Monday, August 31, 2015

Maine Black Bears (1928-29)

Last week, the Portland Press Herald's terrific UMaine beat writer, Mark Emmert (no, not the NCAA president), tweeted a picture of the throwback jersey Maine will wear for its homecoming game against Yale in honor of the school's 150th anniversary. It's not a true throwback -- it's basically the current shirt with a big "M" in lieu of the uniform number and "Black Bears" word mark -- but it does have its roots in the deep past. So naturally, let's take a gander!

In 1928 and '29, Maine's flashy jerseys sported a big "M" on the front, with thin blue stripes inside. The pattern changed from jersey to jersey -- sometimes the diagonal part of the "M" overlapped the vertical lines, sometimes it was the other way around. It's a reminder that football jersey design wasn't too scientific then, especially at a smaller school such as Maine.

The "M" changed shape in '29, but some of the '28 jerseys were recycled for another year. I'm not 100 percent sure of the "M's" color, but it appears to match the khaki-colored pants most everyone wore in the 1920s. It's one of those things that might be lost to history.

These neat toppers were used to lead off the Prism yearbook's
Maine football recaps for 1928 and '29. These are better than your typical
yearbook action photos from the period.

The '28 Black Bears were 4-1-2, with the only loss coming to Yale, so maybe Maine can get some revenge against the Bulldogs in the 1920s-inspired unis. 

The team pictures. There are many variations to the "M"
in the 1929 photo; just another reminder that football uniforms
weren't exactly uniform then.

One of the more notable Bears was running back Edmund "Rip" Black, who earlier in the year won the bronze medal in the hammer throw at the Amsterdam Olympics. He later became a lobster trapper and was named the fourth-greatest athlete from Maine by Sports Illustrated. You can read more about him here. The '29 team went 2-5.

A close-up of the '28 uniforms. I'n '28, Maine played Yale and Boston College
and will face both schools again this fall.

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here are some more: 20142011-131997-991976-84197519741965, more 19651957-591949-50. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire.

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