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Posts about Sports

Nov. 30, 1900: Husky Gophers too much for Huskers

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: October 27, 2013 - 10:32 AM
 
Over the past 50 years, the University of Minnesota has not enjoyed much success against Nebraska in football. The Gophers had lost 16 straight to the Cornhuskers before Saturday's upset in Minneapolis.

The teams first met in 1900 in a game described by a wire reporter as “the best exhibition of football that has ever been seen in Lincoln.”  Sid Hartman was not yet available to document the Gophers’ victory:
 

GOPHERS ARE THE WINNERS

Nebraska Eleven Meets Defeat Before the Husky Minnesota Boys.

Best Exhibition of Football Ever Witnessed in That Section of Country.

MINNESOTA GETS 20 AND NEBRASKA 12


By Wire From Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 30.

The husky Gopher eleven defeated Nebraska university at Lincoln yesterday after[noon] … It was the best exhibition of football that has ever been seen in Lincoln, and the Minnesota men found opponents worthy of their steel.

Fully 6,000 people assembled to witness the game, of which there were fully 800 Minnesota “rooters.” The good work they did cheering their team opened the eyes of the local men. The combined efforts of the followers of the two teams in the matter of noise resulted in something terrific.

GOPHERS FIRST ON FIELD.

 
  Dr. Henry Williams, Minnesota's legendary coach, led the Gophers to their first national championship in 1904.

Minnesota was first on the field. It was just 2:15 o’clock when the heavy young men who have been under the care of Dr. Williams since early this fall ran onto the field. They were greeted by the shouts of 800 throats, and the “U” band struck up a lively tune in their honor.

They formed a circle and passed the ball around while the yells and music continued. The whistles of the machine shops added their share to the din, and noise was king.

Five minutes later the Nebraska team came on headed by their band. The followers of the home team tore the air with their shouts, and the band struck up a piece which was answered by the Gopher band. Coach Booth, of the Nebraska team, volunteered the information that the Gophers looked heavier and more rapid than the reports had led him to believe.

Minnesota, with her usual luck, won the toss and took advantage in choosing goals of the strong wind that was blowing from the south goal.

Within two minutes after Nebraska had kicked off it was evident that there was to be a battle founded on two different styles of play. Minnesota resorted to line bucking, with an occasional attempt at end, while the lighter Nebraska team played a more open game, giving a chance for more brilliant playing from a grand stand point of view.

KNOWLTON’S GOOD WORK.

The defense of Minnesota was a puzzle to the Cornhuskers. The tandem formations plunged through their somewhat lighter line at will, and the mass plays carried everything before them.

Knowlton in the first half, with the wind at his back, did some excellent punting that invariably resulted in a gain of from 10 to 20 yards. An occasional dash around Nebraska’s end broke the monotony of the heavy, close play that is effective, but not at all spectacular. When these end runs were tried they were nearly always good for a gain.

Minnesota was quick to recognize the advantage gained in Knowlton’s punts, and he was consequently called into service quite often. He clearly outplayed Cook, who kicked the oval for Nebraska.

He got in his goal from the field in the game yesterday. It was a beautiful placement from the 30-yard line, and more than made up for his poor luck in kicking the goals, all three of which he missed.

For the first two touchdowns the ball was forced within hailing distance of Nebraska’s goal by punting tactics, and then the husky Gophers pushed it over with comparative ease.

THE THIRD TOUCHDOWN.

The third touchdown was the result of a strong vigorous line bucking policy that forced Nebraska down the field for 70 yards. This was accomplished by the Gophers without once losing the ball.

Pillsbury made the first touchdown for Nebraska, but it is a question as to whether he would have ever reached the Gopher goal had not Doble collided with the officials. The run was a pretty one, however, 65 yards, with good interference. The officials admit that they were in Doble’s way, Referee Allen stating that it was their fault entirely, and there is, therefore, no discredit to Doble for failing to land his man, as he surely would have done had the way been clear.

