Looking Back at Baylor: The "Baylors" of '99

Baylor Football, 1899

The Baylors of 1899 gather for a team photo. Football started as an intramural competition between the classes but a school team soon developed to compete against other institutions.

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in October 1975, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

We took this excerpt from “The Baylors of 99” in honor of Saturday’s football game versus TCU, the first match-up of the teams since TCU became part of the Big 12.  In this piece, TCU 1899 graduate Charles Edward Bull  recalls the first time the schools competed at football. This was written before TCU was TCU, before Baylor became the Bears, and before the flying wedge was banned for safety reasons.

The time was September 1899. “See you in Manila” was still the popular cliche of the period. It was the day of the first football game ever played between TCU (then called AddRan) and Baylor, when both schools were located in Waco.

We had challenged them to a game, and—to our surprise—the Baylors accepted. We were cocky, and they were ascairt of us. [Baylor blogger’s aside—wouldn’t TCU like to think we were scared?! We may not have been the Bears yet, but as you’ll see, we held our own in this game!]

Came the big game, and the TCU team took the trolley cars to the Baylor field…a bed of white sand with a little bit of McLennan County black land mixed in, a perfect mixture for punkin’ yams and stingy, glistening white sandburs—or bricks. Sad to relate, the yams had not been planted but the sandburs had come up volunteer.

Baylor Football, 1900s

The Baylors play football on what is probably Carroll Field in a 1900s game. Note the lack of pads, helmets, or well-manicured playing field—and their festively striped socks!

Somebody flipped a two-bit piece, and we elected to receive. Blue-eyed Bill Doherty from Galveston took the kick-off and stiff-armed three or four men before they downed us on their 40. By a series of end runs, we worked the ball down to their 20, but we fumbled and the Baylors took over.

The game seesawed up and down across the middle for 30 minutes. At half-time, we all took off our shirts and picked stickers from each others backs, consoled by the thought that the Baylor team was doing the same thing.

Later in the game, one of their men got hit and came up with his face stuck all over with burs. “Get me out of that yaller jacket nest,” he yelled.

As we walked back toward the field for the second half, I decided to make friends with my adversary, a six-foot senior weighing upwards of 300 pounds by the name of [Ernest M.] Rasor.

“Mr. Rasor, my parents are Baptists,” I said. “Then, what the h— are you doin’ with that gang o’Campbellites?” he asked. I resented the word “gang”—made me mad. The attempted truce was off.

After every scrimmage both sides raked and picked sandburs. The official would take the ball and start scraping it on the ground; it, too, was thorny as a porcupine …..

About the middle of the second half I thought a cyclone had struck. The Baylors just played leapfrog and piled on top of me. I started counting them, hoping every thud would be the last; then I lost count.

When they untangled the heap, someone doused me with water and I sat up half dazed.

“A flying wedge hit you. How do you feel?” Bill Doherty asked. I wanted to lie down again. “Sleepy,” I said.

Later we were on the Baylor 15….. “X … Y … Z … 8 … 7 … 3,” counted Jim Ray.

The whistle blew, and we all stood up. People came crowding onto the field. “Games over,” said the official timekeeper. “A tie—0 to 0.”

“How did you like our brand of football, Mr. Rasor?” I asked my opponent.

“You outwinded us. But next time it’ll be different,” he replied.

“Not with a dull Rasor,” I retorted.

This entry was posted in Baylor football, Baylor University, Historic Waco, Looking Back at Baylor, McLennan County, Texas Christian University. Bookmark the permalink.

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