Maize and Blue Sesquicentennial

Maize and Blue Sesquicentennial

Submitted by Everyone Murders on February 11th, 2017 at 11:36 AM

Happy 150th Birthday, Maize & Blue!

Sunday, February 12, marks 150 years of Maize and Blue being the school colors of the University of Michigan.  I’m guessing that this will get some press elsewhere, but I thought the story would be of interest to fans and alums, so here it is

Adoption of Azure Blue and Maize as School Colors:

On February 12, 1867, a committee of the “literary department” gathered in the College Chapel for some important business – the adoption of school colors for The University of Michigan.  Established in 1817, the school had for fifty years made no declaration of the school colors.

Our college colors were chosen at a meeting of the literary department held in the chapel on Saturday, February 12, 1867, when Milton Jackson, ’67, Albert H. Pattengill, ’68, and J. Eugene Jackson, ’69, the committee appointed for the purpose, reported a resolution in favor of “azure-blue and maize”, which was adopted. In about ten years the colors came to be styled, as they are now styled, yellow and blue. The original blue was neither light nor very dark, and the yellow was decidedly golden. Never has there been any warrant for the sickly yellow and the faded blue furnished by some of the tradesmen of Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Mvictors quoting The Michigan Book, pub. 1898 LINK

The official word came via resolution: 

Your committee, appointed to select emblematic colors for our University, unanimously agree in presenting as their choice, Azure Blue and Maize, and recommend that the following resolution be adopted: 'Resolved, that Azure Blue and Maize be adopted as the emblematic colors of the University of Michigan

Liene Karels (Fall 1996). "Which Maize and Blue?". Michigan Today(courtesy of Wikipedia).

Of note, committee member Albert Pattengill went on to be both a professor of classical and romance languages at Michigan, and to chair the athletic board (precursor to the athletic department) until he died in 1906.  History of the University of Michigan, Burke Aaron Hinsdale, page 263, Courtesy of Wikipedia.  Maize and Blue have been integral in both academics and athletics from the time of their adoption.

OK, So What Are “Azure Blue” and “Maize”?:

The business of trying to pin down exactly what “Azure Blue and Maize” are, though, took another 45 years.  The inspiration from 1867 is generally agreed to be the color of a clear blue sky (which narrows it down to approximately one hundred thousand possible colors, IMO) and “Indian corn” (which is far more specific IMO, but not – apparently – in the pre-Harbaugh athletic department of recent years).  So what exactly are “Azure Blue” and “Maize”? The question remained unsettled until 1912.  (And color scientists can reasonably argue that it remains unsettled to this day – although the Pantone colors used by the Office of Communication are pretty well-defined.)

In 1912, disheartened by the pastel-ization of maize and blue in official uses, a committee prepared a report for the Regents to achieve an official designation of the particular school colors, underscoring that it would not stand to have our athletic teams wearing baby blue and nursery-room yellow (that’s what 1990s UCLA would be for).  History of the University of Michigan, Burke Aaron Hinsdale, page 263, Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The committee report is well worth a read, and can be found HERE.  The report concluded:

There appears to be no record that the exact shades of the colors of the University were ever determined. The color blue was made use of officially by the University before the class of 1867 chose the "maize and azure blue" as emblematic of the University.  LINK

The report continues on to observe:

In short, the blue color, which is the one longest associated with the University, starting with a shade almost as dark as "navy blue" has gradually weakened until it has the tint known as "baby blue." The maize, likewise, has faded to correspond,  and is now an expressionless pale yellow.   So delicate have the colors become, that they have not only lost their original character, but are ineffective in decorations,  and useless to the Athletic association,  which has been forced to employ colors entirely different from those which recent graduates regard the University colors. It is only necessary to see the diversity of the banners which are displayed in the store windows to realize the confusion which exists.

Then, to clarify, the committee references other undefined colors:

Azure blue, as defined by the dictionaries,  is lapis lazuli, Prussian blue, cobalt blue,  ultramarine blue, the clear blue color of the unclouded sky. Maize is the color of the Indian corn.

Bentley has an example that I believe is circa 1912, although it may have faded over the years:

1912 Style

Current Style ( ):


Do the current colors hit the mark?  We’ve seen this debated on this site before, but I submit that they are pretty close (and great looking).  I might want a little more saturation in the maize, and perhaps a smidge darker, but I’m happy with what they came up with.

