27. November 2015 · Comments Off on Harmon Wins the Heisman (1940) | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

harmon-2_200 Did you know it was 75 years ago Saturday that it was announced Tom Harmon had won the Heisman Trophy?  Indeed, back then they voted, announced the winner and held a ceremony to honor the recipient at a later date.   So Saturday’s edition of #TWIMFbH talks a little about Old 98 and his finer moments on the gridiron (and off):

Yes, in the radio clip I said Harmon “gave birth”.  Ira busted my chops after that and wouldn’t let me edit it (to say “sired” or “fathered” which is probably a little more accurate, although I wouldn’t be against Harmon in life).

Readers know the 1940 Cal game is one of my favorites; especially the drunk fan incident.  More here and my tribute:



You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting at 8am tomorrow, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge across from the Stadium on Main Street.   See you out there.

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Via my Google keyword spybot sentinels…from the Escanaba Daily News (naturally!), check out this piece on 92 year-old alum August Altese (inset left).  Augie played on the freshman team in 1940 augie and suited up once more for the Victors Classic prior the Spring Game a few weeks ago.  

A few choice cuts from the story:

On taking the field: ‘“I didn’t have my hearing aids in and they just pushed me out there,” Altese said. “I was so pleased to see that everyone was clapping. They assigned me the last five minutes and I just kind of ran this way and that. They didn’t throw anything to me, but when I was warming up they threw me three passes. I missed the first two, caught the third one and fell, and I still feel it.”’

On Billy Taylor: ‘”He was a great runner for Michigan, but he boozed it up and got into drugs after graduation,” Altese said. “Now he’s running an establishment that helps people. He’s a great guy.”’

and check this out, on Tom Harmon’s sponsored-sled(!!):  ‘“As a freshman at Michigan in 1940, Altese didn’t get much playing time, and though he was on the same team as legendary Michigan quarterback Tom Harmon, he said he never met him. [Ed. The author didn’t know or point out that freshman played on a separate team.]   “Tom Harmon drove around in a coupe. He was being paid by Wrigley’s Chewing Gum,” said Altese of Harmon’s celebrity, obviously playing at a time before current NCAA regulations prevented that sort of thing.’

On Yost and his righteous leather chair: ‘“Altese also met Fielding Yost, the legendary Michigan coach who was in his later years at the time was a frequent conversationalist.  “I talked to Fielding Yost several times at Michigan Union. He was in his 70s or 80s and loved to have people come and talk to him. He had those leather chairs and he’d be there.”’

Love it.  Read the entire piece here

And re: Harmon’s nice sled, purchased no doubt with a little assistance from his powerful friends at Wrigley.  At best a gray area in the rules if Wrigley “hired” Harmon to promote their gum, and 98 bought the coupe with the money.  We know that Kipke (who recruited Harmon) was sacked by U-M due to a scandal involving a illegally paying players via fake jobs.  Promoting gum sounds like a bona fide fake job—perhaps the phoniest in the pantheon of fake gigs.  The conference didn’t allow athletic scholarships back then, and it’s clear by Harmon’s actions following Kipke’s dismissal that he needed something else (see $$$) to stay at Michigan.  LIFE magazine discussed Harmon’s off-the-field pursuits to make dough in this 1940 piece, including “distributing gum samples”…

Harmon holds a scholarship, works hard to maintain his good B average. He helps pay his way through college by distributing gum samples, selling shoes and books, running copy for a printer. In his spare time Harmon collects swing records, goes around with pretty Margot Thoms (left). He runs a sports show over a local radio station on Saturday mornings. Although he gets no pay for this show, he hopes to become a sports announcer after he graduates next June.

There were rumors abound that Harmon was nudged from Horace Mann HS (Gary, IN) towards Ann Arbor via influential Chicago alums..certainly none of those fellas in the Windy City club knew anyone downtown at Wrigley. :)   Ahh, something to chew on.


