Interestingly, Howard Abbott was also a Minnesota Gopher “Pigskin Pioneer” before he arrived in Ann Arbor. Abbott is the first man to ever quarterback a Gopher football team. He was the first captain on the first team in Minnesota football history way, way back in 1886.
Howard Abbott left Minneapolis to study law at The University of Michigan in 1889. Abbott arrived in time to play for Captain E. W. McPherran, but he didn’t help as much as he would have liked. After going 4-1-0 in 1888, Michigan took a giant-step backward in 1889. Unfortunately, the Wolverines finished with a record of 1 win and 2 losses. Even worse, one of the losses was a 56-0 drubbing at the hands of Cornell. Yes, it was the worst defeat in the ten-year football history of Michigan football.
Howard Abbott came back more football in 1890, but Team Captain William C. Malley decided that another quarterback would lead the team. Yes, Abbott took a backseat to a man named George Holden. It looks like Holden, and the rest of the team, did a better job in 1890 as the Wolverines finished the season with a record of 4 wins and only 1 loss.
Howard Abbott is listed on the all-time Michigan letterman roster as a three-year letterman (1889, 1890 and 1891). However, he only shows up on the rosters for the 1889 and 1890 teams. Regardless, Howard Abbott earned at least one letter for Michigan and played a part in the early history of Wolverine football.
After graduation from law school, Abbott returned to Minneapolis to start a law career. He eventually became a judge. Howard Abbott died on October 5, 1939 at the age of seventy-two.
Howard T. Abbott was part of some interesting Michigan football “firsts.”
· Yes, Abbott was the first, and only, man to be the starting quarterback for Minnesota and Michigan.
· Played on the first Michigan team to allow over 50 points in a 56-0 loss to Cornell in 1889.
· Abbott played in the first, and only, game against Chicago A. A. in 1889. Michigan lost the game to this “all-star” type team of former college players by a score of 5-20 on November 28, 1889.
· Played with George Jewett, the first Afro-American, to play football at Michigan in 1890.
So, on the one hundred fifty-third anniversary of the birth of Michigan Man Howard Abbott, let us remember his contributions to the great history of Michigan football. May he always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!
For more information about Howard Abbott, check out the following links.
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