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January 29, 2019 Rest in Peace Wolverine Captain John Curtis.

Posted on January 28, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post honors the passing of John Curtis. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, John S. “Big Joe” Curtis went to rest in peace on this day in 1972. He was eighty-eight years old when he died. John S.  “Big Joe” Curtis was born on November 14, 1882. He was the first freshman to ever start at tackle for a Fielding Yost team. According to the Bentley Historical Library football archives, Joe Curtis started thirty-nine games over the course of four seasons at Michigan.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: John Curtis

A Big Man With a Big Nickname

John S. Curtis weighed in at about 230 pounds which made him one of the largest men to ever play football at Michigan in the early years. It is also why they called him “Big Joe.” However, he was athletic and could really get up and down the field. He was a force to be reckoned with on offense, defense and special teams. Yost saw his “huge” potential and utilized it to the full extent from 1903 to 1906.

“Big Joe” Curtis was a star player on the early Fielding Yost’s teams that ruled college football from 1903 to 1906. Michigan posted an overall record of 37 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie during the “Curtis” years. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Michigan’s only losses during this time were in games that Curtis didn’t finish (Chicago-1905) or didn’t play in due to injury (Penn-1906).

Big Joe’s Michigan Football Firsts

John S. Curtis Michigan Football | bigbluefootballhistory.com

John S. “Big Joe” Curtis was the Captain of the 1906 Wolverine Football team that won Michigan’s sixth conference championship. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

John S. “Big Joe” Curtis was certainly an impressive football player. In addition to many team and individual accomplishments, he also is connected to many interesting football “firsts” at Michigan.

·         John Curtis was the first freshman to start at tackle for a Fielding Yost team in 1903.

·         “Big Joe” was the first man to start twelve games in the same season at left tackle in 1903. He broke that “record” when he started thirteen games in 1905.

·         John S. Curtis starred in the first, and only game, that Michigan has ever won by a margin of 130 points. (West Virginia in 1904 – 130-0). As a tackle, he also scored 6 touchdowns in that game.

·         Curtis is also the first, and only Michigan tackle to score eleven touchdowns in one season (1904).

·         Joe Curtis was one of the first Wolverines to play in front of a crowd of 27,000 people when Michigan played Chicago on November 30, 1905. Curtis was kicked out of the game for a late hit on a Chicago punter and Michigan lost by a score of 2-0 to the Maroons. It was the first loss in the Yost Era at Michigan.

·         “Big Joe” Curtis played in the first game (October 6 vs Case) and the first season of new Ferry Field in 1906.

·         John S. Curtis was the first three-time All-Western Conference lineman in the history of Michigan Football (1904, 1905 and 1906).

A Pigskin Pioneer and a Michigan Football Legend

So, John S. “Big Joe” Curtis was truly one of the great players in the early years of Michigan football. He helped Michigan win a ton of games as well as two national championships and three conference titles. Curtis was a Michigan captain and a three-time All-Western conference player and a second team All-American in 1905 and 1906. Very few Michigan Men have a player resume as impressive as “Big Joe” Curtis!

Today is a great day to remember his accomplishments and celebrate the memory of John S. “Big Joe” Curtis. He gave his all for Michigan. May Michigan Man John Curtis always rest in peace. Go Blue!


Part II. National Day Calendar Note

Wow, another cold, wintry day here is Chicago, Illinois. You gotta love living in the Midwest, right? Today was a snow day in our community. So, not much going on except snow blowing and staying warm.  There are two items on the National Day Calendar today. Check them out!

·         Corn Chip Day

·         Puzzle Day

Nothing hard about these two events. I will have fun with both of them after I get the snow cleared. Have a Tremendous Tuesday and stay warm!

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