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.

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