Archive for the ‘Carlisle Indian School’ Category

Chickasaws at Carlisle

February 28, 2015

A friend recently asked me if I knew of any Chickasaws who played sports at Carlisle. Sadly, I can’t find any even though some Chickasaws may have played football, run track, hit a baseball, bounced a basketball, or chased a lacrosse ball on an Indian School team. The two major problems in finding someone are that no records tracked athletic participants by tribe and relatively few Chickasaws came to Carlisle because they had their own schools. Some accounts in school and newspaper publications list tribe affiliations for players but are sporadic at best. I would appreciate knowing of any Chickasaws who participated in Carlisle sports programs.

 

Radiolab Program About Carlisle on NPR

February 13, 2015

I was interviewed at length some weeks ago by NPR’s Radiohead for a future broadcast about Carlisle Indian School football. While listening to Sally Jenkins’s interview during the program, I was saddened by the lack of nuance in her description of the 1896 Carlisle-Yale game. Yes, William O. Hickok was a Yale alum but he was also Carlisle’s coach that year. Omitting this important fact spun the officiating of the game as outright cheating. Carlisle Indian School ran a special edition of its newspaper, The Red Man, that included contemporaneous coverage of the game from the viewpoints of several observers who had differing opinions. A reasonable conclusion that could be made after reading these articles would be that Hickok blew the call, to use modern football parlance, by prematurely blowing his whistle before Isaac Seneca or Jonas Metoxen (accounts vary as to who was carrying the ball initially) was taken to the ground. Bad calls are still part of football, so much so that instant replay has been instituted in recent years to overturn them when ample evidence is provided on the video. To say that Hickok, Carlisle’s coach at the time, cheated his own team in favor of his alma mater, is a serious accusation that doesn’t stand up to the available evidence. Think about the boost a victory, or even a tie, with Yale would have given Hickok’s coaching career. He had a significant incentive to beat Yale. He just blew the call and, possibly, his chance at being a top-flight coach.

Contrary to the Radiolab program, Pop Warner didn’t just happen to coach Carlisle. After graduating from Cornell with a law degree, he had coached Iowa State and Georgia–simultaneously–before returning to lead his alma mater. Seeing that his players needed better coaching, Superintendent Pratt asked Walter Camp, the greatest expert on the game of his day, for advice. Camp suggested he consider Pop Warner, an ingenious up and coming coach. Warner and the Indians made a perfect match football-wise. Neither would likely have had the records they did without each other.

Richard Henry Pratt, who was sometimes called “an honest lunatic” by his critics, deserves a more balanced treatment than NPR gave him. Where a common, if not majority, view at the time favored eradication, Pratt held the radical view that Indians could do anything a white man could do. I’ve never found anything from the period stating that Carlisle students weren’t allowed to speak their own languages. They were surely encouraged to speak English but Pratt had no need to force them. How else were they going to communicate with each other if they didn’t? The various tribes represented at Carlisle spoke numerous different languages and could only understand those from their own tribe or one that spoke a similar-enough language. Other schools, where the students were from a single or only a few tribes, may have forced their students to speak English but Carlisle had no need to do that.

 

Why Did Jenkins Smear George Woodruff?

February 4, 2015

After Harry Carson Frye informed me of the December 25, 1905 Washburn-Fairmount game, I did a little research in the 1906 Spalding’s Guide. When my eyes drifted off to Penn coach George W. Orton’s description of the 1905 season in “Football in the Middle States.” What caught my eye most was his assessment of the 1905 Carlisle team:

“Carlisle fell a little below the high standard of former years, though the brilliant games put up against Pennsylvania, Harvard, and West Point proved that the Indians were yet very much to be feared in any company. They played the same style of game as in previous years in spite of their new coach; good punting, end running and tricky open play being their main sources of strength.”

Orton’s assessment sharply contradicted an assessment of Carlisle’s 1905 team by Sally Jenkins in The Real All Americans:

“Mercer demonstrated his utter lack of feel for the place with a totally unsuitable hire; George Woodruff….The Indians were a predictable disappointment under Woodruff. Their marvelous offense, formerly a maze of men going in different directions, became ordinary. They looked and played just like any other team, and their record showed it. They were 10-5 and lost every significant game, and more important, they lost their uniqueness. Their only real fun came in a 36-0 defeat of crosstown rival Dickinson.”

