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December 12, 1926 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1926-12-12

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The Story Of The Maize And Blue Stadia Since The Inception Of The Sport At The University
The First Graduate Manager, Charles Baird, His Problems And Triumphs Views (
First Football Fields Used By The Wolverines

g Glimpses Of
)f The

Tug Wilson-Center Curt Redden-End
F C OTBAI /1 was first introduced at Michi-
gan by Charles G. Killilea, now an attorney
in Milwaukee. 'the game was played here for
the first time during the fall of 1890.
During that year all of the football games,
and practice sessions were held on the campus,
on the site where the medical building and gym-
nasium now stand. All games to which admis-
sion wascharged were held on the fair grounds.
These fields were rockier and rougher than they
are today and made a very poor place for cham-
pionship contests. In the spring, the spot where
the football field layed was laid out into a base-
1ball diamond.
In October, 3893, the Regents appropriated
$3,000 to purchase the plot of ground which now
constitutes the south ten acres of Ferry Field.
The following year the deal was closed to secure
the land and $5,ooo appropriated to put the field
in shape for athletic uses. The north half of the
new ground was leveled off and a quarter mile
cinder track put in. This play ground called
"The Athletic Field" was first used in 1893, for
football games and general athletics, and was
placed under control of the directors of the Ath-
letic association. Subsequently the association
changed the name to "Regent's Field," by which
title it was known until the Ferry gift in 1902.
In this year 1). M. Ferry of Detroit purchased 21
acres lying between the old field and Edwin
street and extending west of State street for
about 1,ooo feet, and gave the same to the Uni-
versity, under the condition that it be used only
for athletic purposes. In accepting this donation,
the regents joined the new ground to the old and
gave it all the name Ferry field.
It was then placed under the control of the
Board in Control of Athletics, but in 1904 the
Regents placed the grounds under the control of
the Committee on Buildings and Grounds. Since
1903 the Athletic association has, by several
purchases, extended the field to the railroad
tracks. Today Ferry field contains about 38
acres of land.
A little covered stand seating about 400 peo-
ple was erected on the athletic field in 1893, but
burned two years later. When the field was on
the campus and at the fair grounds spectators
witnessed the game from their carriages, there
usually being enough vehicles to completely en-
close the field. In 1896, the Regents built a
covered stand seating niore than 800 people andI
they also ordered the house used by the ground
The land which Mr. Ferry purchased (the
land on which the stadium now stands), was a
huge swamp known locally in the summer time
for the excellent size and quality of the frogs
which could be extracted from its clear depths.
The playing field at that time faced in the other
direction and was situated slightly west of the
house the ground keeper now occupies (that
house is still in the same position.)
Charles Baird entered school in 1890 and
during the following four years he played foot-
ball, served as manager of the football team dur-
ing his junior and senior years, and was a mem-
ber of the Board in Control of Athletics. Two
years after he graduated, the Athletic association
induced him to return to Ann Arbor and gave