Pillsbury was the man to make the second touchdown. This was made in the second half and he accomplished it by hurdling the Gopher line. Both goals were kicked by Nebraska, and this gave them their 12 points, which is more than any team has scored against Minnesota this season.

Van Valkenberg, Fee, La Fans, Tweet, Aune and Hoyt were the star ground gainers for Minnesota. There were called on early and often, and each time responded with a few more feet of Nebraska property to the credit of the Gophers.

Van was retired by a blow on the neck, which stunned him for some time, but he is not in serious condition.

Bender, who went in for Montgomery, succeeded in getting around Aune once for 20 yards, but he was downed at that distance.

CLOSE OF THE GAME.

The game ended with the score 20 to 12 in favor of the Gophers, and the Minnesota crowd gave vent to shouts and yells that will long be remembered in Mr. Bryan’s home city.

The team left at 8 o’clock last night, and the “rooters” about an hour after.

The result of the Iowa-Northwestern game has settled the question of the Western championship beyond a question, and 11 young men, students at the University of Minnesota, and incidentally the best aggregation of football players that has appeared on the Western gridiron for some time are “it.”

The long coveted title has been fairly and squarely won by the sheer hard work and clean, good football, and the team that will arrive in Minneapolis this morning are the undisputed champions of the West.

April 21, 1911: Connie Mack blames slump on bridegrooms

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: December 22, 2012 - 2:29 PM
 
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder drew some heat this week for getting married six days before a big game with Houston. Perhaps this century-old story from the Minneapolis Tribune can provide fans with some hope.
 
 
  Connie Mack in 1911

“Too Many Bridegrooms
Reason for Slump of
Athletics,” Says Mack

 
Philadelphia, April 21. – Connie Mack has to his own satisfaction ascertained the real reason for the losing streak of the champion Athletics. It is a most unique excuse for losing baseball games.
 
“I have the best team in the world,” said Mack, “but the trouble is that I have too many bridegrooms on it. My recently married men get on the field, their brides sit in the grand stand and the men are so anxious to please they just forget what they know of the game.
 
“And the worst of it all,” continued Mack, “is that I am a bridegroom myself, so what on earth am I going to do about it?”
 
Postscript: The Athletics managed to turn things around that year, finishing the regular season with a 101-50 record and beating the New York Giants 4 games to 2 in the World Series.

 

May 27, 1951: Giants call up Willie Mays

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: August 20, 2012 - 4:49 PM

 

Minneapolis Millers fans were understandably disappointed to see their hot-hitting center fielder called up to the big leagues after less than a month. But who could blame the New York Giants? Willie Mays, just 19, had hit .607 in his first 14 games at Nicollet Park, and his fielding was equally spectacular. So off he went, making his Giants debut on May 25, 1951. Giants owner Horace Stoneham must have felt some heat from fans of his AAA farm club. He placed this ad in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune a few days later, explaining to all of Minneapolis that the kid deserved a shot.   
[A hearty AAA cap-tip to YN reader Michael Haas for this entry.]

 


 

 

July 24, 1904: Tour de France on the rocks

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: June 14, 2012 - 3:40 PM
 
The Tour de France showed great promise in its inaugural year, 1903. But things got a little crazy the next year. Competitors hitched rides aboard trains and drafted behind automobiles. "Peasants and villagers” living near the 1,500-mile course, perhaps inconvenienced by the event, showed their displeasure by scattering stones and nails on the road and firing pistols at the riders. There were, however, no reports of blood doping.
 
This brief, by the way, is the only mention of the Tour de France in the Minneapolis Tribune in the race's first 20 years.
 

PEASANTS HOSTILE
TO ROAD RACING

 
PARIS, July 23. – The Tour de France bicycle race, for which there were 53 entries, was continued this week, and gave rise to a series of exciting incidents showing the animosity of the French peasants and villagers to road racing.
 