So Happy Birthday, Maize and Blue!  For 150 years we’ve enjoyed the best color combination of any university, anywhere.  Well done, Messrs. Jackson, Pattengill and Jackson!!

[Note - Any time someone writes on this site about the school colors, I’m impressed by the collective knowledge on the topic and the passionate views as to what the school’s official colors should be.  So if anyone has corrections, etc., please put them in the comments.  I’ve provided citations and hyperlinks at points above for the curious.]

Forgotten Blue - Jennie Ritter

Forgotten Blue - Jennie Ritter

Submitted by mGrowOld on September 27th, 2016 at 12:52 PM

Recently my new BFF It's Harambe took on the thankless task of asking his fellow MgoBloggers to rank the top 25 Michigan athletes of all time.  As the list was revealed it was clear to this reader that some of the most notable players who competed during the athletic stone age (pre-internet) had been forgotten about.  This weekly diary will take a look at the more notable players from our past to remind everyone of what they did and why they deserve to be honored and remembered.



Image result for jennie ritter michigan softball

On the feeling after throwing a no-hitter
"I think it's more a sigh of relief to know it's over, and I did well. Actually, a lot of times I don't know it's a no-hitter when I finish, until somebody walks up to me. Even then, I was so in the zone at that time that I just wanted to keep throwing. I want keep doing it, see how long I can go before they can hit me. It's exciting, it really is."

While not as underrepresented on the list as baseball & hockey players our women athletes from the past only landed one spot on the top 25.  One lady who definitely could make a strong case for inclusion was a softball star from our recent history, Jennie Ritter, who perhaps was forgotten because she was a pitcher – not a hitter – but was clearly one of the most dominant pitchers the sport has ever seen.

Ritter saw limited playing time as a freshman, only getting 7 decisions for a 5-2 record. Debuting on February 15, 2003, Ritter got a no-decision, pitching 5-innings, giving up a run and striking out 9 vs. the San Diego State Aztecs.  She made her second appearance in the NCAA Regionals, shutting out Wright State for three innings to collect her last win that season.

In 2004, Ritter earned All-Big Ten honors after posting 24 wins and 269 strikeouts, of which the latter ranked second all-time for the Wolverines. Ritter fired her first career no-hitter on March 12 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. She was a hit batter away from a perfect game.

Ritter had a golden season as a junior, earning All-Big Ten and National Fastpitch Coaches' Association First Team All-American honors.  She was named conference "Pitcher" and "Female Athlete of The Year" to go along with USA Softball Player of The Year and University of Michigan's "Female Athlete of The Year." She threw three no-hitters and a perfect game on April 17, 2005 vs. the Indiana Hoosiers.  She also broke and set the school records for wins and innings pitched. Her strikeouts and shutouts still rank top-5 all-time for a Wolverine season. She also won a Big Ten pitching Triple Crown for the best win, strikeout and ERA totals.

Beginning on February 12 - April 19, Ritter went on a career best 22 consecutive game win streak, eventually snapped by the Penn State Nittany Lions on April 22.[7] On May 4, Ritter punched out 16 Western Michigan Broncos in a two-hitter for her career single game regulation best.

Ritter would lead the Wolverines to the No. 1 seed at the Women's College World Series and opened her first and only appearance with a shutout of the DePaul Blue Demons.  After escaping elimination, Ritter led the way into the Championship Finals against defending champs, the UCLA Bruins. Ritter toughed out a 10-inning battle in the third game of the finale series to win the National Championship and the distinction of being the first team east of the Mississippi River to accomplish the feat. She also earned All-Tournament Team honors for her 5-1 record and 60 strikeouts in 54-innings (then a new series record).

Ritter's senior season saw her repeat all-season honors: All-Big Ten, First Team All-American and Michigan "Female Athlete of The Year."  She threw a no-hitter and broke her own record for strikeouts and strikeout ratio (11.6); her shutouts were also a new record, the strikeouts totals remains tops for a single season. Ritter also posted her best ERA and WHIP to accompany a pair of top-5 records for innings and wins at Michigan, helping to earn her a second conference Triple Crown.

On April 15 in a 1-0 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, Ritter struck out her 1,000th career batter.  In a win over the Michigan State Spartans on May 6, Ritter began a career best 45.2 consecutive scoreless innings streak that was broken on May 21, when she broke the school record for single game strikeouts, whiffing a career best 19 in Regional action against the Oklahoma Sooners.  During the streak, Ritter won all 8 games and struck out 76 batters, surrendering only 12 hits and 7 walks.

