Today is a great day to remember a Wolverine named Frederic L. Smith on his happy birthday anniversary. Frederic Latta Smith was born in Lansing, Michigan on this day in 1870. Yes, he was another Michigan “Pigskin Pioneer!” According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Smith attended Lansing High School, but graduated from the Michigan Military Academy in 1886.
(Note-Frederic L. Smith is shown here with the 1888 Michigan Football team that finished with a record of 4 wins and 1 loss. Smith is seated in the middle of the first row. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Frederic Smith came to Ann Arbor in 1886. Apparently, he concentrated on his studies for his first two years. However, he found his way to the football field in 1888 . In fact, Smith impressed Captain James E. Duffy enough to become the starting quarterback for Team # 9. Interestingly, Frederic Smith was the first man from Lansing to ever play football for Michigan!
The 1888 team played five games and finished with a record of 4 wins and 1 loss. It was another “split” season because the first two games were played in April against Notre Dame. The final three games took place in the month of November. Michigan’s only loss in 1888 was to the Chicago U Club team which was like a Midwest all-star team of former players. The Wolverines came out on the short end of that one a − losing by a score of 4-26.
It appears that Frederic L. Smith, lost his starting quarterback job to Howard Abbott in 1889. Smith is listed on the 1889 roster as a varsity substitute player. However, he did earn his second letter in 1889. Yes, Frederic L. Smith played some good football at Michigan 1888 to 1889. He also was part of some interesting Michigan football “firsts.”
· First man from Lansing, Michigan to play football at Michigan in 1888.
· Played in the first and second games in the month of April 1888.
· A member of the first, and only, team to beat ND twice in the same season (April 20 and 21, 1888).
· Played on the first Michigan team to score over 70 points vs Albion (76-4) on Nov 24, 1888
Fred Smith graduated in 1890 and went from “Pigskin Pioneer” to “Automobile Pioneer” at the turn of the century. Frederick L. Smith died on August 6, 1954 at the age of 84.
So, on the one hundred forty-ninth anniversary of the birth of Michigan Man Frederic L. Smith, let us remember his contributions to the great history of Michigan football. May he always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!
For more information on Frederic L. Smith, check out the following links.
There are a number of interesting events on the docket for February 6, 2019. Here they are:
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