Longtime reader Warren Junium very generously sent me a box of cool stuff the other day, including a serious treasure: a scorecard from the 1925 Harvard/Dartmouth football game, which took place on Oct. 24 of that year at Harvard’s Soldiers Field. At the time, Dartmouth — whose teams back then were called the Indians, ugh — was in the midst of what would become a 22-game winning streak, including an unbeaten 8-0 record in 1925 that would earn them the national championship.
The scorecard — or “score card,” as it calls itself — is booklet-sized and runs just a few pages, but it’s still packed with interesting stuff, so let’s take a look.
The cover, obviously, is shown above. I love the crossed flags and the typography. As for the price, 15¢ in 1925 is roughly the equivalent of two and a half bucks today. Not bad!
Here’s the first interior spread:
Love the uniforms on the two captains. The Dartmouth guy appears to be about 40 years old, no? Meanwhile, I’m intrigued by the hoodie (did that term even exist in 1925?) worn at top-right by Dartmouth coach Jesse Hawley. Hawley, incidentally, would go on to found what is now the world’s oldest loudspeaker manufacturer, plus the company has also made helmets for the U.S. military — a uniform connection!
Here’s the next spread:
Let’s begin with the left-hand page:
- Looking at the two team diagrams, you can see that the numbering rules were v-e-r-y different a century ago than they are now. There’s a center wearing No. 44 and a left tackle wearing No. 23, among other seeming oddities.
- Both diagrams appear to show offensive configurations with six men in the backfield — hmmm. Maybe it was just so they could fit everything on the page.
- I love that a field goal is referred to as “Goal, from Field.”
Moving on to the right-hand page:
- It appears that the lowest uni number on both teams was 21.
- The Harvard squad had 43 players listed, while Dartmouth had only 35.
- There were just four officials: referee, umpire, linesman, and field judge.
- Under “Scoring Values,” a forfeited game is listed as one point. So if one team didn’t show up, did the other team officially win by a score of 1-0? (Proofreader Jerry Wolper says, “Yes. A forfeit is still officially 1-0,” so there you go! Interestingly, a forfeit in the NFL is 2-0.)
Out of all the players on both teams, I count only four that were listed as 200 pounds or more. Also, the Harvard players seemed to go to much more elite high schools.
And here’s my favorite part — the back cover, which features a list of “the more important penalties”:
This is sooooo interesting. Many of the penalties are essentially the same as they are today, but there are also some interesting differences. For example:
- Two infractions — clipping and delaying the start of the first or second half — carried penalties of 25 yards!
- Hurdling, which is highlight-reel stuff nowadays, was a 15-yard penalty. I had no idea that it wasn’t allowed.
- I love that intentional grounding is referred to as “Forward passing, intentionally throwing to ground.”
- “Crawling: 5 yards.”
- I wonder what constituted “Unfair play.” Maybe that was the old way of saying “Illegal formation” or “Illegal procedure”?
- Hoo boy, “Coaching from sidelines: 15 yards”! Because this was back when men were men and called their own plays, without some coach holding their hand or talking in their radio-equipped helmet, am I right?
- Finally, there’s the best penalty ever: “Slugging.” We really need to see what the the ref’s hand signal was for that one! (Were refs using hand signals in 1925?)
There are other interesting penalties listed there, which I encourage you to discover on your own.
As for the game, Dartmouth won, 32-9, in front of a crowd of 53,000.