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This week WPW takes a look at three outstanding shots, each featuring a unique perspective of three Michigan greats – Cazzie Russell, Tom Harmon and Bill Yearby:
Cazzie Russell with basketball in Yost Field House
Crisler is known as the house that Cazzie built, but here’s a look at Cazzie’s original digs: Yost Arena.  Dang it looks pretty cool in there and I love the angle of that photo.   Memo to #41: Nice socks, Milhous.

Speaking of that venue, who’d like to see a hoops game at Yost?  Get on board #1000SSS.   And maybe they’d even bring back the Old Man?: 
Yost Photo


Tom Harmon emerges from Michigan Stadium Tunnel (1938)
Speaking of cool angles, I’m not sure I can recall a old shot quite like this, here you’ve got Old 98 Tom Harmon in 1938 trotting out of the tunnel handling a pigskin.   Uniform snobs will note the block M socks.  I also love the cheerleader’s sweater and the shiny pants (that guy has a little Barney Fife in him).  Turning to the crowd, clearly if you didn’t wear a hat (children and ladies included) to the game back then you were a square, Daddy-O.  A real flat tire.

What I can’t make out is what’s on the guy’s sweatshirt behind Harmon?  Best guess – it either reads “Maroons” (played in the Big House 10/8/38) or “Spartans” (the season opener 10/1/38). 


Bill Yearby of Michigan leaps during 1965 Rose Bowl (vs. Oregon State)

Hmm, who do you think won this game?   This season marks the 50th anniversary of the underappreciated 1964 Big Ten & Rose Bowl Championship team, and above that’s All-American Bill Yearby leaping and scaring the crap out of an overmatched Oregon State squad in the ‘65 Rose Bowl (U-M 34, OSU 7). 


Previous editions:


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13. September 2013 · Comments Off on Mark Harmon’s Comments · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , ,

1 Mark Address

I’ve had a few requests for the video of Mark Harmon’s pregame remarks on the field during the 98 ceremony.  I think it might have been posted on All-Access (but I can’t find it anymore) and it’s on this grainy YouTube clip.   Here’s what he said:

“My dad was only proud of Michigan. His whole life everything came back to Michigan. On behalf of our family, I’d love to thank Dave Brandon for putting this together and making all of this possible. My dad always talked about Michigan pride, and I get that now, better than ever.  Thank you.”

And a final plug for the ND/Old 98 commemorative game program – $15 flat includes shipping:  Get yours here

More Notre Dame and Harmon stuff:


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A smattering from pregame.  More later.

1 Harmon Hoke DawberMark Harmon and wife Pam Dawber chat it up with Laura Hoke


1 Mr HandDa’Man.  That’s Da’Shawn Hand.    His world. 


1 Mark Address  Mark got a tad choked up addressing the crowd

IMG_2577Devin Gardner wearing this tonight.   Uniform Timeline updated.


1 Pam Dawber Michigan ‘M’indy


IMG_7280 Blimp reads ‘Tom Harmon’s a PIMP’


Photo Sep 07, 7 47 22 PM Jets over Saline, a few minutes before they headed into Ann Arbor


Photo Sep 07, 8 24 40 PM (1) Guys named Steve everywhere love it

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend any of the rededication activities at Crisler this weekend but I was involved on the periphery.  I assisted in editing some of the bios of those enshrined within the Michigan Hall of Honor, one of the features on the large interactive screens available in the spacious lobby of the tricked-out Crisler Center.  Here I am looking over the tribute to Old 98:

Crisler Center Hall of Honor Interactive 

The boards are pretty cool and I hope #1000SSS shares this content throughout the athletic campus (at the Big House & in the renovated Schembechler Hall for starters).    Naturally it was a process to get all the bios edited and photos uploaded et cetera, and naturally there was (and certainly still is) a typo or misplaced photo here and there.   I also assisted with some error checking over the past couple weeks and was there when we spotted this priceless gem:Fritz Crisler bio with Field Hockey TeamPoor Fritz.   At another (perhaps the last?) great event celebrating Michigan athletics tradition in 1979, Fritz was invited but certainly was far from thrilled when he gazed at the fourth line on the tickets to the event:

Chrysler Banquet

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