[Ed. This was originally posted July 31, 2011.  I’m reposting again for Notre Dame week once again, this is one of my all time favorites.]

Yost was such a beauty.

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Up on eBay right now is a 1910 panoramic postcard featuring the Wolverine football squad that season.  In the realm of postcards this is a choice collectible—and the seller is asking $600 for it.

While we’ve seen various postcards featuring squads from this era, what caught my eye is the special addition to the gathering–the white bulldog mascot at Yost’s feet (inset left).

I slung the photo over to my pal John Kryk (Natural Enemies) who, after a laugh no doubt, wrote me back suggesting ol’ Yost probably put the pooch in the photo to counter the antics of then Notre Dame coach Shorty Longman and his bulldog mascot “Mike”.

Longman was a player on Yost’s point-a-minute squads but even after he took the coaching reins in South Bend, Shorty kept his permanent home in Ann Arbor.   In 1909 the Irish defeated Michigan 11-3 in Ann Arbor for their first win in the series.   As Kryk wrote in Natural Enemies, apparently after that historic game Shorty outfitted “Mike” with a little jacket that advertised the 11-3 score and was known to parade him around town.  Ugh.

Michigan and Notre Dame were scheduled for a rematch in 1910 but the game was abruptly cancelled due to a contention over the eligibility of two of the Irish players.  [Ed. Kryk broke down the whole thing here in an excellent guest post.]

While we don’t know for sure when (in 1910) this photo was taken, it’s safe to say that one way or another Yost included the conspicuous canine as a response to Longman’s “Mike”.  And speaking of postcards, here Shorty’s best friend featured in a 1909 Notre Dame postcard:

notre_dame_Mike

So…either Yost captured Mike for the team photo, or more likely he rustled up a Mike lookalike and had his tailor work up the cute little jacket.  My only regret—we can’t confirm that FHY put a big fat ‘bite me’ on the dog’s jacket.   If I had to guess, it would have read something like, “Michigan – 1909 Champions of the West” as a stick in the eye to Notre Dame’s similar claim.

1909 U-M Bentley Library team photo

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Related: Teaching Them Modern Football (1887)

Readers of this site probably know that the season of 1909 is a real favorite of mine.  So much went down that year, and a true piece of college football history recently showed up on eBay from that epic season.  It’s a U-M athletic department-issued scorecard from the 1909 Notre Dame-Michigan game held at Ferry Field:

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This is a huge day in Notre Dame football history.  The Irish, coached by former Yost player and assistant Frank ‘Shorty’ Longman, defeated Michigan 11-3 for their first victory (ever) over the Wolverines.   Some contend that the game even was the origin of Notre Dame’s nickname:

Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates – who happened to have names like Dolan, Kelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan – "What’s the matter with you guys? You’re all Irish and you’re not fighting worth a lick."

Notre Dame came back to win the game and press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish."

My hunch is someone out there knew the significance, as the righteous piece of cardboard fetched a cool $567.

After the game Yost, perhaps just to get in Shorty’s craw and downplay the defeat, contended that his men really treated the game like a practice since Notre Dame and Michigan didn’t share common rules.   Despite ND’s victory, the ‘09 season concluded with a debate in the press over the rightful owner of the mythical title ‘Champions of the West’ between the two teams.    Naturally each team claimed the distinction.

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To fan the flames Coach Longman, who still lived in Ann Arbor, had his pet dog Mike (above) outfitted with a little jacket that displayed the score of the 1909 game and paraded him around town.   The next season the teams were scheduled to meet again in November but the game was abruptly cancelled due to an eligibility dispute and the teams didn’t meet again until 1942.   Pick up Natural Enemies for much, much more.

As far as the scorecard, it’s quite a relic from this historic game and even holds a little Ann

imageArbor history.  The ads on its pages range from bike and tobacco shops, clothiers, restaurants and funeral homes.  Best I can tell only one of the businesses is still with us—and that’s the Muehlig funeral home (although they’ve moved off main street).

A company called ‘Varsity Laundry’ also bought an spot in the score card.  It turns out Varsity was run at one point by Moe Dalitz, a notorious bootlegger and gambling racketeer.

Count the Handlebars
Elsewhere on eBay…if you missed out on the 1909 score card, you can still get this epic piece of history.  Check out this auction of a photo of a youthful, mustache-rocking Fielding H. Yost and his buddy showing off a couple shiny new bikes?!  Really:

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There’s no date on in the auction but it’s probably around 1897 when we know Yost wielded the wicked facial hair while at Ohio Wesleyan.

14. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , ,

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For This Week…we got deep into the archives back into 1910 and focus on the battle against M.A.C. and the controversy surrounding the scheduled game against Shorty Longman and the Irish.

As always, you can listen to it out before the KeyBank Countdown to Kick-off on WTKA 1050AM tomorrow, or click play now:

 

You can hear all of the  This Week… clips here.

Related:
eBay Watch: Yost Gets a Dog to Get Shorty’s Goat (1910)
A Century Ago: 1910 Michigan Football through the Words of The Daily