Between Lyons and St. Etienne the villagers scattered stones and nails on the road, and when the competitors passed fired pistols and revolvers at them to express their disapproval.

 

Far from Paris, bicyclists raced past spectators lining a Lake City, Minn., street in about 1900. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)

 

Oct. 22, 1911: Gophers crush Nebraska 21-3

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: October 22, 2011 - 2:15 PM

 

For University of Minnesota football fans, it looks like another tough weekend ahead. Minnesota is a 25-point underdog against Nebraska at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday. The Cornhuskers have won the past 10 meetings – by an average score of 49-6.

But the Gophers still hold a 29-20-2 series lead over the Cornhuskers, winning eight of the first 10 meetings, starting in 1900. One hundred years ago this week, the Gophers used bone-crushing blocks, a strong kicking game and a dazzling trick play to beat the men from Nebraska. The Minneapolis Tribune’s Fred R. Coburn captured all the Ski-U-Mah

  

These lighthearted caricatures topped the Tribune's sports page the day after the Gophers beat Nebraska.

  

Minnesota Players Find Themselves
and Defeat Nebraskans by 21 to 3


Gophers Excel in the Third
Quarter and Get Two
Touchdowns.

 
Captain Pickering Also Boots
a Field Goal in This
Period.
 
Capron Scores First Count
After Sensational Dodg-
ing Sprint.
 
Nebraska Struggles Bravely
and Holds Minnesota
at Start.
 
Cornhuskers Unequal to the
Task, However, and
Give Way.
 
Big Crowd Sees the Battle
and Enthusiasm Is
on Tap.
 
By Fred R. Coburn.
 
 
  Dr. Henry Williams, Minnesota's legendary coach, was apparently an expert on halftime adjustments.
Amid whoops and siren yells, the blare of brass and the full power of 10,000 pair of lungs Dr. Williams' Gophers found themselves yesterday afternoon. They defeated Nebraska, 21 to 3, on Northrop field and gave an exhibition of a varied and puzzling offence and a sturdy and adamant defense in times of stress that vanquished the glooms and brought the joys in every loyal Minnesota heart.
 
Minnesota made three touchdowns and kicked every goal and Captain Earle Pickering booted a field goal from the 27-yard line for the additional three points. Nebraska was saved from a shutout when Owen Frank drop-kicked a goal from the 25-yard line with only three minutes left to go.
 
Not until the second half could the Gophers get a man across that last magic white line for a score. The Cornhuskers battled so strenuously in the first two quarters that the intermission came without either team having scored, although the Gophers were heart-breakingly near the desired touchdown upon three different occasions early in the play. But Minnesota looked and acted differently when they started for the third quarter. Then it was rip, smash and tear. Line plunges through wide openings made on the right side of the Nebraska line by Elder and Smith were picked with unerring accuracy by the Gopher backfield. The Maroon and Gold men ran the ends with fair success, but it was their plunges through the line that “brought home the bacon.” Two forward passes worked like well-oiled machinery, a touchdown coming on each one.
 
One of these passes, the one that gave Minnesota its first score really broke the hearts of the struggling Nebraskans. Pickering flipped the ball to Ralph Capron out on the right end when Minnesota had the ball on the Scarlet and Cream 35-yard line. Capron wriggled and dodged, he squirmed and writhed, stiff-armed and ducked, eluding tackler after tackler in one of the most spectacular runs seen on Northrop field for many a day and one of the most welcome.
 
Capron Gets Touchdown.
 
Aided slightly by some quickly formed interference Caron swerved and plunged along until he planted the oval squarely behind the goal posts for the first five points of the afternoon.
 
Not in years has there been such a demonstration at Northrop field. Some outbreaks may have surpassed that of yesterday afternoon in noise and some, perhaps, in enthusiasm, but not one in whole-hearted rejoicing. The beautiful run indicated to Minnesota supporters that the Gophers were the Gophers of old; not the straggling eleven that performed against South Dakota, but rather the fiery, fighting, spirited bunch of true Minnesotans.
 
