Tuesday, August 15, 2017

UConn Huskies (1950)

A while back, I noted that I was missing only two uniforms to complete the history of every non-NEC team in this project from 1950-2016: 1970 Penn and 1950 UConn. Well, the Quakers can be found here, and the Huskies are no longer lost to history after I discovered the Connecticut Campus archives are up and ready to be plundered for research purposes. 

Normally, I consult the old UConn Nutmeg yearbooks, which usually are packed with more than enough football photos to compile a detailed history for each season's uniforms. But a little mishap occurred in the making of the 1951 Nutmeg, which covered the 1950 football season:

Remember, kids, there was no way back up your files in 1951.

But back the uniforms: There are some odd goodies with this one. The Huskies wore navy blue helmets for their opener against Yale, but switched to white lids -- which they had worn the previous season -- for the rest of the autumn. Perhaps they wanted to look different from the Bulldogs, who also wore white helmets with navy-and-white uniforms? It could be pretty embarrassing to throw a pick-six at someone because you erroneously thought he was your teammate. (In 1951, UConn switched to blue helmets full-time. In 2013, the Huskies again wore blue and white helmets in the same season.) 

UConn, right, wore blue helmets only for its opener at Yale,
perhaps to avoid confusion in the marketplace.

Against Maine, another team with a similar color scheme,
UConn wore simpler socks and white helmets.
The socks show some inconsistency, too: the socks with 3-5 stripes were worn only for the opener; after that, a more conservative striped sock was worn when the Huskies weren't going bare-legged.  

The team itself finished 3-5 overall, 0-3 in Yankee Conference play. The wins were over Ohio Wesleyan (the alma mater of baseball legend Branch Rickey), Springfield and NYU.

And thanks to the "Helpful Henrys" who put the Connecticut Campus newspapers online, I can check off the last team I need to complete my post-1949 research.

The white jersey with white helmets was
worn at home against NYU, which dropped football in 1953.
More UConn unis for the Huskymanicas: 20162015201420132003 (Inside the Jersey)20021989-931984-881971-7219701966-6719651958-60195719511948-491934Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dick MacPherson (1930-2017)

Dick MacPherson always was a favorite coach of mine growing up, mostly because he was from Old Town, Maine (Pine Tree State represent!) and he was the jovial, lovable coach of some godawful New England Patriots teams (ah, the sons of Hugh Millen, playing in front of 20,000 or so at Foxboro Stadium) who hugged everyone in sight on the rare occasion of a Pats victory.

But before that, there was a successful run at Syracuse, where he went 66-46-4 and coached the Orange to an undefeated 1987 season. And before that he coached at UMass, where from 1971-77 he went 45-27-1, won four Yankee Conference titles and even a bowl game (the 1972 Boardwalk Bowl). And he was 7-0 against my Black Bears, but I'll forgive him for that one.

Above are the uniforms the Red/Minutemen wore during Mac's tenure: you can read about them here, here, here and hereI haven't written about the 1971 uniform yet, but it's pretty similar to the 1972 model. 

And as an added bonus, are some interesting Coach Mac tidbits I unearthed from the old Index yearbook archives. The essay is from the '72 book, the profile is from '75 and the dunk tank is from '76. Some pretty fun stuff. RIP, Coach.

Much, much more from the Minutemen: 20162015201420132000-021986-871978-841975-771974197319721966-681960-62, 1953-541951-521938-39.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dartmouth Big Green (1946-47)

Allow me to indulge the baseball fan in myself for a just a moment. In his delightful and addictive "Game Worn Guide to MLB Jerseys 1970-2017," (you can order a copy here and you won't regret it for a nanosecond) author William H. Henderson discusses a 1970s Atlanta Braves jersey that "has a quaint hand-drawn quality about it that will become but a memory in the increasingly professional world of MLB in a very short time."

Needless to say, college football often was the same way for many years, as exemplified by the 1946-47 Dartmouth Big Green. The white jerseys display perhaps the crudest-looking numbers on a football jersey since the earliest days of numbering (see the last post for a good example). You almost can see someone going freestyle with a set of scissors while going through the green felt. If you look at the team photo below, even the stitching appeared to have been done haphazardly (check out a couple of the 7s). 

Considering Dartmouth was supposed to be "big-time" football in 1946, it's amazing the team would commission uniforms that looked more at home on a high-school practice field than in front of thousands of denizens at Memorial field or the Yale Bowl.

The 1946 Dartmouth Indians/Big Green.
The numbers look real odd -- even the even digits (rimshot).
The '46 Big Green dons the green jerseys at Holy Cross.
Much more professional looking.
Bonus points for the official's old-school cap.

Apparently, the Big Green felt the same way, as most -- but not all -- the white '47 jerseys used more professional-looking numbers (that short, squat font that was in vogue at the time), and the hand-drawn versions were presumably banished to the jayvee/freshman teams.

The 1947 Dartmouth jerseys.
Now that's more like it.

The green '46 jerseys used the short, blocky font that had been around since the 1930s, but the '47s went to a larger font in a nod to the future, when most jerseys went with bigger numbers.

The team itself, playing its first postwar seasons, was no great shakes, going 3-6 in '46 and 4-4-1 in '47. Two of the wins were against Syracuse, a reminder that "big-time" Eastern football had different connotations then than now. Not to get off track, but it's interesting to examine the jumble of Eastern schools of that era and see which ones went REALLY big-time (BC, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn) and which ones consciously opted for "de-emphasis" (the Ivies, Holy Cross).

Some other unis from the Green Machine: 20162015201420132005-062003-041978-8619701957-611955-561951-5419441936-381929. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton. Inside the jersey: 1999-2002.