Today’s post celebrates the memory of Meyer Morton who went to rest in peace on this day in 1948 at the age of fifty-nine. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Meyer Morton was born as Myer Isakovitz on November 20, 1889 in Chicago, Illinois. His family changed the spelling of his first name and the family name from Isakovitz to Morton between 1900 and 1910. century.
Meyer Morton came to Ann arbor to study law and play football for the Wolverines. As it turned out, he studied more law and played less football. According to the Bentley Historical Library, Meyer Morton played one year of football as a reserve on the 1910 team. No position was listed for Morton and no height or weight was posted on his roster entry. Apparently, he figured out that he wasn’t going to be a star, or even a letterman, at Michigan so he played club football until he graduated from Michigan’s School of Law in 1912.
Morton was another one of the many unknown and unsung heroes of Michigan football. There were sixty men listed on the 1910 roster and only fifteen earned a letter from the demanding Yost. Despite his unsuccessful football experience, Meyer Morton loved Michigan and he loved Michigan football. When he returned to Chicago to begin his law career, he became very active in the Windy City’s “M” Club. Morton also retained a passion for football and he became a Big Ten football official.
Meyer Morton was one of the driving forces of the Chicago “M” Club. In 1925 the club created an award to recognize an up and coming player after Spring football drills. Mr. Morton made many trips to Ann Arbor to present the award. After his death in 1948, the award was named in his honor. The Michigan Athletic Department describes the Meyer Morton Award as recognition for the player who showed “the greatest development and most promise as a result of the annual spring practice.” Over the years, this award has been presented to many underclassman who went on to stellar football careers (college and professional) at Michigan and beyond!
The first award was given to Ray Baer a lineman from Louisville, Kentucky. Baer went on to star on the 1927 team. The award was presented every year from 1925 until 1943. After a two year hiatus due to the war years (1944 and 1945), the award was presented annually from 1946 through 2014. Interestingly, Coach Jim Harbaugh, a 1984 recipient of the award, has chosen not to present the Meyer Morton Award to anyone during the first two years of his head coaching era (2015 and 2016).
Of course, Meyer Morton would not be the subject of today’s post if he wasn’t associated with some Michigan “football firsts.” Here are the ones that I could find:
· Member of the first team to play for the Little Brown Jug in Ann Arbor against Minnesota in 1910. (Michigan played in the first “Jug” game in Minneapolis, MN in 1909 – and returned the “Jug” to Ann Arbor. With their 6-0 win in 1910, they were able to keep it until the series resumed in 1919.)
· Member of the first team to allow Michigan Agricultural College to score in 1910. Michigan still won 6-3. The Wolverines outscored the Aggies in the first four games by a margin of 204-0!
· First former football player to have a football award named after him (1948).
So, today is a good day to remember another Michigan Man (UM Law 1912) named Meyer Morton. Although he didn’t earn any varsity letters at Michigan, he still contributed to the history and tradition of Michigan Football. He was listed as a “reserve” who practiced with teammates who gave Michigan an unusual undefeated season (3-0-3) in 1910. His passion for Michigan and for Michigan Football live on in an award named in his honor. Thanks to Meyer Morton for showing people how a true “Michigan Man” lives his life! May he always rest in peace. Go Blue!
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