100 Years Ago, Chic Harley Led Ohio State to Its First Win Ever over Michigan

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Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Amazing man and a Buckeye legend!!!  

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

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IGotAWoody's picture

Indeed!

Is it just me or is this statement flawed?

In fact, the Buckeyes hadn't squared off against Michigan since 1912 – one year before Wilce's arrival – and his team had lost to the Wolverines 14-0 in the 1918 matchup in Columbus. 

I keep rereading it but I can't make heads or tails of it.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Buckeye BadDog's picture

 "If you never saw him run with a football, I can't describe it to you. It wasn't like Red Grange or Tom Harmon or anybody else. It was kind of a cross between music and cannon fire, and it brought your heart up under your ears." - James Thurber

“But admit there was no splendor in all the bright array
Like the glory of the going when Chic Harley got away.” -James Thurber

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn!" -Woody Hayes

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MercyTex's picture

Thurber is another OSU treasure.  The Great Flood, The Night The Bed Fell are great stories.  His illustrations captured his whimsical approach to living 100 years ago. 

Our people are everywhere, Esto Dignus.

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NoVAsmitty's picture

According to this ---> https://staleymuseum.com/staleys-bears-20-21/chick-harley/ -----> the quote is attributed to a Bob Hooey in 1948 who was the sports editor for the Ohio State Journal.  The same publication does quote a James Thurber poem entitled "When Chic Harley Got Away."

The link is also an interesting read about Chic Harley.

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

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MichiBuck12's picture

A couple thoughts here.

1. That video is awesome. Its just seems crazy to me how big a deal this game was back then. Considering how different the world was compared to now, but this rivalry is still the same.

2. I think I'm gonna throw a party on October 25th to commemorate this and I'm pretty sure my wife is going to think thats stupid.

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stpetebuck's picture

2. I think I'm gonna throw a party on October 25th to commemorate this and I'm pretty sure my wife is going to think thats stupid.

i think this is a great idea. And, yeah, your wife is probably right. 

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OSU56's picture

No matter, the 1919 season will always be remembered for Harley guiding Ohio State to its first ever win over the maize and blue.

When the sun set on Harley's outstanding Buckeye career, he became Ohio State's first three-time All-American and led his teams to a 21-1-1 record while creating so much buzz the school was able to raise over a million dollars in public donations by 1921, paving the way for Ohio Stadium – aka "The House That Harley Built" – to host its first football game on October 7, 1922. 

Not only have the wins continued over the last 100 years, there are many more victories over ttun to come...……...

Enjoying daily the 62-39 ttun beatdown.

 

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Undoubtedly a different era of American football a century ago (note the ball placement on a couple of plays; evidently hash marks had not been instituted yet).

Yet, even in that brief, grainy film of the TSUN game of 1919, Chic's Buckeye brilliance comes to the fore on a nifty little swing pass by Stinchcomb to Harley that he motored into the end zone (begin at the 2:35 mark; watch closely). TSUN's game history records Chic's 2nd half TD as a run, but I think the video shows otherwise. And it's a fleeting moment, but I think you can make out Chic's #10 jersey after he gets picked up by his teammates in the end zone. (Edit: I stand corrected. See below.)

And it's unconscionable that Chic Harley still hasn't been given the honor he deserves with a statue of him on Lane Avenue overlooking the House That Harley Built.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Sanantonefan's picture

Agree 100% GTH. A chunk of Chic would be great!!

You Got Barbecue Back There!?!?!?!

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allinosu's picture

That sideline shot made me wonder when it changed. The 1932 NFL championship game was moved because of weather to a hockey-basketball arena in Chicago and because of the sideboards they decided to move the ball 10 yards inward on the snap of sideline plays. In 1933 college moved them 10 yards because of wasted plays sideways for better position. Doing that made offenses les reluctant to run away from the middle thus opening things up and more enjoyable for fans. 1935 they moved it to 20 yards and in 1972 to 23 yards 1 foot and 9 inches(now wondering why that distance) to what it is now.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Great followup and info there, Allinosu. Thanks.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

1935 they moved it to 20 yards and in 1972 to 23 yards 1 foot and 9 inches(now wondering why that distance) to what it is now.

Odd dimension to be sure, Allin, but if it was the NFL, I think that was to align the hash marks with the 18'6" width of the goal post.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BrutusB's picture

Not sure about CFB, but hashmarks went into the NFL rulebook in 1932.  Prior to that the ball was spotted where the previous play ended.

EDIT: Allinosu beat me to it.  Who knew 11W was full of hashmark enthusiasts.

