Wisconsin History Day By Day

Related Web Sites:
Wisconsin Football History Database

1889 Wisconsin Badges football team (Wikipedia)

Read More About It

"The Badger Game: Mickey McGuire to Al Toon" by Tom Butler

"On Wisconsin! The History of Badger Athletics" by Don Kopriva and Jim Mott

Interesting Fact:

When football made its debut at the University of Wisconsin, the two most popular sports on campus were baseball and crew.

Study Questions:

  • When did Wisconsin play its first Big Ten conference football game?
  • What were the differences in rules and style of play during the early years of football compared to today's football?
  • What was the score of the only other football game the University played that year?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on November 23:

    1889: The jukebox is first played, in a San Francisco saloon.
    1936: Life magazine is first published.


    November 23, 1889: The University of Wisconsin played its first football game, losing 27-0 to the Calumet Club of Milwaukee.

    The Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov. 24, 1889


    A Football Player Seri-
    ously Injured.



    The State University Team Do Some Fine

    Running, But Are Outmatched.
    The Features of the

    The Milwaukee graduates had an easy time defeating the Madison University Football team yesterday. The game was played at National park, where as much excitement has not reigned since Van Norman's fox chase. There was no fox to chase in this instance, but the big ball - which developed an alarming tendency for going the wrong way - kept the twenty-two young athletes running themselves harder than Reynard would ever have done. Yesterday's game was more disastrous than Van Norman's celebrated hunt, resulting in serious injury to one of the Milwaukee players, G.G. Mason. Kerr was running with the ball for a touchdown, and had slipped away from the rushers, going at full tilt for the Milwaukee goal line. Mason, who was playing half-back, rushed across the field to intercpt him, which he succeeded in doing, but he could not check himself in time, and the two men collided with terrific force. Kerr's head struck Mason's jaw bone, and stunning him for the moment. Dr. Walbridge, who was present, brought him to the city. Kerr was severely shocked by the collision and was stunned for several minutes. With the exception of one or two cases of nose bleeds, a few peeled shins, and a slight tear in the cheek of a Madison player, there was no other accidents.

    The game was in many respects the most exciting that has yet been plyed. The Madison boys showed the lack of practice. They ran in fine style, but their rush line was weak, and they made their worst muffs at the most critical times. Prael, Brumder and Ackert did the best playing for them. The victory for the Milwaukee men was due principally to their solid team work. Capt. Kletzsch's kicking and rushing and the excellent all-round work of the two Masons and Forsyth. Prior to G.G. Mason's injury, his play was the feature of the game, and after he had retired his brother kept up the reputation of the family by a number of timely plays. Nearly every time a neat piece of work was done for the Milwaukees the cry would go up from the spectators, "That's Mason!" meaning one or the other of the brothers. Both men tackled like demons, and when a Madison player tucked the ball under his armpit and dashed away over the field he was invariably embraced by the octopus-like arms of a Mason. G.G. Mason made the prettiest play of the day by ending the fourth inning with a goal from the field. Capt. Kletzsch made the greatest run of the day in the fifth inning. He captured the ball at the center line and tucking his chin down in the folds of his canvas shirt, headed towards the Madison goal and went off with a rush. A half dozen university men made themselves into a wall. He threw his 200 pounds against them and away went the wall. Two others tackled him for a hold. He stretched out his left hand and one of them went to the ground, the other one got a chance to look at his heels. Then he started off with a clear field ahead of him and the whole troop of players following him in the rear.

    "Look out!"
    "Head him off!"
    "Keep him away from the goal!" were some of the shouts that the university boys set up as they followed him helter skelter. It looked like an easy touch-down under the goal for Kletzsch, when Brumder - a great runner - pulled away from his companions and gave the Milwaukee captain a hard chase. He made him turn from his path and run almost to the out line before he crossed the goal line, but Kletzsch, by a neat piece of doubling, circled up to the goal, and made the touch-down almost behind it. Kletzsch then kicked a goal with ease.

    At the conclusion of the game Milwaukee gave three cheers for Madison and Madison returned the compliment with three cheers for Milwaukee.

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