Ritter would graduate as the all-time Michigan Wolverines record holder in strikeouts, shutouts, WHIP, innings pitched and strikeout ratio. As well she also put up some of the best wins and ERA numbers all-time for the Wolverines.  She currently still holds the records for strikeout ratio and shutouts. She is also the strikeout ratio leader for the Big Ten Conference at 10.1 and ranks top-10 in almost every other pitching category. Ritter is also a top-20 strikeout ratio pitcher all-time for a career in the NCAA Division I.

Image result for jennie ritter michigan softball


From Ritter:

 “You know what, there has been so many incredible things happen to me. The reason why it stands out isn’t that we were the No. 1 team in the country and that we won, but that was the first moment in my life where I really felt people say hard work pays off or whatever it may be, when you devote yourself to one thing, it happens. I’m not sure that anybody on that team 100 percent believed. I think we all believed it was possible, but there might have been a lot of shellshock that it actually happened. We just kind of played and we loved to play and it was almost like playing not to end the season as opposed to playing to win a national championship. At least that’s how I felt and that’s what propelled us. To me, if you talk about a defining moment or one thing I’ll always take away, it’s the camaraderie of the team. I’ve never, on USA or anywhere else, I’ve never had that type of camaraderie, that type of connection, that I had on that ’05 team. It’s hard to explain unless you were on that team but it was the pure trust and the understanding of what our goals were. We didn’t have to say it. It was just every single piece of it, every single moment. That’s what I can take away from the World Series, the ‘A-Ha’ moment where you saw how important it was to be a team and have a heart and will to do something together.”


Jeanie Ritter – a true Michigan (Wo)man!


Forgotten Blue - Brendan Morrison

Forgotten Blue - Brendan Morrison

Submitted by mGrowOld on September 19th, 2016 at 10:19 PM

Recently my new BFF It's Harambe took on the thankless task of asking his fellow MgoBloggers to rank the top 25 Michigan athletes of all time.  As the list was revealed it was clear to this reader that some of the most notable players who competed during the athletic stone age (pre-internet) had been forgotten about.  This weekly diary will take a look at the more notable players from our past to remind everyone of what they did and why they deserve to be honored and remembered.



Image result for brendan morrison michigan hockey OT

"He was the best Freshman, the best Sophomore, he was the best Junior, and now he's the best player in the country."

Michigan center John Madden

Like baseball, our storied hockey past was seemingly overlooked by pollsters when selecting the greatest athletes in Michigan history.  With many players to choose from I thought it was appropriate to lead with the player who scored arguably the most memorable single goal in Michigan hockey history.


After playing one year in British Columbia Morrison joined the team in 1993. He had also been approached by the Denver Pioneers and the  Maine Black Bears to join their school teams, but ultimately chose Michigan. Registering 48 points (20 goals and 28 assists) over 38 games as a freshman, Morrison was named the CCHA Rookie of the Year for the 1993–94 season. He played on a line with fellow freshman Jason Botterill; the two played together throughout their college career. In the 1994 playoffs, he helped the Wolverines to a CCHA championship. Playing in his sophomore year (1994–95), Morrison improved to 76 points (23 goals and 43 assists) over 39 games and received his first of three consecutive CCHA First Team All-Star selections.


With 72 points over 45 games in 1995–96, Morrison received his first of back-to-back CCHA Player of the Year awards. He added 15 points in 7 post-season games to capture his second CCHA championship with the Wolverines. Advancing to the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Michigan advanced to the final against the Colorado College Tigers. Morrison scored the championship-winning goal 3:35 into overtime to win the game 3–2.


Red Berenson, the Michigan coach, teased Morrison afterward, saying, "Brendan, what took you so long?" Bach had been moved to the other side of his goal by a quick pass, Greg Crozier to Bill Muckalt, followed by a pass from Muckalt to Morrison. The puck was rolling by then, and Morrison gave it a poke. The goalie could not get back in time to snuff the little shot that was Morrison's 28th goal of the season. It was the Wolverines' first national title in 32 years. In addition to receiving NCAA Tournament MVP honors, Morrison was named to the NCAA West Regional and NCAA All-Tournament Teams.