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allinosu's picture

Did you find anything on it's current distance? I can see 23 yards but the one foot nine inches seems like it would have a story behind it.

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BrutusB's picture

In the NFL the hash marks are lined up with the goal posts - so centered on the field and 18 ft 6 in apart.  In CFB there's exactly 40 feet between the hashes, centered on the middle of the field. In high school its divided into thirds - 53.4 ft from the sideline and between the hashmarks (not sure if that ones universal though).

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osu78's picture

And it's unconscionable that Chic Harley still hasn't been given the honor he deserves with a statue of him on Lane Avenue overlooking the House That Harley Built.

I agree. The question is do you go with him carrying the ball or do a standing statute. I'dd ad "Welcome to the house that Harley Built" to the stadium's portico.

And bring back the cannonball helmet and Chic thowbacks.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

I agree. The question is do you go with him carrying the ball or do a standing statute.

I've always thought this classic pose by Chic would make a great statue. Heroic scale, of course.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

And bring back the cannonball helmet and Chic thowbacks.

Some may think it a fashion flop, but I proudly own a "Music and Cannon Fire" copy from the '16 season (which, accidentally or not, was also JTB IV's #).

And I know Kevin Harrish would approve:

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Mostly Gray's picture

I’m sure you will find in the UM archives that there were several questionable calls including a controversial ball spot.

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Go Buckeyes14's picture

As a history major these are my favorite types of articles. Great read, Chris!

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Sanantonefan's picture

What areas of history interest you most (beside Buckeye sports)?

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Hovenaut's picture

We're blessed to have had so many icons throughout the program's history.

Fitting Chic Harley is the first.

I still get chills reading about his exploits against the rival - four interceptions.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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BrutusB's picture

I wonder how much of that was Harley and how much was the fact that the passing offense of the day was basically chuck it up there and see what happens.  Probably some of both.

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Hovenaut's picture

I want to say the forward pass was still in it's infancy, but also Fielding Yost...like it or no, he was a coach who had an idea of what he was doing.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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BrutusB's picture

I actually just went down a rabbit hole researching this.  George Gipp (as in, "win one for the Gipper") led the country with 727 passing yards that year (and rushed for the same amount).  He passed for 7 TDs and 4 INTs (and also picked off 3 himself while on defense).  As far as I can tell, Cliff Sparks was the Michigan QB that year but I can't find any stats on how he did - he was apparently good in 1916, off to war in 1917, and then "resumed his career".

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Hovenaut's picture

Yeah, that would be a deep dive, especially going that far back. I'd have to consult my Jack Park Encyclopedia, and even then the information is mostly Ohio State/Chic Harley specific.

Probably safe to say that Chic was one of Cliff Sparks' leading receivers...:)
 

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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PRO8's picture

Back then the ball was not really the same shape it is for passing today. It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of a football from that day to one of today. I have a feeling that today's  ball may actually be smaller in over all size and definitely aerodynamically designed for passing./gripping the ball for passing. Either that or we have bigger human beings with bigger hands? lol

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ibuck's picture

 It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of a football from that day to one of today.

I'd like to see this too—without going to the College Football Hall of Fame.

11W staff, can you do it?

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

11W staff, can you do it?

Not staff, but here ya go Ibuck:

https://boyslife.org/features/151034/how-the-football-has-changed-since-1869/

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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PRO8's picture

Thanks  that info pretty much follows what I thought happened. It looks like they got  it right sized in 1935 and it has been pretty good since then. They have since it seems made minor tweaks in material  it seems for grip. I could see back near the turn of the century and into the 1930's that it was probably very hard still to throw a pass. The leather also I would think made it hard to grip especially when wet thus why the passing game did not really get big until the 40's into the 60's with the more modern football and technology . Probably why Woody and many of the 1940's and into the 1960's coaches lived by 3 yds and a cloud of dust.

  That gets me back to that ttun game in 1919 where Chic had the 4 int's , in that day and time that is probably a record that may have stood for years nationally.  I would think it being harder to pass being able to get 4 int's in a game when passing had to have been a lessor part of the O in my thinking. That said there were many mismatches back then with some really lopsided scores so the possibility of having some games with high int rates do to just bad bad football so who knows.

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ibuck's picture

Thanks much, GTH.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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osu78's picture

The ball looks more like a rugby ball in some of the pictures.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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osu78's picture

True, but it became legal in 1906 and coaches were using it and designing plays. Stagg said he had 64 plays based on the pass in 1906; other school primarly in the Midwest and West adopted it while it appears Eastern schools tended to ignore it, despite Yale throwing one in 1876 that resulted in a TD.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

I still get chills reading about his exploits against the rival - four interceptions.

