From Page to Air: Sharing Baylor Football since 1951

by Sylvia Hernandez, BULAA Project Archivist

Cover of the 1951 Baylor Football Data guide.

Cover of the 1951 Baylor Football Data guide.

As football season gets underway, we find ourselves in the stands of our favorite stadium watching the game, hoping the best for our team. But what about the times you can’t make it? Have you ever listened on the radio or watched the television broadcast? Where do they get those stories? How do they know those stats? How do you say that name?

Media guides have all the answers. Most of them.

While processing a large collection of Baylor Athletics materials, a “Baylor University Football Data” guide from 1951 was found, one of the earliest in the collection. It features several players on the cover, season schedule, coach and player bio’s, school record holders, and yes, even a key for “those hard-to-say names.” These guides were, and still are, made available by the Athletic Department to sports editors, radio/television announcers, and several others who may be covering the game in some capacity.

Contents and pronunciation key in the 1977 Press Guide

Contents and pronunciation key in the 1977 Press Guide.

Since this 60-page guide was published in 1951, every decade or so brought its own evolution. During the 1970s the “Press Guides” were right around 70 pages, but featured much smaller type. By the 1980s the “Media Guide” was reconfigured into a more book-like item with 130-150 pages and by 2002 was 312 pages. Early guides had very basic information, but now include national award winners, bowl game appearances, stadium histories, “Bears in the NFL,” and so much more.

Evolution of the media guide: 1951, 1977, 1983, 2002, 2010.

Evolution of the media guide: 1951, 1977, 1983, 2002, 2010.

As the guides have evolved, so have the bindings and distribution methods. Staples, glue, and spiral bound versions can be found here at the Texas Collection. The most recent “Media Almanac” can be found on the Baylor Athletics website. Digital versions have become the easiest way to provide access to these materials. The 2017 Media Almanac covers 206 pages and over 115 years of Baylor Football history.

The almanacs act as the screen credits for the previous seasons. Each year makes the movie just a little longer, but continues to chronicle the battles fought by our “Bruins Bold.” Next time we play a game, take the time to appreciate the carefully documented history; listen to the radio call, watch the telecast, experience the stories of our past. Be there, even if you can’t make it in person.

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