Minnesota stands went wild with joy, Maroon and Gold pennants were in the air with hats, canes and a great blending of hoarse voices. For five minutes the cheering kept up. The noise of the band could be distinguished faintly at intervals but it was drowned out, for all its brass throated instruments, when the human orchestra set itself to playing the tune of thankfulness. On the other side of the field, the handful of Nebraska rooters huddled motionless.
 
They were stunned: The great Capron stunt struck them like a bombshell. Until that time Nebraska had held the Gophers on fairly even terms, but Capron’s remarkable dodging performance, during the course of which he completely eluded three waiting Nebraska tacklers, caused consternation in the Nebraska stands. They didn’t know what to make of it. But Minnesota did and the outburst was real.
 
Merrell’s attempt at goal was awaited with some anxiety. In the games against Ames and South Dakota, Minnesota had been unable to convert a touchdown. Merrell played his first game of the season yesterday and the performance at center made himself doubly valuable to the team by his work in kicking goals. He landed that first one fair and true over the bar and Minnesota ran up the field to take the next kickoff.
 

Minnesota's defense held the Cornhuskers, in striped jerseys, scoreless through three quarters at Northrop field. Apologies for the quality of the two game photos; they're lifted directly from Star Tribune microfilm.

 
Pickering Does Some Punting.
 
It wasn’t long until the Gophers again had the ball within striking distance. Pickering’s great punting was responsible for this. Old Minnesota rooters enthusiastically asserted that no such exhibition of punting has been seen on Northrop field since the days of George Capron, the kin[g] of all kickers of recent years. Pickering shot away one kick that went something more than 60 yards and cleared Owen Frank’s head. The Nebraska team lost yards and yards every time Pickering booted the ball and the Gopher captain showed rare judgment with his kicks, invariably doing the long distance stunt at the right time.
 
Finally Minnesota again had the ball within striking distance. Nebraska had fought and struggled valiantly on every play. They had stopped some and their ends had proved themselves worthy a name in the football hall of fame by their ability to heck Minnesota attacks directed at the flanks, but the weak spot of the Nebraska line at center, right guard and right tackle had been unerringly diagnosed by the Minnesota coaches and Captain Pickering and they made the most of what they found. Elder, Frank and Morrell tore gaps in the Nebraska line and Stevens, Pickering, Capron and McAlmon found them.
 
With the ball on the 20-yard line Pickering called forth some mystic numbers and then ran out toward the left end. Capron and McAlmon stood back of the line and Morrell passed the oval to Capron. Capron handed it to McAlmon and McAlmon, by an accurate and clever toss, hurled the leather straight into the waiting arms of the Gophers leader. It was a fooler and it worked. The Nebraska players didn’t have a chance to get Pickering and he dashed over the goal line, head down and determination in every movement. The touchdown was again converted into a goal by the accurate right toe of the chubby Mr. Morrell.
 
It was right here that Nebraska rooters showed of what stuff they are made in the Cornhusker state. They cheered just as loudly for their defeated athletes as before the game. The Nebraska band played the Cornhusker air with spirit and one on the outside might have imagined that Nebraska had just scored a touchdown instead of Minnesota. On the other side of the field the Minnesota enthusiasm had no bounds. The second touchdown practically cinched the game in the minds of every one and it made Minnesota rooters look forward to a possible conference championship once again.
 
Pickering Kicks a Goal.
 
The Gophers got another score in this prolific third period and captain Pickering was again the man who produced it. This time it was Pick’s large right foot that counted for Minnesota. He dropped back for a place kick on the 25-yard line. Now nobody ever saw Pickering try for a field goal before, but evidently the husky leader of the Maroon and Gold has been doing some kicking stunts in secret. Anyway, there wasn’t any doubt about the legitimacy of the kick. Stevens held the ball and Pickering’s boot caught it squarely. The goal added three points to the Minnesota score and Nebraska rooters gave up what small hope they might previously have had of a sudden reversal of form.
 
