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January 10, 2018 Happy Birthday Anniversary James E. Duffy

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a perfect day to remember the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Wolverine named James E. Duffy. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, James E. Duffy was born on this day in 1867! Yes, he was a Pigskin Pioneer on the early Wolverine teams. We will take a closer look at the achievements of Mr. Duff, after we take care of some trivial matters.

Part I. Trivia Question of the Day – January 9, 2018:

Who scored the winning point in Michigan’s dramatic win over Chicago in the championship victory in 1898?

Part I. Trivia Question Answer for January 9, 2018:  Neil Snow

The 1898 game against the Chicago Maroons was probably the biggest game in Michigan Football History from 1979 to 1898. It matched two Western Conference powerhouse teams – Chicago and Michigan. Both teams were in their third year of conference play. Michigan was knocked out of the league title picture in 1896 and 1897 by Amos Alonzo Stagg’s teams. The Wolverines were looking for revenge, and a championship, when they journeyed to Chicago for the last game of the 1898 season.

Neil Snow Michigan Football 1901 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Neil Snow served as captain of the 1900 Michigan team. He was an All-American end in 1901. However, he is probably most famous for providing the winning point in Michigan’s first conference championship victory in 1898! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.

Charles Widman, Michigan’s freshman running back was the star of the game, but Neil Snow was the hero! Widman scored the only Wolverine touchdowns. One was a short run and the other, a spectacular 65-yards dash the gave Michigan the lead late in the game. Neil Snow, who kicked the first point-after-touchdown on Widman’s first score, sealed the deal with the winning point to put Michigan ahead by a score of 12-5. Chicago scored late in the game, but it was too little and too late. Michigan left the field as Victors (12-11) and Champions of the Western Conference for the first time. Thank you Neil Snow for your HUGE role in Michigan’s first conference title!

Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – January 10, 2018:

Who was the first Michigan football player to be a Western Conference Champion and an Olympian?

Part III. Wolverine of the Day: James E. Duffy

James E.  Duffy, grew up in Ann Arbor and did his undergraduate and his graduate “(Law School) work at Michigan. In addition to being smart, he was also tough. James played seven years of football “back in the day” when the rules allowed it. Duffy is listed as a “Halfback” on the rosters from 1885 to 1890 and a “Sub” on the 1891 team. Duffy was a tenacious competitor who could run with the best of them. He was also a very skilled kicker who could punt, kick and drop kick with amazing accuracy. The Wikipedia article states that he set a world record for distance with one of his booming drop kicks. (Check it out!)

Duffy and his brother, John L. played together at Michigan from 1885 to 1888. The Wolverines won 12 and lost only 1 with the Duffy boys on the field. (23-9-0 with at least one Duffy playing!) John played from 1884 to 1888 and is listed as a two-time Captain from 1887 to 1888. James earned six varsity letters from 1885 to 1890. Although James didn’t earn a letter in 1891, he played a seventh season for Michigan. The only Wolverine to play more football than James E. Duffy was a guy named Horage G. Prettyman. Both men were legends in the early years of Michigan Football.

James E. Duffy played seven season at Michigan from 1885 to 1891 – the second longest player “tenure” in Michigan Football History. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

So, on the 150th anniversary of his birth, let’s appreciate the contributions of James E. Duffy. He went on to a successful law career after graduation. Sadly, he died on September 16, 1953 at the age of eighty-six. May James E. Duffy always rest in peace! Go Blue

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_E._Duffy_(American_football)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1890 Michigan_Wolverines_football_team

 

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