Image result for brendan morrison michigan hockey

Morrison was named team captain in his senior year. He totaled college personal bests that season of 31 goals, 57 assists and 88 points over 43 games, culminating in a Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA's most outstanding player; Morrison had been a finalist for the award the previous two years. The Wolverines repeated as CCHA champions, but lost to the Boston University Terriers in the NCAA semifinal. Morrison completed his four-year college career as the Wolverines' all-time points leader with 284, surpassing Denny Felsner. His points total also ranked seventh all-time among NCAA players.





Forgotten Blue - Barry Larkin

Forgotten Blue - Barry Larkin

Submitted by mGrowOld on September 14th, 2016 at 9:26 AM

Recently my new BFF It's Harambe took on the thankless task of asking his fellow MgoBloggers to rank the top 25 Michigan athletes of all time.  As the list was revealed it was clear to this reader that some of the most notable players who competed during the athletic stone age (pre-internet) had been forgotten about.  This weekly diary will take a look at the more notable players from our past to remind everyone of what they did and why they deserve to be honored and remembered.




Image result for barry larkin michigan

Dusty Baker, Reds manager

"Barry not only was one of the most talented and gifted players, but he was one of the most intelligent on and off the field. He had great speed but had the ability to slow down the game, so he made very few mistakes. He is one of the few players who maximized the ability he was born with. Barry could do it all. He is the six-tool player all the scouts are looking for now, one with all the baseball skills plus intellect."


One of the more glaring omissions in the top 25 greatest Michigan athletes poll was the absence of any baseball or hockey players on the list when in fact; one of the greatest baseball players of all time was a “Michigan Man” – Barry Larkin.

Larkin accepted a football scholarship to the University of Michigan to play for legendary coach Bo Schembechler, but during his freshman year he decided to play baseball exclusively

Born April 28, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Larkin was an honor student and athletic star at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School and enrolled at the University of Michigan with the idea of playing both baseball and football. But when legendary UM football coach Bo Schembechler advised Larkin to redshirt his freshman year, Larkin’s path to Cooperstown began. “The best decision Bo Schembechler ever made, in my opinion,” Larkin said. “It allowed me to focus on only one sport (baseball) for the first time.”  . He was a two-time All-American and led the Wolverines to berths in two College World Series, in 1983 and 1984 (the last time Michigan reached the finals).  Larkin was also named Big Ten Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985.

After earning a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, Larkin was taken by the Reds with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 MLB Draft.

Larkin finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1985 despite playing just 41 games. The next season, he won the Reds’ starting shortstop job, and by 1988 Larkin was a first-time All-Star with a .296 average, 91 runs scored, 32 doubles and 40 stolen bases.

In 1990, Larkin finished seventh in the NL MVP voting after hitting .301 with 30 steals and 67 RBIs. The Reds went wire-to-wire in winning the NL West that year, then dispatched the Pirates and the A’s in the postseason to win the World Series. In the four-game sweep over Oakland in the Fall Classic, Larkin hit .353 and scored three runs.

Larkin began to develop power in 1991 when he hit 20 homers, and his all-around play continued to improve. He won the first of three consecutive Gold Glove awards in 1994, was named the NL MVP in 1995 after hitting .319 en route to the Reds’ NL Central title and trip to the NLCS, and became the first shortstop – and just the second Reds player – to post a 30-homer/30-steal season in 1996.

“I’m not a home run hitter,” said Larkin, who hit five home runs in two consecutive days in 1991 – another first for a shortstop. “I’m a line drive hitter. (In 1996), I hit (33) line drives that went over the fence.”

Larkin was also a role model off the field, winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993 and the Lou Gehrig Award in 1994.

Larkin retired after the 2004 season – he was named an All-Star in his final year in the big leagues – with a .295 career average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Larkin scored at least 80 runs in a season seven times, hit 30-plus doubles in six seasons and stole 30-or-more bases five times. He won his three Gold Glove awards at shortstop en route to a career fielding percentage of .975, and won nine Silver Slugger awards.  He played every one of his 19 big league seasons with the Reds.

Larkin's number 16 was retired by Michigan on May 1, 2010.




MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1980

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1980

Submitted by saveferris on August 30th, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Previous MGoHistory [1986, 1971, 1997, 1989]

As the long winter that is the college football offseason approaches its merciful conclusion, we pause once again to review the glory of Michigan past before we witness what is sure to be the glory of Michigan future.  So enter the TARDIS and join me and The Doctor as we take a look at the year that was….1980.

