, tuition and all that–you had to pay.  We didn’t have any money at all.  I said I’d have to work a while to make some money for books [before coming to Michigan].  He told me, ‘Anyone who can hurdle as good as you can, you can work a year.  But I want you to come to Michigan.’

So I worked that year and then came the big stock market crash of 1929.  I was just ready to start and boom!  Farrell wrote my folks, he didn’t call, and told my folks, ‘I’m sorry but Kenneth won’t have a job at the fraternity.’   But at the same time, Lloyd Olds, the coach at Michigan Normal which is now Eastern Michigan, came to the house.  He urged me to come to Michigan Normal and told us the tuition is only $18.50 a semester and they had a man who could loan me the money.  But I still didn’t have any money for board, room, books or anything.

I hitchhiked from [his parents’ home] on Grand River and Seven Mile Road to Ypsilanti every day, carried my lunch, and hitchhiked home at night.  That first year I never bought a book, I just went to class.

On meeting Fielding Yost: I met him, I think it was 1927.   He was at a high school meet at some point.  It was so long ago.  My impression was that he was a very sociable man.  He’d walk around and talk to you.  There was no feeling that he thought he was special.  He was just a regular guy.”

On his early days at the Detroit Police department: In 1934 the police department decided to have a Field Day and hire some athletes, and someone said, ‘Get that redhead that was in the Olympic trials.’  I had a lot of mentions in the papers at the time.  I was hired by the police department, and I figured I would just stay until the Depression was over.  That was a bad time, a very bad time.

They were playing us $12, $10, $8 and $6 for the first four places at those events.  And I was making $60-$70 a meet!  I was still a regular patrolman but from May 15 to August 15 we went out to the University of Detroit to train.   Thousands of people used to watch those Field Days and I ran six or seven events.

On the toughest part of his job as a police officer: I was in a job that was a little nerve-racking.  Few people know this but I got knife wounds while in the police department.  The only thing I can credit my survival to is that I was faster than anybody.  I was quick.  [Simmons gestures to a scar on his head].  I had a guy with his hands up, and I had my gun on him.  I didn’t know he had a switchblade in his hand.  I put the gun away and he brought the knife blade down.  I ducked back but the knife hit me on the head and sliced me right here [near the hair line above his forehead].

I didn’t want to stay [at the Department].  Around 13 years later Cass Tech called me and wanted me to start teaching and coaching.  I was ready to slam my gun down on the desk and quit!  I found out I’d have to do 30 more years [to qualify for pension], they wouldn’t give me credit for my time at the police department.

On his friendship with Jesse Owens: I became friends with Jesse Owns in 1935.  In 1930 I set the track record at Yost Field House in the low hurdles, and in 1935 he came along and broke it.  From then on we were good friends.   I raced him about 20 times but ever beat him.  We traveled around the state putting on exhibitions but they didn’t want to see me, they wanted to see him!

On his reaction to Owens success in the 1936 Berlin Olympics: When I saw that in the paper I thought, ‘Oh boy!’  I was certain that nobody could beat him.

Why Fritz Crisler hired him: I wanted to coach, and be involved in sports.  Back in the late 30s, no athlete was allowed to touch weights—it was considered bad.  I contacted the York barbell club in Pennslyvania and I began to study weight training.  But Crisler used to help out at track meets and he knew me.  And he knew I was using weights and excelling against much younger people – I was just as good as they were.

Crisler knew that I had been training with weights at the police department.  And it was just starting in 1960; men had really not started to lift yet.   Crisler said, ‘We’re going to have weight training here for our athletes.’  So he hired me as an assistant to Don Canham on the track team but I was also instructing football players in weight training starting in 1960.

On his impressions of Crisler: “He was very serious.  I don’t ever recall him smiling or laughing or anything.

On Canham’s support for ‘The Michigammes’:  Don Canham let me use the facilities for the Michigammes and the girls came from all across the state because there was nothing like in the area.  Canham said, ‘Just don’t interfere with the men’s track team.  You can use the facility when they are not on it.’  And understand this was 16 years before Title IX.  It was a different time.  Heck, women weren’t even supposed to sweat!

On getting hired at the varsity women’s track coach: Just after Title IX was passed, [then AD] Canham came in a said, “You’re the new women’s track coach.  I said, ‘Don, if I take this job, traveling around the country with these 17 to 18-year old girls, my wife’s going to travel with me.  I’m not taking that chance!’ Canham said, ‘OK.  She’ll be Mrs. Coach but she’s not getting paid!’

On the goal of his daily workouts at Crisler Arena: I’m most concerned with the legs because that’s the thing that gives out.  Anybody my age can’t do that [Ed. Simmons demonstrates quickly standing from a seated position several times.  As simple as this seems it’s remarkable to watch a 99-year old man do it.]   They just can’t do that.  Six times around the Crisler concourse is a mile.  And I’ll walk and jog that a couple times each week.  Just enough to get full lungs.

On what he enjoys most about his workouts: I don’t have a teammate or a classmate left.  And that’s what’s great about this place.  You are always making new friends.  And they’re not even always men, they’re girls too.  Our closest friends now are people, like Red Berenson, are in their mid-60s and 70s.  That, to us, is young!

On men’s hockey Coach Red Berenson’s recent birthday:   Well, he’s just 70 or so, what the hell is that? [laughs]  I always say, ‘Oh, to be 80 again!’