Friday, July 17, 2020

Princeton's Three Other Heisman Winners

While TigerBlog is on the subject of John DeWitt, here's something else interesting about the captain of the 1903 national championship Princeton football team and the silver medalist in the hammer throw at the 1904 Summer Olympics.

As every Princeton fan knows, Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy (in a landslide, by the way). You probably also know that Kazmaier is the only Princetonian and the third (and most recent) Ivy League football player to win the Heisman Trophy.

So what does that have to do with John DeWitt?

Well, back in the summer of 2009, the National Football Foundation's newsletter included a great feature by the legendary writer Dan Jenkins. The Heisman Trophy was first awarded in 1936, and what Jenkins did was go back in time prior to that and choose the winner of the Heisman for every year there wasn't one.

That was a harder sentence to write than TB imagined, by the way. Does it make sense? He selected his pick for who would have won the Heisman prior to their being a Heisman.

As an aside, the Tewaaraton Foundation does this each year, choosing a player from before the Tewaaraton who would have won the award had there been one. The Tewaaraton people honor one winner per year of the "Legends" award, as opposed to one year-by-year list.

Jenkins didn't go all the way back to Princeton-Rutgers in 1869 and give William Gummere the trophy. He started instead in 1889 with a Yalie, Amos Alonzo Stagg, who did a lot later on in terms of shaping the rules.

Princeton was represented three times with the pre-Heisman winner of the Heisman. The first was in 1896, when Addison (King) Kelly was the choice. Interestingly, Kelly was a junior that year (did they call them juniors back then?), and he was one of the five finalists a year later, when he was a first-team All-American for the second straight time. The winner in 1897 was a Penn guy, John Outland, who has a trophy named after him these days.

Kelly was also a four-year starting first baseman at Princeton, which meant he played at a time when freshman (were they called that then?) were immediately eligible. He also spent one year as the head football coach at the University of California, going 4-2-1 in the 1900 season, before becoming a stockbroker.

The second Princeton winner was the aforementioned DeWitt in 1903.

The third came nine years later, when Hobey Baker was the winner. Baker, like Kelly, was chosen in his third year (junior year yet?). Okay, it seems that the terms date back a lot further than college football, as you can see HERE.

The winner the year before Baker in 1912 was Jim Thorpe. The winner Baker's senior year was some Harvard guy TB has never heard of, Eddie Mahan, unless he was related to the Mahans who played lacrosse at Harvard a few years ago.

John Heisman was a 1891 graduate of Penn, but he wasn't even a finalist for his own award. Princeton had one finalist that year - Phil King. In fact, Princeton had finalists in most of the early years, even two in some, including 1889, when both Knowlton Ames and Edgar Allen Poe were runner-ups to Stagg.

Ames, by the way, still technically holds the record for rushing touchdowns at Princeton with 62, though the actually recognized record is 49, by Keith Elias.

As for Edgar Allen Poe, he's not that Edgar Allen Poe. He's that Edgar Allen Poe's nephew.

Princeton's last finalist came in 1922, which is not surprising, since the Tiger "Team Of Destiny" won the national championship that year. The Princeton player selected was Herb Treat, who is listed as Charles Treat among Princeton's list of first-team All-Americans.

The coolest year, by the way, was 1924, when the winner was Red Grange of Illinois and the four runners-up were Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.

Your weekend trivia question is why was that so cool?

In the meantime, TB hopes everyone has a fun, relaxing - and safe - summer weekend.


Mike Knorr said...

The 'Four Horsemen of Notre Dame'.

Sev Onyshkevych '83 said...

Another Princeton Heisman connection is Angelo Bertelli, Notre Dame quarterback and the 1943 trophy winner. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was the color announcer for radio broadcasts of Princeton football games.