To the contrary, Caspar Whitney ranked Carlisle as the 10th best team in the country, three places behind Army even though the Indians beat the Cadets in their first-ever meeting. Still, 10th is pretty good, especially considering that he ranked them 14th in 1904. In spite of Carlisle’s four defeats (Harvard, Penn, Massillon Tigers, and Canton Bulldogs. One wonders where Jenkins found the fifth loss) Whitney ranked Harvard second in the country and Penn third. Massillon and Canton weren’t ranked because they were semi-pro teams, arguably the best of their day, in the middle of the Indians’  whirlwind 6-games-in-20-days tour. In addition to Army and the local colleges, the Indians defeated Villanova 35-0, Penn State 11-0, Virginia 12-0, Cincinnati 34-5, Washington & Jefferson 11-0, and Georgetown 76-0.

The December 8, 1905 edition of The Arrow coverage of the Georgetown game likely written by Carlisle’s PR department and subtitled “Red Men Have Such A Picnic That They Try All Sorts of Plays” suggests that the Indians had fun at more games than the one with Dickinson:

“Although the score was one-sided, the game was interesting throughout, owing to the diversity of the Indians’ work and the great amount of open field play. Mount Pleasant and Libby, the two Indian quarterbacks, let loose the great repertoire that had been taught by Woodruff, the old Pennsylvania player, and Kinney, the All-American Yale guard of last year, and gave Washingtonians the greatest exhibition of diversified football they had ever witnessed.”

Why Jenkins chose to belittle George Washington Woodruff is unclear. Maybe it advanced her storyline. Regardless of the reason, her treatment of him is unfair. Prior to coming to Carlisle, George W. Woodruff had amassed a coaching record, including three unofficial national championships at Penn that assured his enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame. A lawyer by trade, he left the team after the last regular season game at West Point to work at a various positions in the Roosevelt administration and with his friend Gifford Pinchot. Suffice it to say, Woodruff’s legacy is radically different from Jenkins’ slurs.

Carlisle Indian Looms Large in Double No-Hitter

January 28, 2015

For Christmas I received a copy of George Will’s book, A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. One of the more interesting historic events to take place at the Friendly Confines involved a Carlisle Indian School football player.

On the cool afternoon of May 2, 1917, the Cubs hosted the Cincinnati Reds at Weegham Park, as Wrigley was then called, in a game that has yet to be duplicated. James “Hippo” Vaughn pitched nine innings in which no Cincinnati player hit safely or scored a run. His opponent, Fred Toney, duplicated this effort in front of a sparse crowd on a cool afternoon in which the temperature never exceeded the very low fifties.

Larry Kopf, who had replaced Gus Getz at shortstop earlier in the game after Getz was ejected for arguing about a called strike, “cracked a scorching liner to right field for a single” breaking up Vaughn’s no-hitter in the top of the tenth. Greasy Neale then flied out to center with only the third ball hit out of the infield all afternoon. Cubs’ center fielder Cy Williams misplayed Hal Chase’s fly ball, dropping it and allowing Kopf to advance to third. Jim Thorpe “hit a mean roller toward third, which Vaughn went after. Jim’s speed had him near first base before Vaughn got the ball and there was no chance to throw him out, so the second hit of the game went into the records. Vaughn tried the only play possible. He tossed to [catcher Art] Wilson, hoping to get Kopf at the plate. But Kopf arrived with the ball, and when Wilson fumbled it, he slid home with the first and only run of the game.”

So, Jim Thorpe drove in the winning run in a game that lasted only an hour and fifty minutes.

Deflategate

January 25, 2015

That a football team would stretch the rules beyond the limit to gain an advantage over its opponents is not surprising, especially since such stretching has such a long history. And the ball itself has been central to many stunts. The very first American football game (soccer actually) played between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869 was reputedly played with a crude ball more round than rugby-shaped. The two-game international series played between Harvard and McGill in 1874 featured a round ball in the first game, rugby ball in the first game played under American football rules. The next day, they played rugby with an egg-shaped ball. Harvard switched to rugby after that game. Decades later, coaches manipulated the balls to gain an advantage over their opponent. Perhaps the most famous example was when Pop Warner had leather patches shaped by footballs sewn on his Carlisle players’ jerseys to fool Harvard and Harvard’s coach retaliated by painting the footballs Crimson, the color of his team’s jerseys.

Modern day coaches are more subtle. According to news reports, the New England Patriots have been deflating their footballs, except the kicking balls, to below the NFL’s allowed pressure. Previously, the Patriot quarterback stated his preference for softer footballs. The Patriots’ coach and quarterbacks denials in press conferences raise more questions than they answer, particularly given the team’s history of cheating.

