The First Big Game…Where’s a Football?
Note: The Bootleg is proud to present this article as it originally appeared in
Editor Peter Grothe’s outstanding, but long out-of-print 1952 compilation of
Moments in Stanford Sports.
The Bootleg is profoundly grateful to our longtime friend, the late Mr. Grothe,
for personally having given us permission to re-publish these wonderful,
long-forgotten articles and open them up to a new generation of Cardinal
Hoover was a member of the Stanford Class of '95 and was football manager as an
undergraduate. Here he describes in his memoirs the first Big Game, played in
1892. Quoted by express permission of the author and the Macmillan Company, the
publishers, the following passage relates that the first Big Game was delayed a
half hour because "Somebody forgot to bring a football."
Game was to take place at the Haight Street baseball grounds in San Francisco.
We had seats for a total of 15,000 fans. We bought new uniforms for our teams
from a dealer on the sales expectations.
printed seat-numbered tickets for only 10,000 as we did not expect more visitors
than that number. When the game came on, two things happened to disturb the
the attendance piled up to nearly 20,000. We had no such supply of tickets. So
we set up an alley of our college boys from the box office to the gates and sold
tickets for cash-the purchasers being carefully watched so that no outsiders
crowded in without having first paid their respects to the box offices. At that
time few bills were in use in California. We dealt in silver and gold. The cash
piled up behind our entrance selling boys to the extent it spilled on the
floors; we had to rent a wash-boiler and a dishpan from nearby householders for
the price of a free ticket.
while these difficulties were being solved, the captains of the two teams turned
up, demanding to know where was the football. We had overlooked that detail and
had to delay the game for a half-hour while we sent downtown for two
did not see the game, but to our astonishment we won. After the game the
California manager and I retired to a hotel with our money, now transferred to
grain bags, and sat up most of the night counting it. I had never seen $30,000
before. The bank the next morning found that we had $18 more. We were
well-financed for the next season.