America enters a new decade as a country suffering, as President Jimmy Carter refers to it, a “crisis of confidence”.  Watergate and Vietnam have left the American people disillusioned with their government.  The US economy, battered for the better part of the previous decade by recession, inflation, gasoline shortages, and high unemployment has many doubting in the future of the country.  Adding insult to injury, the Soviet Union’s brash invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis calls into question America’s position on the world stage.  The morale of the country in 1980 is not good. 

Enter this guy.  Former actor and governor of California, Ronald Reagan, bringing a message of optimism and hope, wins a landslide victory in November to become the 40thPresident of the United States.  Reagan’s policies of increased deficit spending and lower taxes help pull the economy out of the doldrums of the 1970’s and sends the American consumer culture into overdrive, a culture that is still strongly imprinted on America to this day.

The countrys’ morale is also given a big boost in 1980 by these guys.  The XIIIth Winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, NY open under the specter of a US-lead boycott of the upcoming Summer Games in Moscow in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  Rather than lead a boycott of their own, the Soviets attend the US-hosted games determined to humiliate the Americans on their home soil.  The event the Soviets are most favored to win is the mens hockey tournament, where the Soviet National Team has been widely regarded as the best hockey squad for going on 20 years.  The US National Team is a collection of 20 college amateurs lead by Minnesota Head Coach Herb Brooks and is not expected to compete for a medal.  The US team surprises many by scrapping its’ way into the medal round only to be faced with a semi-final match-up against the Soviets which nobody believes can be won.  In what is now referred to as the Miracle on Ice, the Americans stun the Soviets 4-3 and then go on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland in the final.  The US win in hockey sparks a wave of patriotism throughout the country and is widely regarded at the greatest sports upset in history.

Other notable news items of the year is the eruption of Mt St. Helens in Washington state which kills 57 people and causes upwards of $3 billion in property damage.  The Voyager 1 space probe has a rendezvous with the planet Saturn, giving humans their first up-close look at the spectacular rings around the planet.   The Chrysler Corporation, headed by Lee Iacocca, negotiates a federal loan to avoid bankruptcy.  Consumer products like Post-It Notes, the Rubiks Cube, and the video game Pac-Man appear.  And the Information Age gets somewhat of a start with the development of the telephone modem and the launch of CNN, which will ultimately lead to the 24 hour news cycle and the ubiquitous presence of the media in everyday life.

In the sporting world, 1980 is a banner year for Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania professional teams are represented in every major sporting championship contest in 1980.  The Pittsburgh Steelers, lead by future Hall of Fame quarterback and NutriSystem pitchman Terry Bradshaw, win their 4thSuper Bowl championship by defeating the LA Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.  On the ice, the Philadelphia Flyers fall to the New York Islanders in 6 games of the Stanley Cup Finals.  On the hardwood, the 76ers featuring the legendary Julius Erving lose the NBA Championship in 6 games to the LA Lakers and a rookie Magic Johnson.  The Commonwealth is redeemed by the end of the year when the Mike Schmidt leads the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title, defeating the Kansas City Royals in 6 games (this is not a typo, KC was at one time very good at baseball).

In the entertainment world, people watch “Dallas” by the millions and everyone becomes obsessed with the question of , “Who shot JR?”.  Other popular television programming includes “Three’s Company”, “Little House on the Prairie”, “The Love Boat”, and “The Dukes of Hazzard”.  On the big screen, we flock to see “The Empire Strikes Back” and learn that {SPOILER ALERT} Darth Vader is Luke’s father.  Nobody flocks to see “Heaven’s Gate”, which winds up bankrupting United Artists; and we are all blessed with some of the great comedic releases of all time in “Caddyshack”, “Airplane!”, and “The Blues Brothers”.

On the radio we are enjoying the post-disco sounds of Blondie and Kool and the Gang.  We rock out to power bands such as Queen and AC/DC, who release their classic album “Back In Black”.  The rumblings of a second British invasion are also starting to be felt in New Wave bands such as Devo, The Talking Heads, and David Bowie.  Sadly, the music and entertainment world are dealt a stunning blow late in the year with the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. 