Right, Hove. One of the reasons Chic got picked by sportswriters for the first half century team over Red Grange. Chic could do it all.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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Hovenaut's picture

Amen, and I'd agree (sees the scarlet shaded glasses within reach) - they picked correct.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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TURD_BUCKET's picture

Jack Parks encyclopedia should be required reading.  Four interceptions in ONE game (1919)! 

Its a shame TOSU does not recognize this in the official record books?  

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

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Hovenaut's picture

You raise a good point , TB - I don't think Chic's feat of four ints is recognized (Want to say Craig - son of Hopalong - Cassady has the official single game record with three picks in a 1975 game).

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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RollRedRoll's picture

Thank you Mt. Harley, you started the domination of TTUN. 

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andretolstoy's picture

I still think the Stadium should dawn his name, or at least "Chic Harley Field" --- and there needs to a movie of this man's life. 

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

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BrutusB's picture

Careful opening up that can of worms.  We'll have 'Chic Harley Field Presented by Nationwide Insurance' before you know it.

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Buckfrombirth's picture

Chic Harley field sounds a lot better than a more likely option nowadays, such as SafeAuto Field at Ohio Stadium, if I remember the 11W April Fool's Day joke from a couple years ago correctly. BTW, it fooled me until I got to the end of the article.

I survived Cooper, and I hate Tai Streets.

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BrutusB's picture

Guaranteed Rate Field is a real place that exists.  That's wild.

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Buckfrombirth's picture

There are some terrible corporate stadium names, that's for sure.

I survived Cooper, and I hate Tai Streets.

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Buckfrombirth's picture

Thanks, Crimson. I knew "safe" was in the name. It was a great joke!

I survived Cooper, and I hate Tai Streets.

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ScarletGray43157's picture

There is currently a Chic Harley Field in Columbus, located at Harley's high school alma mater, Columbus East High School.

Chic Harley History Lesson. Well worth a read if you have a couple of minutes.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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Sanantonefan's picture

Great read!

You Got Barbecue Back There!?!?!?!

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ScarletGray43157's picture

Yes, I enjoyed it as well.  

Sad to hear how Harley's later years unfolded. Sounds like it may have been a case of CTE. Certainly sounds like it. 

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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Sanantonefan's picture

That was my first thought as well. That's so sad. CTE is a problem. My grandson got two concussions in his first season playing high school ball. He decided to go with track. Can't say I was overly disappointed.

You Got Barbecue Back There!?!?!?!

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ScarletGray43157's picture

Best wishes to your grandson and yourself.  Thanks for sharing.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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brutus360's picture

Gotta love how TBDBITL was doing it even back then. Starting that clip off was pretty cool.

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" Woody Hayes

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Homey1970's picture

Where in the hell was the band’s Script Ohio?!

Oh yeah.  It hadn’t been invented yet.

But I’m sure ttun’s arrogance was already in full blossom by ‘19.

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sword52's picture

The video is actually not from the 1919 game but is from the 1923 game that Michigan won. I posted about this in the past. I have studied Ohio State uniform history thoroughly. In the clip shown it is Michigan guy scoring a TD. Ohio State wore socks with 2 stripes from the early 1910s up until 1928. I will post the actual 1919 game film. It was better quality. Below are images from the 1923 game Note Ohio State socks.

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BuckeyeRy4's picture

And to think I used to live on Harley Drive...

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sword52's picture

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11n5y3

Hope that works. It is the 1919 game with Chic Harley. I did some screen grabs of that game and Chic attempts FG in it. Again Ohio state has the striped socks.

Anyhow good stuff about Chic. One of my all time favorite Buckeyes.

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sword52's picture

The clip from the 1919 game worked for me. It is short but great quality. Chic does a dropkick near the end.  Then note the ref on ground before he hops up and signals good for a placement kick.

Maybe Ohio State can wear 1919 replica jerseys this year. The jerseys for the 1919 game were slightly different with the friction strips in front.

There is Chic from the 1919 game film I posted.

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brband64's picture

Thanks for your work on this! Makes me want to go out and toss around the ol' pigskin myself...well, almost.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

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TheProfessor's picture

GREAT STUFF!  Thanks for the due diligence.  For those wondering who "Doc" Gurney was in the article, he was Ohio State's Athletic Trainer (and equipment man) from 1914 until his death in 1926.  Great profile on him in the 1916 Makio yearbook, but I can't figure out how to link to it.

