April 29, 2010

Greatest Grudge Game Ever: November 9, 1912 - Collum Field, West Point, N.Y.

The sky was ugly. The temperature hovered around freezing all day, and black angry clouds were swirling over the Hudson River, threatening at any minute to drop a torrent of sleet on the crowd that had gathered to watch the greatest grudge game in football history.

posted by mjkredliner to football at 11:21 AM - 9 comments


posted by yzelda4045 at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2010

My grandpa went to Carlisle and the Haskell School for Indians. I've always loved the accounts of this game.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2010

One twist to the whole story is that since 1950 the U. S. Army War College, where many West Point graduates go to learn how to assume major command roles, now occupies the location of the Indian School. I'm sure Eisenhower, living on his farm in nearby Gettysburg, would have recognized and relished the irony.

Great find, mjk.

posted by Howard_T at 02:52 PM on April 29, 2010

Two books have been published about this game. "Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle," by Lars Anderson (2007). Also "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation," by Sally Jenkins (2007).

posted by Newbie Walker at 04:38 PM on April 29, 2010

I never knew any of that. That's a fucking classic piece of Americana right there.

And Dwight Eisenhower was an asshole. Who knew?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:39 PM on April 29, 2010

An idea of how dominating Jim Thorpe was that season: Only months after blazing past the rest of the field at the Stockholm Olympic Games, Thorpe gained 1,869 rushing yards in that, his final season at Carlisle. One four-game stretch included 200-yard days against Army, Springfield and Brown, and a 362-yard effort against Pennsylvania. Thorpe scored 198 points that season, played every down at either halfback/defender/punter/place-kicker, and was named an All-American.

During the four years he played for the Carlisle Indians, this small school won 43 games, lost 5 and tied 2. Included in the list of defeated powerhouses were Penn State, Syracuse, Army, Navy, Minnesota, Nebraska, Chicago (under Amos Alonzo Stagg), Princeton, Harvard, and Villanova.


posted by mjkredliner at 06:13 PM on April 29, 2010

I think this is the coolest post I've read here, Dr. Redliner. Thanks. And yeah, Weedy, I always thought Dwight D. was just a stuffed shirt; never realized what it was stuffed with.

posted by outonleave at 08:12 PM on April 29, 2010

And Dwight Eisenhower was an asshole. Who knew?

Not sure I'd have objected to having Bill Romanowski in a foxhole with me. Trying to harm an opponent might not be according to Hoyle, but it seems a sound tactical decision in this case. If you've still got it in for Ike, I can ease your anger a bit by telling you one of my mother's greatest memories was when Ike visited Newport, RI when she was 8. He was walking the streets waving to everyone when he rounded a corner, and smiled at the little girl standing there. His smile turned to something else when she waved back with one finger.

So you can see where I get my overwhelming respect for authority.

posted by yerfatma at 08:43 AM on April 30, 2010

Yeah, well, another sound tactic in the same vein would be to poison Thorpe's food the night before. Not sure if there's a great deal of sportsmanship in that, either.

I don't have it in for Ike. Just was surprised that a man of obvious integrity would be unapologetically trying to injure a guy, because he couldn't be beat within the confines of the game. Gotta call that one like it is: Asshole.

Also, I am now a fan of your mother.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:07 PM on May 01, 2010

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