Meanwhile, in Ann Arbor, morale is high.  Michigan Football is entering its second century of existence and head coach Bo Schembechler only a year removed from having won the Ten Year War against his nemesis Woody Hayes, sits atop the conference as the master of the Big Ten.  Team 101 is one of Coach Schembechler’s most talent-laden squads featuring All –Americans George Lilja and Anthony Carter as well as future All-Americans Bubba Paris, Kurt Becker, Ed Muransky,  Butch Woolfolk, and…..Anthony Carter.  The Wolverines, coming off a lackluster 8-4 record the previous season begin the season ranked 12thin the country only to fall to 1-2 and out of the polls early in the season with heartbreaking losses to Notre Dame and South Carolina by a grand total of 5 points.

Once conference play is underway though, Michigan finds its legs and rolls through opponents by massive margins including three straight shutouts of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Purdue to set up another showdown with Ohio in Columbus.  The 10thranked Wolverines face off against 2ndyear coach Earle Bruce and the 5thranked Buckeyes with the conference and Rose Bowl hanging in the balance.  Michigan grinds out a 9-3 victory earning  Schembechler his 9thBig 10 title and 6thRose Bowl appearance.

Leading up to Rose Bowl contest against Pac-10 Champion Washington, the primary focus of the media was on Schembechler’s bowl record, which included 5 losses in Pasadena and a loss in the Orange Bowl and Gator Bowl.  Inspired to break the streak, Michigan plays an inspired 2ndhalf, lead by Rose Bowl MVP Butch Woolfolk’s 182 rushing yards to crush the Huskies 23-6 and earn Schembechler his first Rose Bowl Championship and Michigan’s first since 1965.  The 1980 Wolverines finished the season 10-2 and ranked 4thin the country and would be the pre-season Number One team the following season.

The 1980’s saw America emerge from the tumultuous 70’s to a new age of prosperity and affluence.  A parallel that can be drawn to the 1980 Michigan team that entered the season extremely talented but with low expectations coming off a lackluster season previously.  Has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?  As Team 134 embarks on the 2ndthird of Michigan Football’s 2ndcentury, we all wait expectantly to see if this is the year where Brady Hoke and his team of highly touted recruits finally takes hold and leads Michigan back to where it hasn’t been for 9 years, the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl.  Hope you all enjoyed this stroll through the past and we’ll see you all after the conclusion of the season in 2014.  Go Blue!

Game-Day Fan Garb Over The Years

Game-Day Fan Garb Over The Years

Submitted by Everyone Murders on November 14th, 2012 at 1:55 PM

LS&A Magazine has a nice slideshow up showing how game-day fashion has evolved over the years.  (Or devolved - you kids get off my lawn!)  Link is here: .

It's entirely unrealistic on many levels, but I'd love it if we could organize a "throwback fan uniform" day.  I understand raccoons are 100% against this idea, BTW.

A sample shot from the 1930 homecoming game against Illinois.  That blanket is the bee's knees, I tell ya. 

Little Brown Jug Article

Little Brown Jug Article

Submitted by Everyone Murders on November 2nd, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Link to Article:|topnews|text|Sports

There's a nice article in today's Detroit News about the woman who paints the scores on the Little Brown Jug, Jil Gordon.  The article references Greg Dooley's, with a nod to its "Little Brown Jug Lore" section (check it out here :  - it's chock full of Little Brown Jug history).  Per Dooley:

The most common story about how the challenge for the Little Brown Jug came do be is inaccurate. Most retellings say that former Michigan coach Fielding Yost sent a letter to Minnesota athletic director Louis Cooke and asked that the Jug, left behind after the 1903 game, be returned. Cooke was said to reply: "If you want it, you'll have to come up and win it."
"The story that Yost wrote or wired or mailed some request after the '03 game — that didn't happen," said Dooley, who said there is no evidence of that communication. "There is evidence to suggest it was hatched before the 1909 game. There was some kind of challenge. Michigan bought the jug in Minnesota, left it there, probably because they didn't care about a 30-cent jug. Minnesota found it — they didn't steal it — and probably thought, 'This is cool' and painted the score on it and the athletic director hung it in his office."

The more you know!  Here's to hoping Michigan is able to keep that jug in Ann Arbor.

UofM Football Program Art (1920-1941)

UofM Football Program Art (1920-1941)

Submitted by Everyone Murders on October 25th, 2012 at 10:27 AM

The current Michigan Today has a slideshow article featuring covers from various football programs.  The 1925 OSU program is copied below, but they're all worth a peek if you like this sort of thing.  Article is here:  .