The NFL is now in the unpleasant position of having to deal with this scandal. Either they enforce their rules with harsh penalties or risk becoming a laughing stock. A detailed and specific rule exists, one assumes there is good reason for it. If they minimize the infraction of this rule, they risk making all NFL rules suspect. If this rule isn’t enforced, it must not be important. What other rules aren’t important? Why should a team obey any of them?

A thought on a punishment belatedly came to me:

For the Super Bowl, the NFL could have the Patriots deflate each of their 11 non-kicking game balls by two pounds each. Then they would replace that air with air from the kicking ball (the only one that was still in the legal range) until they could get no more air to transfer out of the kicking ball. They would play the game with these twelve balls and would be forced to use the kicking ball for kickoffs, punts, extra points, and field goals, should they choose to do any of these. Kicking off (or punting if chosen after a safety) is the only kick a team is required to make. All the others are discretionary.

New Information on William Winneshiek

August 3, 2014

William Winneshiek’s grandson just sent me some interesting information about and a great photograph of his grandfather. Winneshiek reputedly came to an untimely end in an Elkton, MD hotel fire in 1950. His grandson of the same name located his death certificate. That document stated that he died in a September 15, 1949 fire in Minquadale, Delaware fire. Now that I know when and where he died—death certificates are usually fairly accurate about dates and places of death—I can look for old newspapers that might have articles about the fire. I’ll first start with Minquadale, if it had a newspaper then, then try New Castle, the nearby large town, because it probably covered the fire due to there being a death in it. After that, I’ll look at the Philadelphia papers because his home address was listed as Hotel Washington in Philadelphia on the death certificate. From there, I’ll try newspapers that covered Lebanon, Pennsylvania because he lived there for many years, and finally at the Carlisle papers because he was once a Carlisle Indian School student.

Follows is a newly-discovered photograph of the handsome William Winneshiek that may have been used for promotional purposes when he had his own band or played in Wheelock’s band.

Little by little, we’re learning more about William Winneshiek.

WILLIAMPHEADDRESSBIG

College Football and All America Review

May 28, 2014

The most recent edition of the College Football Historical Society Newsletter included a historical book review of Christy Walsh’s 1949 College Football and All America Review. What caught my eye most were two things the book included: “the score of every game [ever] played” and “listing of lettermen, by year, from each school.” Determining exactly who played on the Carlisle and Haskell teams is a difficult, if not impossible, project due to the records retained for those teams. So, I searched for a copy of the book and found one at Allegheny College through interlibrary loan. Eventually the sought-after book arrived.

I flipped through the pages of the book searching for the Carlisle lettermen and found none. I repeated the process for Haskell and was disappointed again. Perhaps because neither school was competing at the college level at that time, their records were omitted. Or, it may have been too hard to gather up the information from the available data sources. Regardless, I came up dry. But I did stumble across some things of interest.

The book was dedicated to Pop Warner “with affectionate esteem” and Warner wrote a one-page article, “Flash-back to Carlisle” in which he reminisced about his years with the Indians. His list of highlights included:

  • Numerous victories over the University of Pennsylvania
  • Defeat of Harvard 18 to 15 in 1911 against Walter Camp All Americans as Percy Wendy, Sam Felton and Bob Fisher, the game in which Jim Thorpe kicked three goals from the field
  • The 27 to 6 trouncing the red-skinned youngsters gave to West Point in 1912, when the Cadets boasted players like Arnold, Littlejohn, Hyatt and Devore
  • I happily recall the truly great Indian squad of 1913 which handily swamped undefeated Dartmouth by a score of 35 to 0
  • Perhaps no Carlisle victory was more important or satisfying than the historic post-season game of 1907 when Chicago, coached by that grand old man Amos Alonzo Stagg and quarterbacked by Wally Steffen, another Walter Camp All American, was soundly defeated by the Indians, after the Conference champions had won the Big 10 title in an undefeated season.

Not listed were the 1905 Carlisle victory over West Point during a season Warner wasn’t at Carlisle and the 1907 defeat of Harvard, possibly because Warner felt the defeat of Chicago overshadowed it.

 

College Football Player Unionization

April 1, 2014

An issue that reared its ugly head during the days Carlisle Indians roamed the gridiron has resurfaced again—still unresolved. The college sports environment then was much different than it is today but the problems facing today’s players are similar to those Carlisle players faced. Because Carlisle’s players were viewed as wards of the government, their food, housing, clothing, and education were paid for by the school. I almost said the government but Superintendant Pratt couldn’t have kept the school open on what the government allocated it. He solicited and received substantial donations from individuals, particularly from Quaker ladies in Philadelphia. Proceeds from the highly profitable football program helped keep the school operating.