There wasn’t any more scoring in the third period and when it ended the Gopher rooters indulged in another brief exhibition of their inmost thoughts.
 
The third and last Minnesota touchdown came in the final quarter. The Gophers worked the ball to the Nebraska 10-yard line. Then they shot McAlmon through the weak Nebraska right wing and the deed was done. The new halfback went over with all the speed of a Mauser bullet. Morrell, of course, kicked the goal, a little more difficult than he had previously tried.
 
Owen Frank’s kick of a goal, saving the Cornhuskers from an absolute blank, featured the last few minutes of play. The Nebraska star dropped the ball over the bar from a difficult angle. The oval seemed to waver and hang in the air, but it finally squeezed over, and just over. Thereupon the Scarlet and cream folks did some yelling. It saved them from some financial losses, a number of bets having been made on the supposition that Nebraska would not score, the small band of Cornhusker rooters cutting in on the Nebraska end, of course.
 
It would be a difficult thing, and possibly not at all fair to all members of the Minnesota eleven, to try and pick any individual stars of the game from the Maroon and Gold side. Let it be enough, therefore, to say that Captain Pickering has never played such a good game of football since he has been decked out in the colors of Minnesota. His work at all times, with the exception of a portion of the first quarter, was of wonderful excellence. He displayed good judgment in choosing plays after that period, did some great line-plunging himself and kicked better than any punter of recent years. Playing left end on the defense, Pickering put up some stonewall stuff. He smashed into the Nebraska plays like a young battering ram, and broke up a number of them before they were fully started.
 
Stevens Another Star.
 
Capron’s great run entitles him to honorable mention in the list of stars. Louis Stevens made as much ground as any Minnesota player, possibly more. He was dazed for a time because of a blow on the head, but stayed in the thick of the fray and was soon dashing off tackle for his usual consistent gains. On the defense he did royally.
 
McAlmon was a new man in the backfield. Rube Rosenwald, because of injuries received in the South Dakota game two weeks ago, was not able to get into the game, but McAlmon filled his shoes to the satisfaction of everybody. He played his best game on the defense and many and many a time brought down Cornhusker backs by deadly tackles.
 
Morrell added great strength to the Minnesota line and his kicking of goals was a feature. Probably the star lineman on the Minnesota team was Leonard Frank, right tackle. On the defense Frank shone with especial excellence. He killed any number of Nebraska plays. He tackled hard and sure and was down the field with the ends on punts. Powers and Elder opened gaps in the Nebraska line and Smith played his usual steady consistent reliable game. Smith seems more at home at guard than at end and his work yesterday was of the highest order. It was between him and Elder that most of the big Minnesota gains were made.
 
Wallender played hard, fast ball at right end. He played so hard that time was taken out for him several times, but when he was finally removed from the game it was not because of injuries but because of the desire to give Aldworth a chance. The latter acquitted himself with credit, spilling the first Cornhusker play that was directed at his wing. Tobin played a reliable, steady game. As a defensive halfback he had several opportunities to bring down a runner and he didn’t miss.
 
Chauner Nebraska Star.
 
On the Nebraska team Chauner and Owen Frank took the eye of the Minnesota fan. The former appears to be one of the best ends in the West. He was in every play and there was nothing much doing around his end. Only Capron’s great dodging ability enabled him to get by Chauner and Capron was the only man who did it.
 
Lofgren also played good football at the other end but Chauner was the more classy of the two. Owen Frank was the backfield star, but his brother ran him a close second. Racely, too, made quite a hit with the Minnesota rooters because of his sprinting ability. Once he nearly got away, but Stevens downed him after a twenty-yard run.
 
Shonka, the Nebraska captain, played well at his tackle, but Leonard Frank gave him all he could handle. The other Nebraska men did not shine with any individual excellency.
 

As far as I can tell from the original text, Nebraska's stripe-shirted defenders held fast at their goal line on this play.

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