Herb Graver-End Al Herrnsein--Back

Neat Sinow-End( Bad Gregory-('eiter

Ross Weeks-Q'back


The Stadium Before The Erection Of The Present East Stand


Big Three In


Coach i lield hu. 11. Yost
in 102

Charles Maiird, Maniager

Keene Fitzpatrick,

the position of graduate manager, the business
of the Athletic association was poorly and im-
properly handled, and it had been hinted that
some of the persons in authority were receiving
more than their legimitate compensation. l Mr.
Baird stopped all of this, and instituted a system
of rigid economy which explains part of the fine
athletic equipment the association has today.
Interesting stories are told of the team in the
nineties. They usually play two games a week,
one on Wednesday and one on Saturday. All of
the so called "big games" were played at Bennets
park in Detroit, Ann Arbor being a many hours
journey into the country. All of the players
furnished their own equipment, and when an out
of town trip was to be made, the business men
of Ann Arbor were appealed to for donations;
if sufficient funds were obtained, the journey
was made. At this time it was even difficult to
dispose of the tickets. Imagine the Athletic as-
sociation trying to sell tickets today!
In one of the Ohio Wesleyan games in the
late nineties, Fielding If. Yost lay dl at oin of
the tackles for the Ohio team. Late in the galm
with tle score o to o Yost rushed across the field
to block off one of the Michigan men who wa::
in position to stop the Ohio quarterbac <from re-
turning a punt. Coach Yost never reached his
man as some one blocked him from the rear. and
the coach often recalls this as the hardest tackle
he ever received in football. Coach Yost played
tackle on his team, not because they were short a
man, but because he had the permission of the
Michigan coaches. Coach Stagg, of Chicago, of--
ten played with his team against 'd!iclii ao le-
cause the Michigan coaches were glad to liavc
good competition against theim. 1)urint lhat
period it was not necessary to be a I'tuinl at :
institution in order to play on their t a1fi.
After Mr. Ferry had made his 2a-sce 2,
Mr. Baird had a spur line from the \nn _\r w c
railroad pushed into the swamp, and more than
ico ynn anrds of gravel were dum)ed into it. '!

in permianent improvement on the field. Since
j(02, Air.. Verry has spent more than $30,000 and
previous to t900, the Board of Regents expended
more than $i 1,ooo.
Varsity athletics and "field days" presented
an astoundiing contrast to those which the student
witnesses today. One of the early struggles for
exercising at the University was in rowing. In
the late seventies an eight-oared barge was pur-
chased, and dreams were at once spun to beat the
world as scullers. It went well until they reach-
ed the upper railroad bridge when they got
among those beautiful pond lilies, and had to be
taken ashore to turn it around. This was too
great a handicap for record making, as there
were no records to beat in turning a boat around
on land.
I1 1878 the only games which were played
were baseball and football, the latter game played
by 15 men. The football field where the gym-
nasium now stands was the one used for con-
tests. A stockade-like fence was built about the
campus, and inside that fortinication against cows
getting on the field, was a sturdy row of little
Dile trees. These historical trees, planted by
I resident 'appan, served as interesting hazards,
as the golfer would say, for the football player
carrv ing tic iball. 1hen the ibg fellows were
ruslunn tue 1ball they wotlld have some smrnller
ogles tryig to stop them by hanging about their
:fc:s. If there were enough of them thus hang-
gto b11her the runner he would make for the
1r.es ;I Ivtry to brush them off on the lower
ibranches. When a stiff limb would hit the little
fellow (n t'he head he would fall off, and the
g chap would continue for a touchdown.
'Il beginning of football on the caiipns was
p 4re ift 511, as it c111(I not be toucl1ed by the
haiids. A1 iri i ers of one class played all of
the otlicr class, perhaps fifty or sixty on a side.
- boil),t tihe, (1 i1ly rule was. if you can't kick a
S)li, kick a- sain. I.vervone obeyed the rule in

sociation. The Athletic association was the older,
but it is said the present Athletic association
grew out of the Rugby one, for football always
paid and baseball was not profitable. Hence the
former was the more likely to survive.
In those days there was no gymnasiuim and
some large campus campaigns were put on in an
effort to get one. For years the University had
hoped the Legislature would have pity on young
men's muscles growing flabby from disuse. They
told the University to saw wood. It was for the
students to work out their own salvation, and
therefore college organizations began to contrib-
ute from their own earnings. For instance, the
Chronicle, which was the college paper, conduct-
ed a campaign in 1881, and turned into the gym-
nasium fund $1,ooo from its earnings.
In the fall of 1878 was incorporated the
"Athletic Association of the University of Michi-
gan." under the laws of the state. A trust fund
was established to be known as the "Gymnasium
Fund", with James B. Angell, Thomas MI. Coolev,
the governor of the state, and a host of otlhers as
trustees. The fund had a nest egg of $1,028.28.
In November, 1879, the entire University,
numbering 1500, went to Detroit to witness what
proved to be an exciting tie game of football with
Toronto university. In the fall of 1884 was
played the only gane of the old Rugby style
Michigan has ever played.
iichigani had a great team in 1883, and they
decided to invade the east for a stiff schedule,
jplaying Yale one day and Harvard the next.
There were such men playing as Prettvman, the
Duffy boys, Killilea, cott, and aycox. Yale
was surprised and jolted in her game, so the Yale
rooters went over to I-Harvard to see M'ichigan
beat her dear ol enemy. It was a tie score, and
getting dark when things began to happen.
Michigan worked a fake play, like the one which
beat Pennsylvania in 191, 28 years later. The
mnan who ani )rentilv h1 the ball wast iklei