Pop Warner was criticized roundly for sharing football profits with the players, largely in the form of chits for clothing at Blumenthal’s (today’s Wardecker’s Men’s Wear). The reason for this was that the government supplied the students with uniforms and work clothing for their daily use, but it didn’t provide them with civilian clothing to wear off campus. Players at the big, private college football powerhouses of the day largely came from affluent families and didn’t need to make money for playing for their alma maters. Today’s situation is different. Many, if not most, top athletes’ families do not have the money to pay the vastly increased costs of attending college, making them more like the Carlisle Indians in financial terms than their opponents of yore.

The recent National Labor Relations Review Board (NLRB) ruling that college athletes are employees of the private universities they represent is just the most recent attempt to deal with the issue. The distinction of private is key to this ruling because the statute on which it is based only affects private institutions, not the large public universities that tend to be the athletic powerhouses today. So, if this ruling stands—which is a big if considering the Supreme Court may reject the manner in which the NLRB board members were appointed and strike its rulings—it will only impact the small number of private colleges and universities that compete in top-level Division I sports. However, if it stands, it may have considerable impact on Title IX and minor sports at those schools. The saga continues…

Globe Makes New Attack on Redskins

January 16, 2014

Although The Boston Globe’s Assistant Managing Editor and Sports Editor responded to my request that they correct the numerous errors and half truths in their 12/29/13 article: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/12/29/redskins-wonder-what-name-the-answer-traces-back-boston/GmfYbPTnHx1Ht5NgqN1EOM/story.html with “None of your points warrant a correction. It’s time to move on,” the story isn’t over.

The son of one of Lone Star Dietz’s Albright College players sent me the print version of the article which was printed in the Sports Section, not on the opinion pages where it belonged. That The Globe considered this to be a major article is evidenced by the fact that, including a large color photo, it covered over three-quarters of the front page of the Sports Section and the entirety of page C11. This was not just a minor throwaway piece. It was written for a purpose: to further The Globe’s agenda.

Last Saturday, January 4, The Globe ran an editorial that evidences two major points: 1) Attacking the Redskins is a major Globe agenda item, and 2) editorial staff must have read my (or some other researcher’s comments, if someone else responded to them) and sidestepped most of the reasons previously given for changing the team’s name: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/01/11/redskins-born-boston-retired/9DPJSUM1k87LYqFS2y9HCJ/story.html

Saturday’s editorial refers to the December 29 Globe article but does not attempt to correct to its many errors but attacks from a different direction. Perhaps The Globe’s editorial staff finally realized their recent article had been exposed as nothing more than a hit piece for which William Randolph Hearst would have been proud. What’s new is that The Globe now states, “Unlike ‘Braves’ or ‘Chiefs’ or ‘Indians,’ the term ‘Redskins’ refers to skin color.”

So, Redskins is now unacceptable because it’s based on skin color, even if Illini created the term. However, The Globe did not demand the Congressional Black Caucus, state of Oklahoma (Choctaw for Land of the Red Man), New Black Panther Party, The National Black Justice Coalition, Associated Black Charities, Association of Black <pick a profession>, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the United Negro College Fund to change their names and those names are all based on skin color. The Globe grasps for any justification to support its agenda.

Globe hit piece

Who made Redskins logo?

January 13, 2014

A November 15, 2013 article in The New York Times Magazine asked, “Who made that Redskins logo?” but didn’t attempt to answer the question. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/magazine/who-made-that-redskins-logo.html?_r=0

Summarized, my research found the following:

1. 1932 jerseys were dark blue with gold numerals.

2. 1933 colors were red with Indian heads on the front.

3. Lone Star Dietz was hired to coach the Boston Braves in March 1933.

4. Team name was changed to Redskins in July 1933.

5. New red jerseys with Indian heads on the front were worn in fall 1933.

6. Lone Star Dietz had the artistic ability, was available to do the work, and may have done it gratis. The Redskins’ new colors were similar to those of Carlisle Indian School where Dietz played football and assisted Pop Warner while teaching art instructor and illustrating school publications.

Contrary to what The Boston Globe claims, the Redskins wore new uniforms in 1933 and they were likely designed by Lone Star Dietz. Now, let’s see if The New York Times acknowledges this. Any bets?


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