Car Craze

Courtney Avery - George Jewett Kinship

Courtney Avery - George Jewett Kinship

Submitted by Everyone Murders on October 5th, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Angelique Chengelis has an article in today's Detroit News regarding the kinship of Courtney Avery and Michigan legend George Jewett.  Link:|topnews|text|Sports

I'd been ignorant of Jewett's legacy until I saw an article in March's Michigan Today.  The article ( is well worth your time to read, as Jewett's legacy is impressive.  Michigan would not have another african-american player until the legendary Willis Ward. I cannot recommend the article highly enough if you're unaware of Jewett's story.

Jewett - 1892

Jewett's father was an Ann Arbor blacksmith.  Not only was Jewett Michigan's (and the B1G's) first african-american player (1890!), but he was a renaissance man and powerful business presence in Ann Arbor after graduation.  He was also Ann Arbor High School's 1889 valedictorian.  He played for the Wolverines in 1890 and 1892, later transferring to Northwestern to become their first african-american player too.  (The transfer was motivated, according to Wikipedia, due to a dispute with Michigan's Medical School dean.)

Per Chengelis, Avery did not know of his relationship to Jewett until he arrived on campus.  It's a wonderful bit of history, and with all the talk of "Legacy" jerseys I doubt Avery would trade his legacy for any teammate's.

Michigan football players in a team photo from 1890

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1997

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1997

Submitted by saveferris on August 30th, 2012 at 3:22 PM

As kickoff for Team 133 approaches, our MGoHistory journey continues.  Our past stops in 1986 and 1971 found pleasant memories of Michigan glory past.  Now let’s set the Omni to a more recent time, a more familiar time.  We’re arriving just 15 years past (no way it’s been 15 years!) and the Omni shows green, which means history is right….oh so right.  We have arrived in 1997!

The 90’s are in full swing and the PC has become as ubiquitous a household item as the television.  This coupled with the rise of the World Wide Web on the internet has spawned the Dot Com boom.  Speculation into online businesses drives financial markets into huge gains worldwide, making countless computer geeks into millionaires overnight.  Riding the wave of this economic boom, Bill Clinton begins his second term as president after a landslide victory over Bob Dole the previous November.  On the surface, things seem to be running smooth for the president, but the turmoil of the Lewinsky scandal and his impeachment trial loom just a year away.

In Great Britain, Tony Blair wins the general election, becoming Prime Minister and sovereign control of Hong Kong is returned to China.  The British also cause a stir when Scottish scientists announce the successful cloning of an adult sheep, Dolly; and a little known children’s author, J.K. Rowling publishes her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone”.  Britain stays center stage on a sadder note when hundreds of millions mourn the untimely death of Princess Diana.

The Earth sees the return of comet Hale-Bopp for the first time in over 4000 years and NASA successfully lands the Pathfinder probe on the surface of Mars.  Justice is served for many in Oklahoma with the conviction and subsequent death sentence of Timothy McVeigh for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.  More positively, Steve Jobs returns to head a foundering Apple Computer where he will lead the next revolution in consumer technology that most of us take for granted today.

On the popular front, Americans line-up to see “Titanic” and Leonard DiCaprio becomes a star.  Americans also line up to see “Batman and Robin” and it almost ruins George Clooney’s career.   Young people the world over inexplicably go crazy for the Spice Girls and Hanson while fans of hip hop and rap mourn the passing of the Notorious B.I.G.  We all flock to our television sets on Thursday to watch “Must See TV” on NBC and see Ellen DeGeneres come out of the closet on ABC.  Animated TV achieves a few hallmarks when “The Simpsons” become the longest running animated primetime show while another animated cult classic, “South Park”, debuts on cable’s Comedy Central.

Brett Favre leads Green Bay to their first Super Bowl championship in 30 years, the Red Wings bring the Stanley Cup back to Detroit for the first time in 40 years, and the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan win the NBA championship for the 5thtime in 7 years.  Mike Tyson meets Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship, but rather than fight him, he tries to have him for supper.

