Posts Tagged ‘Carlisle vs. Army’

More Evidence That Sally Jenkins Was Wrong

June 27, 2011

While looking up the rules regarding the quarterback sneak in Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906, I came across more evidence to support the position James Sweeney took in There Were No Oysters, his critique of Sally Jenkins’ assertions in her 2007 book about Carlisle Indian School football. In his piece, Football in the Middle States, George Orton of the University of Pennsylvania wrote:

Carlisle fell a little below the high standard of former years, though the brilliant games they 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 source of strength.

Orton completely contradicts Jenkins’ claim that Carlisle abandoned its open style of play under Coach George Woodruff in 1905. It might have been that Woodruff preferred old-style play but that isn’t what the team actually did on the field games as documented by this observer. Orton even thought the Indians played brilliantly on the soft field against Harvard where Jenkins lambasted Woodruff for unimaginative play. She covered the 1905 season more extensively than most—through the Harvard game—but made no mention of the game with Army the following week or the late-season road trip west. This is most curious because, as Sweeney documented so well, the Indians beat Army in the two teams’ first meeting ever in a game that received wide coverage, particularly because of the large number of dignitaries present for the contest.

A writer with Jenkins’ pedigree and credentials could hardly have been unaware of the 1905 game given the research she did for her book. One wonders how she could have had so much wrong about the 1905 Carlisle Indians. After all, these were the young men who finally got to settle the score, metaphorically speaking, with the “long knives” on a field of battle. The 1912 Carlisle Indians were a great team, but it was their 1905 predecessors who actually did the deed.

Carlisle’s Most Important Game

October 30, 2009

The following question was posed to me this week:

I have to do a college speech on an event in the 20th century. I decided to do it on a Carlisle Indian School football game and how that particular game brought attention to the school, the players, and the whole story behind it. If you had to pick ONE game that, in your opinion, put the Carlisle Indian School and their football team on the map what game would you pick.

This is a very difficult question to answer because there are several possibilities:

1. In just their third full season of football, the Indians played The Big Four (Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Penn) in successive weeks and were competitive in all four games. A bad call cost them the Yale game and they held Harvard to just four points. National Champions 10-0-1 Princeton beat all of their opponents except Lehigh, Army and Harvard worse than they beat the 5-5 Indians. The Tigers were held to a scoreless tie by Lafayette. Carlisle smashed Penn State 48-5 and beat the previously unbeaten Champions of the West Wisconsin 18-8.

2. In Pop Warner’s first year at Carlisle, the Indians notched their first win over a BIG FOUR team, Penn, 16-5. They also beat California 2-0 in a game played on Christmas Day in San Francisco. Halfback Isaac Seneca was named to Walter Camp’s All America First Team, the first Carlisle player to be so honored.

3. The 10-1 1907 Indians beat a BIG THREE team for the first time when they took Harvard 23-15. They also beat Penn 26-6, Minnesota and Chicago. Their only loss was to Princeton. Warner considered the set of players on this team to be Carlisle’s best and Jim Thorpe was on the bench! The win over Amos Alonzo Stagg gave him much personal satisfaction.

4. The 11-1 1911 team also beat both Harvard and Penn. Warner considered this team to be Carlisle’s best but it lost to Syracuse by one point due to overconfidence and listless play. Clark Shaugnessy ranked the 1911 Carlisle-Harvard game as one of the twelve best games of all time. Jim Thorpe described it as his most favorite game of his long career.

5. The importance of the 1912 Carlisle-Army was debunked in “Jude and the Prince,” an article written by James G. Sweeney and published in the May 2009 journal of the College Football Historical Society.

I’d appreciate reading your opinions regarding Carlisle’s most important game.

Players’ First Names Aren’t Easy to Find

August 28, 2008

One of the most difficult and time-consuming things my editor has me do is to provide players’ full names. Now James G. Sweeney, a lawyer from Goshen, New York and a 50-year West Point supporter, has requested that I help him identify a number of players. Sweeney is writing an article about the 1905 Carlisle-Army game that was approved by the War Department but can’t find players’ first names in newspaper reports. Apparently because I write about Carlisle Indian School football, he thought I’d know all the players’ names. I wish it were so.

 

Finding the biggest stars’ first names isn’t too difficult and, by now, I can give most of them off the top of my head, assuming that I don’t have a senior moment. Even identifying them wasn’t a piece of cake. One of the reasons for that was that some of them played under multiple names. For example, Emil Hauser was better known as Wauseka and his brother, Pete, was also a star player; Charles Guyon went by Wahoo and, to confuse things further, his younger brother, Joe, came along a few years later and made an even bigger name for himself; and William H. Dietz played as Lone Star. Linda Witmer’s The Indian Industrial School: Carlisle, Pennsylvania 1879-1918 includes a list of students that attended Carlisle. Although incomplete, it nonetheless is a useful tool. One of the problems in identifying players is that many siblings and cousins attended the school. Determining which one is the correct person is a challenge.

 

Carlisle Indian School publications are invaluable resources. In 1905 the school newspaper went by The Arrow. The school had no literary magazine at that time. Most of the big games were covered by The Arrow. Often articles from big-city papers were reprinted in it. From them we get our cast of characters, if only by their last names. Varsity football players were often active in the literary and debating societies because they were among the oldest on campus. Write ups of these societies’ activities often included full names. Football stars often got press for more mundane activities because they were famous. These pieces often included their first names. Players other than stars received less coverage.

 

Graduation coverage included full names for the graduating class and much coverage of the individuals in that class. Because most students had little proper schooling before coming to Carlisle and often at advanced ages, they were unwilling or unable to commit to lengthy courses of study that would lead to graduation.

 

My ace in the hole is the athletic or football (it varied) banquet. This time I hit pay dirt because the coverage of the 1905 football banquet (held in early 1906) included not only the menu for the banquet and the toasts given, but a complete roster of the players on the team with those who lettered identified with Xs. Well not exactly complete. Chauncey Archiquette’s name was omitted. Perhaps Jeffrey Powers-Beck has the reason for his omission from the list in Chief: The American Indian Integration of Baseball, 1897-1945 when he states that Archiquette, then 28, was an 1898 Carlisle grad who had played football and other sports during his days at the school and returned as staff in 1905 but played again. This was the same Archiquette a 1953 Los Angeles Mirror article claimed was Jim Thorpe’s boyhood idol.

1905 Carlisle vs. Army