1880 Michigan Football team | bigbluefootballhistory.com Michigan Football History

May 3, 2018 Rest in Peace Dr. John Chase

Posted on May 3, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a perfect day to remember a Michigan Man named Dr. John Chase who went to rest in peace on this day in 1918. Dr. Case was sixty-one when he died. John Chase was born on December 10, 1856 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Dr. John Chase

When you talk about the “founding fathers” of Michigan football, you must talk about a Michigan Man named Dr. John Chase from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Chase, and twelve other men, started the Michigan football tradition way, way, way back in the day.

Of course, the game of football that we know today was a lot different than it was back then. The game was more like rugby than anything else. John Chase was listed as a “rusher” on the 1879 Michigan football roster. Basically, this meant that he was one of the “people movers” for the little guys who carried the ball.

Team #1 played two games in 1879 and John Chase played in both games that season. Actually, the “season” was pretty drawn out since the first game was played on May 30, 1879 and the second game was played on November 1, 1879. Michigan won the first game against Racine College and they tied a team from Toronto to finish that inaugural season at 1 win, 0 losses and 1 tie.

Young John Chase took the mantle of team leadership from Michigan’s first captain, Dave DeTar, and kept things going in 1880. Since Michigan was the first “western” team to play football, finding other “area” teams to play was difficult. Captain Chase arranged another game with Toronto on Friday, November 5, 1880. This was first and only time that the Wolverines played a game in another country.

Chase and his teammates went to Toronto and chalked up their second victory in the very short history of Michigan football. The Wolverines defeated Toronto by a score of 13-6. So, after two seasons of football Michigan’s record was 2 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie.

Michigan Man John Chase was one of only six men who played in the first two seasons of Michigan football. He was the second man to captain a Michigan team. He helped earn the first two victories for the winningest program in college football history.

John Chase was definitely part of some “Michigan Football Firsts.” Here are the best ones I could find for Mr. Chase:

  • John Chase played in the first game in Michigan Football History in May 1879.
  • Chase played in the first victory and the first tie in Michigan Football History in 1879.
  • John Chase played in the first, and only, Michigan Football game played in another country (Toronto, Canada) in 1880.
  • Chase was one of the first six men to earn two football letters at Michigan.
  • Chase is the first former Michigan Football player to become a doctor and a Brigadier General.

Michigan Man John Chase graduated from Michigan’s Medical School in 1881 and went on to practice in Detroit. He also found time to join the Michigan Army National Guard and went on to achieve the rank of Brigadier General in the Colorado National Guard. John Chase died on May 3, 1918 in Denver, Colorado.

 John Chase Michigan Football 1880 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

John Chase played on the first team in Michigan Football History and captained the second. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today is the one-hundred sixty-second anniversary of the death of a true Michigan “pigskin pioneer.” Please take a moment to appreciate Dr. John Chase, and his teammates, for the gift of Michigan Football. May Dr. John Chase always rest in peace. Go Blue!

If you want to read more about the fascinating life of Doctor/General John Chase go to the Wikipedia article linked below. He was another very interesting Michigan Man.




Part II. Trivia Question of the Day May 1, 2018

Who was the first Michigan player to earn All-American honors for three straight seasons?

Part II. Trivia Answer of the Day May 1, 2018

Bennie Oosterbaan was the first Wolverine to earn a three-peat for All-American honors. He was part of the Benny (Friedman) to Bennie passing combination in the 1920s. Oosterbaan was named to All-American teams in 1925, 1926 and 1927. He also earned a seat in the College Football Hall of Fame for his great play at Michigan.

The only other Wolverine to duplicate this amazing feat is Anthony Carter who did in 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Part III. Trivia Question of the Day May 2, 2018

When did the Wolverines lose their first Homecoming (real, not exhibition) football game?

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