For Michigan athletics, the 90’s were one of the great decades of the school’s history.  By 1997 Jon Urbanchek has built Michigan Swimming into a powerhouse, winning his 11thBig 10 title in 12 years.  Not to be outdone, the women’s swim team under Jim Richardson wins their 11thstraight Big 10 title.  Women’s softball has also become the dominant program in the Big 10 under Carol Hutchins winning their 3rdstraight Big 10 tournament title and their making their 3rdstraight Super-Regional in the NCAA tourney.  Mens Baseball under Geoff Zahn wins the Big 10 Conference title as well.

The men’s basketball team also continues to be one of the elite teams in the Big 10 under Steve Fischer Featuring notable players such as Robert Traylor (may he rest in peace), Maurice Taylor, and Louis Bullock; Michigan hoops follows up an NIT championship in March by winning the inaugural Big 10 Tournament at the end of the 1997-98 season.  This all becomes overshadowed though with the breaking of the Ed Martin story in June which costs Steve Fischer his job, Michigan all of the banners it won during the decade, and creates a vacuum in Michigan basketball recruiting that allows MSU’s Tom Izzo to become a coaching legend.

In hockey, Red Berenson fields what is arguably one of the greatest hockey teams of all time.  The 1997 Wolverines are the defending National Champions and sport a line-up that include All-Americans Brian Wiseman, John Madden, Marty Turco as well as Hobey Baker winner Brendan Morrison.  The team also includes no less than 5 additional NHL players in Jason Botterill, Mike Legg, Bill Muckalt, Matt Herr, and Bubba Berenzweig. 

The Michigan icers win both the CCHA regular season and tournament championships and are overwhelming favorites to repeat as NCAA champions going to into the tournament.  Michigan cruised to the Frozen Four, dispatching Minnesota 7-4 only to lose in the semi-finals to Boston University in OT, 3-2 and illustrating the highlighting the frustrating fact about the NCAA hockey tournament, the best team doesn’t always win because pucks bounce.  This is why you must always hate BU…always….so much.  In terms of Michigan disappointments in athletics, the 1996-97 teams’ loss to BU has to rank near the top.

Michigan football in 1997 is lead by former assistant coach Lloyd Carr, who is in his third season as Michigan’s top guy.  Unlike the rest of Michigan athletics, the football team is in the midst of a malaise which has seen them finish four straight seasons with four losses.  Grumbling has begun amongst the Michigan faithful and some in the media snidely comment that the “M” in Michigan has come to mean mediocre.  With former walk-on Brian Griese being the starter by Carr over the stronger-armed Scott Dreisbach and Tom Brady and a meh 14thranking in the AP poll coming into their opener with #8 Colorado, expectations are guarded to say the least.

Of course, we all know how this turns out.  Michigan, lead by the legendary Charles Woodson and All-American Glen Steele never let anyone score…ever and Brian Griese heads a workmanlike Michigan offense to an undefeated season, it’s first Big 10 title since 1992.  The regular season is highlighted by an epic shellacking of #2 Penn State and a defeat of #4 Ohio in Ann Arbor to clinch a Rose Bowl berth.  Woodson goes on to win just about every award a player can earn, including becoming the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, which Tennessee fans deem to be the greatest injustice ever….EVER!  Coach Carr is named Walter Camp Coach of the Year and Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann wins the Frank Broyles Award as the top coaching assistant.

Michigan goes on to defeat Washington State, lead by future NFL super-bust Ryan Leaf, 21-16 in the 1998 Rose Bowl securing the AP Poll National Championship.  Michigan enters the Rose Bowl the undisputed number one team in the country, but Nebraska splits the title off their impressive win over Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl and some strange final Coaches Poll shenanigans, prompting years of speculation from the Michigan fanbase over which coach screwed us.  I’m not saying it was Phil Fulmer, but karma is a bitch and Tennessee has had a pretty precipitous slide in the past decade and a half…just sayin’.

1997 may seem too many to be not that long ago, but it was pre 9/11, pre-Google, pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-Apple iPod/Phone/Pad, pre-reality TV, pre-Great Recession, pre-WiFi.  The world has changed a LOT in the past 15 years.  1997 was the culmination of a dominant era for U of M sports.  An era that saw the football program tower over Ohio and MSU, hockey rise to become the preeminent power in college, and basketball being one of the great programs in the Big 10*.  Let’s hope that the current caretakers of our beloved Maize and Blue are ready to give birth to a new era of Michigan domination that will make our hearts soar and our enemies’ heads explode in frustration.  Enjoy the season and we’ll pick this up again in the winter of 2013.