Posts Tagged ‘Robert Wheeler’

Was Percy Haughton Present at 1911 Carlisle-Harvard Game?

February 1, 2011

Recently James Vautravers asked me a question about the 1911 Carlisle-Harvard game which was arguably the Indians’ greatest victory:

Everything I have ever read about the 1911 Carlisle-Harvard game says that Percy Haughton was in New Haven scouting Yale that day. But almost everything I’ve read about the game is false. So I was wondering if this might be false too.
Wheeler’s Jim Thorpe book (which omits all the popular false info about this game) does not directly confirm or deny the story, but he has a quote from Haughton which seems to imply that Haughton was at the game to witness it.
Do you know whether or not Percy Haughton was actually in New Haven that day?

Most of what Wheeler included about Percy Haughton regarding the 1911 Carlisle-Harvard game was quoted from Pop Warner as indicated in Wheeler’s endnotes. A reader could easily interpret what Warner said to imply that Haughton was present at the game. However, Warner attended only one of Iowa State’s games in 1895, the year that he coached two teams: Iowa State and Georgia. Actually being present at a game was less important for a head coach than it is today for several reasons. First, coaches not only did not call the plays then, they were prohibited from doing so. Coaches’ legal involvement in the flow of the game was greatly limited as compared to today. Second, team captains played a much larger role then than now. Lone Star Dietz even had to resort to bribery to get his quarterbacks to call pet plays that they didn’t like. Captains were much more involved in the running of the team than they are today. And there was generally only one captain because players played both ways and very often were on the field for the whole game. So, it is plausible that Haughton may have been away scouting Harvard’s rival for their upcoming grudge match. A parallel would have been Bo Schembechler skipping the Michigan-Wisconsin game to scout the Buckeyes.

To be continued…

Jim Thorpe Auction Update

May 20, 2008

I called Bob Wheeler to let him know about the auction mentioned last week. Although the lot was out of almost anyone’s price range, it was important that he know about it, particularly the three audiotapes made by Jim Thorpe. Bob is making an audiobook for his definitive biography of Jim Thorpe and having Jim Thorpe’s voice in it would be a great addition. Bob was way ahead of me – decades ahead. He got copies of the tapes long ago and is working them into his audiobook. So, his audiobook will have things the printed version doesn’t have: Jim Thorpe’s voice for one. It will surely include some of Bob’s experiences interviewing all those people over thirty years ago and will surely include snippets of some of their voices. We’ll just have to wait for it as no release date has been set as yet.

As it turns out, these items come from Joel Platt’s collection that was mentioned in this blog some weeks ago. It appears that Platt periodically offers items for sale. It’s not clear if he receives bids high enough to get him to part with anything. It’s my opinion that the Smithsonian should buy Pratt’s entire collection and use it as the nucleus of a national sports museum – unless Mayor Reed of Harrisburg gets there first.