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April 16, 2018 Happy Birthday Anniversary Rosewell M. Wendell!

Posted on April 16, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a good day to wish a Happy Birthday Anniversary in honor of Rosewell M. Wendell. Rosewell Murray Wendell was born in Detroit, Michigan on this date in 1885. Wendell is another one of the many unknown and unsung heroes of Michigan Football. I call him one of the “Michigan Mystery Men” since there isn’t a lot that was written about him and his experiences at Michigan.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day – Rosewell M. Wendell

According to the Michigan Football Rosters of 1903 and 1904, Rosewell M. Wendell was a “reserve” on Fielding Yost’s famous Point-a-Minute teams. Apparently, Wendell never played in a Michigan game, but he was listed as one of thirty “reserve” players on the 1903 team roster. Although the 1903 Wolverine roster listed sixty-four players only twelve men appeared in the team photo that year which was reserved for varsity letter winners only! Yost was not inclined to play a lot of players and he almost always put the best possible team on the field.

Obviously, a lot of players had trouble cracking Yost’s starting line-up and Rosewell M. Wendell was one of them. Rosewell was not listed on the 1902 roster or the 1905 roster either. He was probably a graduate student who practiced for the Wolverines for two seasons, but that was about it.

It looks like the only thing that was harder than beating a Yost team in 1903 and 1904 was playing on one. The Wolverines posted a record of 21 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie in 1903. They extended the Michigan winning streak that began in 1901 to forty-four games (42-0-1). It was an amazing time for Maize and Blue football teams and their fans. The only blemish on those stellar seasons was a 6-6 tie at Minnesota. Oh yes, they also “lost” a water jug. That little jug is now the centerpiece in the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry and is now called the “Little Brown Jug.”

So, even though he was not a “famous Wolverine,” Rosewell M. Wendell was a Wolverine nonetheless. He was part of a record-breaking time in Michigan Football history. There have been lots of other men who came to Michigan with high hopes of playing football for the Maize and Blue. Unfortunately, they never played a down, but you have to give them credit for trying. On the one hundred thirty-fourth anniversary of Rosewell Wendell’s birthday, let’s remember the effort he put forth on the practice field and honor his small, but important, contribution to the Michigan football tradition. Rosewell Wendell died February 7, 1964 at the age of seventy-eight. May Rosewell M. Wendell always rest in peace! Go Blue!


Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – April 15, 2018

In what year did the Michigan Wolverines lose every football game on their schedule?

Part II. Trivia Question – Answer of the Day April 15, 2018

There is only one season in one-hundred thirty-eight years of football that the Michigan Wolverines lost every game. Yes, the 1881 season was forgettable. The entire season consisted of a three-game road trip that pitted Michigan against some of the best “eastern” teams that they could play.

Team Captain Walter Horton wanted to find out how good his Wolverines really were. So, he set up games against Harvard (October 31), Yale (November 2) and Princeton (November 4). It was the first time that any western team journeyed east to test themselves against the eastern powers.

Walter Horton Michigan Football 1891 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Captain Walter Horton took Michigan east for the first time in Wolverine Football history. Although they lost all three games, they earned the respect of the eastern powers they played against. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

The Wolverines were shutout in the first two games against Harvard (0-4) and Yale (0-11) and played well at Princeton, but still lost 4-13. In retrospect, this was a giant step forward for Michigan Football. Yes, they lost every game, but they were not embarrassed – that’s for sure. As it turned out, the Wolverines did a lot of thinking about the direction the program after 1881. In fact, they didn’t schedule any games for the 1882 season. However, they were back in 1883 and have been winning at an amazing rate ever since! Go Blue!

Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – April 16, 2018

Who is the only Wolverine to lead the Big Ten and the nation in scoring for two consecutive seasons?

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