Archive for May, 2011

Lone Star Dietz as a Pro Player

May 23, 2011

We interrupt the coverage of Carlisle’s 1903 post-season trip to the West Coast to ask for a little help with another topic dear to our hearts. Coverage of that trip should continue with the next post. David Neft discovered some 1919 newspaper articles that list Lone Star Dietz as having played pro football. Of course, we’re dying to know more about this. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to get copies of these articles. So, we’re asking anyone who has access to the newspapers in question, probably on microfilm, to send us scans of the articles.

Mr. Neft found that the Detroit Free Press had Dietz playing halfback for the Detroit Maroons on October 26 and November 9, 1919. The article also had three other Carlisle players in the Maroons’ lineup, including tackles Big Bear and Chief Cloud.

Other research has found listings of Dietz playing three games for the Columbus Panhandles in 1920 at guard and tackle, but no photos have been found to substantiate those claims. Dietz was 35 in 1919, an old age for athletes at that time, a factor that argues against him playing pro football in 1919 and 1920. On the other hand, his exact whereabouts in the 1919 and 1920 football seasons are not known and he is belied to have been broke and out of work at that time. Previous conjectures have him working in the motion picture industry at that time, but he was also available to play football. Any assistance would be most appreciated.

November 9

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Why Was Utah Chosen as the Opponent?

May 17, 2011

My blog will be less regular from now to the end of summer as I deal with some other things. Keep the ideas coming; some of my best blogs come from researching questions readers submit. Now, back to Carlisle’s 1903 postseason trip to the West Coast.

One of the questions I was asked was why did Pop Warner pick the University of Utah as an opponent. My guess is that Utah was located in a location that was convenient and that they had the potential of drawing a large enough crowd of ticket payers to make stopping for the game worthwhile. A basic reason for a having a game somewhere between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean was to keep the players sharp and to keep them off the train for awhile and give them some physical activity. Some other western colleges and universities met these criteria, too. What think made the difference was that Salt Lake City was a regional rail hub through which the team would likely be passing anyway. The question was, which team should Warner choose to play?

The only viable choices were Utah and Utah State because Brigham Young was not yet fielding college-level football teams at that time. Utah had had a pretty nice run from 1900 to 1902 but had lost to all of its college-level opponents in 1903. Utah State, on the other hand, had a poor record from 1900 to 1902 but had beaten both its college-level opponents in 1903 and one of them was Utah! The issue of how large a crowd Utah State could draw in Salt Lake City was probably asked. Utah State is located in Logan, 82 miles from Salt Lake City, so its supporters could make the game. But would Salt Lake City residents turn out? The thought was probably that they wouldn’t turn out as well as they would for a game with Utah and State probably wouldn’t bring enough people from Logan to offset this difference. Shock! Shock! Money probably played a role in the decision.

To be continued….

Utah Prepares for Carlisle Game

May 5, 2011

Coach Holmes wasn’t wasting any time in preparing for the Carlisle Indians because, as The Salt Lake Herald reported the next day, December 12, the varsity was out for signal practice the day before and would be practicing again that day. As predicted, Fred Bennion and “Fat” Robbins had joined the team for the big game. Benny was a fleet-footed halfback, and one supposes, a relative of Fat Robbins.

Holmes also shared with the press that Pop Warner had written him the previous day informing him that a game had been arranged with Reliance Athletic Club on Christmas Day in San Francisco. A third game was mentioned—a New Year’s Day game in Los Angeles—but the Indians’ opponent was not mentioned by name.

A friend of Holmes who lived in the east wrote him that he had seen Carlisle play that year and that they would be a formidable opponent. He pointed out their use of the tackles-back and wing-shift formations. The latter formation was used more often and confused the defenders. No Utah team had used this puzzling formation and it was expected to cause Utah’s varsity a lot of trouble.

The next day, The Herald reported that Warner had telegraphed Holmes the day before that the Indians would arrive in Salt Lake on Friday morning and would remain there to Monday. Warner and Superintendent Pratt both felt that travel was a broadening experience for their students and had them take in as much as possible when traveling for games. Carlisle players didn’t just come into town at the last minute and leave as soon as the game was over. They availed themselves of the cultural opportunities that existed wherever they were playing.

Warner also requested that the game consist of two 30-minute halves. In those days, football games didn’t have a standard length. Sometimes, the two halves were even of different lengths. The Utah players were enthusiastic about meeting the Indians and said they would be perfectly happy if they could just score on them.

To be continued….

Carlisle-Utah Game Settled

May 3, 2011

The Friday, December 11 Sporting section of The Salt Lake Herald was more definitive as it led with “Date Settled for Big Game.” Other headings included, “Carlisle and University to Meet One Week from Tomorrow,” Varsity Will Strengthen,” and “Holmes Picks Several Stars to Play with team.” The article started “The big football game between the Carlisle Indians and the state university will come off one week from tomorrow on Cummings Field. This was definitely settled yesterday, when Coach Holmes received a telegram from Coach Warner stating that it would be agreeable for the Indians to play on this date and that they would probably arrange a game for Christmas to be played in San Francisco.” The reporter mentioned that this news was received well by University of Utah students because those who planned on going home for Christmas would then have the opportunity to see the famous Carlisle Indians play the local squad.

The rest of the article dealt with Coach Holmes’s plans to strengthen his team for the game against Carlisle. His Utah team had only gone 3-4 for the regular season. Wins were over Ogden High School, the Fort Douglas soldiers, and the 12th Infantry. Losses were to the four college teams they played that year: Colorado, Utah State, Denver and Colorado State. These results did not portend good things for them against the Indians. To give Carlisle a little better competition, Holmes added “Fat” Robbins, Utah’s greatest center to that time, Fred Bennion the old line-smashing fullback, Paul Nelden a high school tackle, and Joe Anderson former University tackle.

An article titled “Why Not Play Christmas?” appeared further down the page. In it, Coach Gay of the 12th Infantry team was reported as saying that he was going to Logan to arrange a game with Utah State in Salt Lake City on Christmas Day now that the date was open. He thought the local fans would enjoy seeing the 3-0-0 championship team play. That game did not materialize as the Christmas edition of The Salt Lake Herald mentioned Carlisle’s game to be played that day on the West Coast but was silent about any local game.

To be continued….