Bruce Shorts-Tackle Willie Heston-Back
As the signals were rather crude then, the
players called to each other for the plays. As
they called upon Killilea frequently the Boston
crowd interpreted the shout as "Kill him", and
the Hub papers wrote about the blood thirsty
yells of the Westerners. The Michigan team
was not satisfied with the tie game as they felt
they had honestly won, and challenged Harvard
for another game the next dlay. But the Iar-
yard authorities, remenbering the apparent cries
of "Kill him" would not allow it.
This eastern trip showed the members of the
"team the need for a gymnasium, and later,
through the generosity of Mr. Waterman, it was
At the beginning of the 1906 football season,
Ferry field had under grass more than 20 acres,
and ten acres of grass was added during the fol-
lowing two years. In addition to the old covered
stand seating' a few more than 8o0, the football
field had bleachers seating about 17,000 people.
It was on this field that some of Michigan's
most astounding football victories and triumphs
were achieved. Coach Yost first coached the
team in 901, and during that year and the fol-
lowing three, Michigan was the champion of the
west. During that period Michigan stored 2,-
346 points to their opponents 40, an average of
586/ points a year to their opponents 10. Mich-
igan had an average of 56 poits per game to
their opponents 10/1 of a point for a four year
period !
Such stars as "Willie" Heston, "Boss" Weeks
Redden and Hernstein ran riot on that field.
"The Victors" was written and dedicated to the
teams of the period. "He Ran For Michigan"
was written and dedicated to "Willie" Heston
during those glorious days. The Michigan-Chi-
cago games were the "battles of a century" dur-
ing that time. Walter Eckersall was the attrac-
tion on the Chicago team and Heston ran for
Michigan-both men were the best of all time in
their respective position. In the Michigan-Chi-
cago game of 1904, there were 13,500 paid ad-
missions ; a record which astounded the Middle
West at that time. Michigan lost that game
when one Maize and Blue player, who had just
caught a punt, was tackled so fiercely that he
was knocked back two yards over the goal line,
giving Chicago two points and the gamne.
ivThe following is an article written by Direc-
tor Charles Baird, of the Athletic association, as
it appeared in the 1904 Michiganensian:
"During the spring of 1891 the present Uni-
versity of Michigan Athletic Association was or-
ganized. At a big mass meeting in the old law
building the Rugby, Baseball and Tennis asso-
ciations, which had existed for years as separate
or'anizations were united and mered into one
association. Previously they clashed to the in-
jury of the general athletic welfare of the Uni-
"In its early days the Association experienced
many difficulties. At that time the attitude of the
faculty towards athletics was one of toleration
rather than of encouragement and financial em-
barrassments were frequent. There was no
Board of Control, or any requirements of scholar-
ship, or amateur standing. Seven mnembers of
the first football team managed by the writer,
the team of 1893, were not enrolled on the books
of the University during the football season. No
one thought of inquiring about their standing.
Nearly every member of the team of 1894 coach-
ed for money at the smaller colleges during the
f- aX -.. al.'c, nrar :A..'- ,-rl;1. :-. ,-1c fip + 1 ;XT r_


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