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Twenty Years of Harvard - Yale . . . A Day for Harvard Greats

By John J. Reidy jr.

One of the most colorful sporting events in the whole sport world, the fifty-sixth version of the Harvard-Yale football game will be unfolded in the Stadium this afternoon.

It may not be pure fantasy to say that the Harvard-Yale game is a definite part of the social texture if not of the country or of New England, then at least of Boston.

There have been brilliant games and dull games, and dubs, but there have always been tons of color.

Below are some of the standout games from 1914 until the present time.

In 1914 the game was good from a Harvard viewpoint. In that year the women were as beautiful as ever and besides they were beginning to wear skirts that were not quite so long and from which toes and hints of an ankle were beginning to peek. In Europe there was some sort of a war going on, and people were being killed, and reports from Walter Hines Pages said that things were in pretty nasty shape over there, but in this country everything was all right.

The market was a litle shaky perhaps but otherwise nothing happened. And so big crowds went to the Bowl which was being opened for the first time, and watched Harvard beat Yale, thoroughly and completely, 36-0. This team was the greatest team in Harvard history. Besides Eddie Mahan and Tack Hardwick, there were on this team such Harvard illustriouses as Hugs Francke, Stan Pennock, and Jeff Coolidge who picked up a fumble on his five-yard line and ran 95 yards with it.

The following year Harvard beat Yale 41-0. 41-0, just think of it! A kid named Eddie Mahan played a good game. Four times he plunged head first across the Yale goal line. Five times he swung his toe and a Stadium full watched the ball careen over the goal post for points after. Twenty-nine of Harvard's points were picked up by Mahan who was playing his last game.

Everything went wrong in 1916. Yale even beat Harvard 6-3. This was not only the first time that Yale had beaten Harvard since 1907, it was the first time that they had even scored a touchdown. Eddie Casey did his best when he ran 72 yards, but a penalty nullified his attempt.

In 1917 and 1918 there were no games at all. People were too busy to play football. Harvard and Yale men weren't competing against each other any more.

But in 1919 there was savage reaction to normalcy. Talk about the war was taboo. The teams were big and tough. There were fellows on them who had gone through more than the average college "man". When they started to roll they didn't like to be stopped. Eddie Casey came back to college and continued where he'd left off, and Harvard won 10-3. It was considered by Harvard grads only one aspect of the return to normalcy. Casey scored the touchdown, Jom Braden kicked a field goal from the 53-yard line! (The goal posts were on the goal line then.)

In 1920 the return to normalcy continued. Wison and his Utopian ideals were relegated to the dog house, and a sound man who would be sure to do the right things went into the White House. Not brilliant, but sound. This was the game where bootlegged liquor and bath-tub gin were given their first official recognition. They were pronounced insufficient.

Harvard won this game 9-0. Stopped from gaining along the ground by a rock-ribbed Yale defense they took to the air. Charlie Buell hoisted a field goal in the first period, and another in the last. Captain Arne Horween contributed his bit by kicking a goal also in the fourth.

In the next four years, the two teams divided. It was becoming, if possible, more fun to go to the football games than it had been before. The Twentieth Amendment had been passed, and the girls proved it by snipping two inches off the hems of their dresses every year.

In 1921 Charlie Buell and George Owen beat Yale 10 to 3. In 1922 Charlie Buell and George Owen beat Yale 10 to 3 again. George Owen later said that he'd never enjoyed playing football, but the Stadium and Bowl crowds just ate it up.

In 1923 and 1924 Yale got some good players of its own. The first year Yale beat Harvard 13-0 in spite of the soggy underground which held back Mal Stevens and other fleet-footed Yale backs. But Ducky Pond just loved it. He sloshed through for 67 yards and touchdown, Yale's first touchdown in the Stadium since the afore-mentioned magic year of 1907.

The second year Yale beat Harvard 19-6 in another sea battle. Harvard through the agency of Erwin Gehrke kicked two field goals in the first half with a leaden ball, but that ended their surge for the day. Yale came into its own and rolled up three touchdowns before the game had ended.

Nineteen twenty-five was a dull year. The whole game was played within Harvard's ten yard line except for occasional punts, but it ended in a scoreless tie.

Ninteen twenty-six to 1929 were great years. The new era. There were land booms in Florida and stock booms in New York. Harvard graduates were all bond salesmen and customers' men. Harvard undergraduates were reccoon coats, no hats, and long slick hair. Their girls were flat-chested and had no hips.

Coolidge and Hoover were in the White House, and no ill-advised legislation was rushed through without consulting the Chamber of Commerce. It was the era of great athletes: Bobby Jones, Red Grange, Bill Tilden, Cochet, Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore at his best, the Babe, the Rajah, Man o' War. It was a period of cocktail parties and three day parties. It was gilded, vicious, but a hell of a lot of fun.

The first two years Yale beat Harvard 12-7 and 14-0. In 1928 Harvard came into its own after five barren years. Dave Guarnaccia and Art French collaborated on laterals that made Yale dizzy. In the 1929 game Albie Booth pulled his amazing disrobing act as he ran onto the field in an attempt to boot a field goal, which attempt was smothered by Jim Douglas. Eddie Mays, Charlie Devens, and a Sophomore named Barry Wood combined to give Harvard a score of 10 which was good enough to beat the six points that Yale obtained on the end of a Booth pass.

In 1930 a depression had started, but no one was willing to admit it. A period of retrenchment, a short deflation, was all that people called it. The Stadium and Bowl were still filled. It was still the period of graduate coaching and no public sale. Barry Wood and Captain Ben Ticknor managed to pull out a Harvard victory, 13-0.

In 1931 Barry Wood ended the game flat on his back under an avalanche of Yale players in a vain attempt to get a winning pass off. Albie Booth boosted a field goal which was enough to win the game. There were some who said Wood did not play such a good game. This subject can be taken up with Ted Husing who will be in the Stadium this afternoon.

In 1932 Yale game tickets went on public sale. The Harvard-Yale game ceased to be a family affair. A person could no longer be sure that the person who was sitting next to him could safely be talked with. It might be that he would be a member of the lower classes. And that ended the gilded period.

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