Yesterday’s mail brought the 1918 Spalding Guide. It includes a couple of interesting things about the Carlisle Indians. First off, the team photo (of the 1917 team) shows the players in different jerseys than we’re accustomed to them wearing. These appear (the small photo on the yellowed page isn’t the clearest) to have two stripes above the midriff and above the elbows on the sleeves. I think I may have seen one of these jerseys before, possibly in Wardecker’s store.
About all that was written about the 1917 team, their last as things turned out, was what George Orton of the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in his piece about the mid-Atlantic region : “Carlisle showed improvement over the previous year, but until they get a team of first rate caliber they will do well not to schedule so many matches with the big colleges.” Perhaps, he thought Carlisle had been playing opponents well above their weight since 1914. Their 1917 schedule was brutal, causing the overmatched Indians to lose by huge scores to the likes of Army, Navy, Penn and John Heisman’s Georgia Tech, arguably the best team in the country that year.
The Guide also includes schedules for most college and university teams as well as some prep school and high schools. Because Carlisle largely played against colleges and universities, its games were listed with theirs and not in the Scholastic schedule. Although the schedule wasn’t nearly as tough. It included Army and Pitt, the team that would be deemed National Champions for 1918. The schedule was as printed in the Carlisle school newspaper on May 24, 1918 except for the October 26 game with Detroit which wasn’t ultimately scheduled.
Orton didn’t even hint that Carlisle was about to close. The published schedules included Carlisle. Had it been know well in advance of the football season that Carlisle Indian School was closing, their games would have been stricken from the list. This is further evidence that Carlisle’s closing was not inevitable after the 1914 Joint Congressional Investigation.
By the way, Cornell’s 1917 jerseys again had stripes just below the elbow.