Friday, August 26, 2016

More on Amos Alonzo Stagg

   Stagg Posing With His Electric Car. He Was Known to Coach From His Car at Chicago,  photo 1933
There is an abundance that has been written about Amos Alonzo Stagg, nicknamed the “Grand Old Man of Football” whether it be related to football, baseball, basketball or any number of other sports. As a player, coach and author he has made his mark. We have made mention of Stagg in numerous postings (e.g. see previous posting) and will continue with this post. Stagg is listed on the Yale varsity football rosters for the years 1888 and 1889 (the year he was named an All – American) and captained  the team in 1888. He was better known at this time for his baseball prowess and pitching ability. He played for Yale and is listed on the varsity baseball rosters for the years 1885, ’86, ’87, ’88, ’89 and ’90.  He was a strong enough pitcher to have been given the opportunity to play professionally, but his personal morals precluded this. 

                          1889 Yale Team Baseball Photo (Stagg Holding the Ball), Pach Cabinet Photo

  Stagg and Catcher Jesse Dann (Captain of the Baseball Team in 1887), 1888, Pach Cabinet Card

                                              Jesse Dann, c. 1889, Catcher, Pach Cabinet Card

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

1888 Yale Football Team Cabinet Photo / Charles Gill

                             Back Row – Stagg, Rhodes, Woodruff, Heffelfinger, Gill, Wallace and Bull

                             Front Row – McClung, Wurtenberg, Pa Corbin (Captain) and Graves 

One of the best known and most desirable of early Yale football photos. This team had all three of the first Yale players to be named All-Americans in 1889, Stagg, Gill and Heffelfinger. With a 13 – 0 record this team outscored the opposition 698 – 0.  Pach albumin photo.

                                                       The 1888 Yale Varsity Crew

   We are including this Pach cabinet photo since it pictures Gill, Corbin, and Woodruff who appear in the football cabinet photo and also J.A. Hartwell (far right) who played varsity football 1889, '90 and '91. Charles Gill, who I have not written about previously in this blog played varsity football 1885, '86,'87, '88 and '89 (as Captain) and was considered amongst the best to have played football for Yale. He was a member of the varsity crew in 1887, '88 and '89.

                              Charles Otis Gill, Captain of the 1889 Yale Football Team
                              1889 All-American                               Pach Cabinet Card

               In 1889 the Yale team under Gill scored 665 points to their opponents 31.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

David S. Schaff (Yale "73) Autograph and Cabinet Photo

Two handwritten and signed ("David S. Schaff" and "D.S.S.") postcards, stamped "PRAHA" [Prague] 19. VII. and INNSBRUCK (Austria) 22. VII. 1913, both to his daughter Mary Louise Schaff.  Exceedingly rare autographs.

Forget most of what you think you know or what you have read in the great majority of the books, David Schaff, Yale class of '73 never attended or played rugby at the Rugby school in England. He did however learn the game while at boarding school at Kornthal (near Stuttgart) where there were English boys in attendance who played the game on a regular basis. One of my favorite quotes that I read from his time at Kornthal related to rugby was as follows:, "The German and French boys at the school never entered the field; the play was too much like 'work' to them".
Schaff is properly credited with being one of the main forces reintroducing football (soccer) at Yale in the first years of the 1870s, after about a thirteen year hiatus from the time it was prohibited (banned by the faculty in October of 1857).
On November 3, 1872 Schaff was elected president of the newly formed Yale Football Club (captaining the football team this same year) and he was singly instrumental in arranging for the November 16, 1872 Yale - Columbia Football match (picked twenties), at Hamilton Park, which he was unable to compete in, having injured himself the Wednesday before.

Quoting Schaff in 1894:  "As early as 1871, and perhaps as early as 1870, when I entered college as a sophomore, a number of us began playing football.  Many in the class of '73 made a great deal out  of it as a daily after-dinner sport. We then played on some large, open lots on Elm street, I think, and  just in the rear of a young ladies' boarding school. Some of the leading boating and baseball men in   the class joined in the sport and were prominent players, such as Boyce, Oaks, Meyer, McCook, Piatt and Hemingway. The ball used in the early part of this period was the round rubber ball, wound up by a key. In the fall of  '71 I sent to a school friend, ' Babes ' Smith, of Bath, England, for a Rugby    ball. Smith and I had played together in many a game at school near Stuttgart. He sent me an oval     ball with leather cover. It came blown-up and incased in a wooden box. To his honor, as a football   man, be it said, the ball came as a gift to the football interests of the class. It came with the freight    paid in advance, and how it got through the custom-house remained a mystery to me. The coming of the new ball had been much talked about, and on its arrival was looked upon as a curiosity. So far as  the tradition among us went, this was the first Rugby ball ever seen on the college grounds. I remember well the man who carried it out to the grounds with me for the first afternoon's play and the expectancy with which its first use excited us. Like some other good things in this world, the Rugby   ball met with anything but general favor at first. It was tried, reprobated by some, put aside, but  brought out again and kept before the players till it came to be regarded as the best kind of ball for a  football field" (which was years away) -  for the early history of rugby football see the blog entry for June 13, 2015.


                                                  Schaff cabinet photo from 1872/73

Reverse of the Notman cabinet photo