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January 16, 2019 Rest in Peace Curtis Redden

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a good day to remember Curtis Redden who continues to rest in peace today. Curtis Gerald “Cap” Redden died on this day in Koblenz, Germany in 1919. Lieutenant Colonel Redden was serving his country as the Commander of the 149th Field Artillery Regiment when he lost a battle to pneumonia. Colonel Redden was only thirty-seven years old. Originally, he was buried in Germany, but his remains were returned to Illinois in 1921.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Curtis Redden

A Very Good Player on Some Great Michigan Teams

Curtis Redden, who played end, was a four-year letterman at Michigan from 1900 to 1903. He started forty of the forty-four games that he played in for the Wolverines. During his Michigan career, the Maize and Blue posted an incredible record of 40 wins, 2 losses and 2 ties. This means that Michigan won over ninety-three percent (.932) of their games during Redden’s career.

Curtis Redden | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Curtis Redden was the first man to captain football and baseball teams in the same academic year (1903-1904). Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

But wait, it gets better. Michigan was also dominant in the Western Conference during the “Redden Years.” They won 14 games, lost 2 games and tied 1 game. The Wolverines won three straight Western Conference titles during this period and they also won Michigan’s first three national championships. Oh, by the way, Michigan scored 1,876 points from 1900-1903 and only allowed 73. Wow – Curtis “Cap” Redden was a huge contributor to one of the greatest runs in the history of Michigan football. 

Make no mistake, Curtis “Cap” Redden played with a lot of outstanding football players at Michigan. However, he was as good as any player on the roster! Redden’s stellar play earned him All-Western Conference Honors in 1902 and 1903. He was a third team All-American for Walter Camp in 1903. He was also the captain of the 1903 Michigan football team.

Curtis “Cap” Redden – Some Important Michigan Football Firsts:

Here is a summary of the firsts that connect Curtis Redden and Michigan Football:

  • Curtis Redden played on the first (and only) team coached by Langdon “Bif” Lea in 1900.
  • Redden played on Fielding Yost’s first Michigan team (and the 2nd and 3rd) 1901.
  • Curtis Redden played on Michigan’s first national champion team in 1901 (and 1902 and 1903).
  • Redden played in the first Rose Bowl game in January 1902.
  • Curtis Redden, along with Joe Maddock and Willie Heston, was first to earn All-Western Conference Honors when the selections were made for the first time in 1902.
  • Redden, along with Joe Maddock and Willie Heston, was first to earn back-to-back All-Western Conference Honors when the selections were made for the second time in 1903.
  • Curtis Redden captained the football (Fall 1903) and baseball (Spring 1904) teams in the same academic year (1903-1904). This is the reason his nickname was “Cap.” (Short for captain, as in two-sport captain)
  • Sadly, Curtis Redden was the first former Michigan football player to die in World War I. (1919)
  • Finally, Curtis “Cap” Redden is the only Michigan football player to have a memorial column dedicated in his name at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. (1921)

A Hero Who Died Way Too Young!

So, on the one hundredth anniversary of his passing, let us remember a very distinguished Michigan Man. Curtis Redden was an accomplished athlete, coach, lawyer, and soldier who lived an honorable and self-less life. Today, let us celebrate his accomplishments and appreciate everything that he did to honor the State of Illinois, The University of Michigan and the United States of America! It’s always time to appreciate men like Curtis Redden. May Curtis “Cap” Redden continue to rest in peace. Go Blue!



Part II. National Day Calendar Note

Once again, today is another day on the calendar with multiple events to bring to your attention. Actually, there are four events, but a couple of them are real head-scratchers for me. Here they are:

·         Fig Newton Day

·         Nothing Day

·         Religious Freedom Day

·         Without a Scalpel Day (?)

Personally, I am going for the Religious Freedom Day. Absolutely one of the greatest things about our amazing country. I am not that excited about everything else. I hope you find something that you can appreciate about today.

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