"Read not to contradict or refute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider." - Francis Bacon

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NoVAsmitty's picture

Chic Harley's life after Ohio State is just tragic.  He suffered a mental breakdown from schizophrenia and spent most of his life in a VA hospital.  When he was a pilot, I guess the other pilots and his superior officers bullied him, as did him teammates on Bears.  Led him to a breakdown.  There needs to at least be a statue of Chic Harley outside Ohio Stadium.  From this Lantern article, it appears the stadium was originally supposed to be named after him.  

https://www.thelantern.com/2009/10/documentary-commemorates-osu-football...

“I intend to make Georgia howl.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

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Zimmy07's picture

50 years later an Ohioan was the first to step foot on the Moon.  Coincidence?

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TURD_BUCKET's picture

Chic also lettered in basketball, baseball, and track.  A really good book about Chic:  'The One and Only' by Todd C Wessell.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

The video is actually not from the 1919 game but is from the 1923 game that Michigan won. I posted about this in the past. I have studied Ohio State uniform history thoroughly.

It appears you are correct, Sword, but I'm baffled. The Staff video post does not show a time or date, which led me to a wrong assumption. I found another video of that 10/25/1919 game, but it is of poor quality:

I noted that TBDBITL of 1919 wore Army-style Campaign hats as they marched.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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sword52's picture

GrandTheftHarley that is from the 1919 game but only shows a play or so. I like the shot of the bench. But after it says the worm turned, the other footage is not Ohio State Michigan. Note the opponent has white helmets. That is the Purdue game.

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Il_Padrino's picture

A few of my Chic items:

1919 OSU vs UM program

Chic auto on 1948 OSU vs UM program:

Chic auto on my 1936 Captain's Program:

My 1919 season Chic photo:

Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

Very cool items, IP.  I'd love to own a piece of history like that.

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Sunny Buck's picture

Obviously, Chic Harley is one of the most influential OSU figures in school history. I can't believe that there is not a statue to honor his Buckeye career. Why can't there be a Chic Harley Day at the Buckeyes last home game this season to commemorate  100 years since the first victory over the Rival?

11 Warriors staff, can you contact the university with all of this information to consider such a proposal or is that an impossible task?

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread, especially to Chris Lauderback. Honestly, one of the best articles I've ever read on this site.

I'm not trying to win a popularity contest. I'm trying to win football games-- Woody Hayes

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Il_Padrino's picture

I posted a thread on the need for a statue a while back - will dig it up and bump the thread.

Thanks for your support of a true great Buckeye.

Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

In 1919 however, Wilce had Harley back in the fold as the Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor for an October 25th showdown against a 2-0 Wolverines squad that outscored its opponents 60-0. 

Those two wins were probably over a local high school and the YMCA. 

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SA CARPENTER's picture

I'm glad to see so many people have recognized the significance of this year in OSU football history. This year marks the 45 anniv. of Harley's passing. April 21, 1974 to be exact. This year also marks his 125 birthday, according to his birth certificate.  Already mentioned is the fact that this year also marks the 100 year anniv. of Ohio State's first ever defeat of Michigan on October 25, 1919
at Ferry Field.

I've mentioned in previous post my belief that Harley's story would make for a great full length feature film. I would be curious to hear from the Buckeye Nation with regard to this proposal. With the blessing of Chic's family, I think his story would be well received. 

Please review the article below. I think it sums up the necessity for such a project.

A FANS LOOK AT OSU FOOTBALL HISTORY

PC resident shows off his love for the Bucks.

By Michael Williamson

mwilliamson@aimmediamidwest.com

What’s the best way to celebrate Ohio State/Michigan week?

For Steve Carpenter of Plain City, it’s remembering a man who was part of the OSU team that first defeated That Team Up North. Carpenter, a self-professed “Buckeye for Life,” showed his support for his favorite team and player at Tuttle Mall in Dublin Monday by setting up a table dedicated to that man, Charles “Chic” Harley.

Carpenter joined Ohio State’s official historian, Jack Park, who was also there signing his book, Buckeye Reflections: Legendary Moments from Ohio State Football.

See OSU | 2B

OSU

From page 1B

“I wanted to do something to draw interest and support for Michigan week,” Carpenter said. “Not many people know about Chic Harley and his contribution to OSU football and this is a great way to talk about him.”

Carpenter had a table at Sports Possessions, a memorabilia store in the mall, decorated with photos of Harley and the rest of the team.

Who is Chic Harley?

Prior to walking into the famed Horseshoe of Ohio Stadium in 1922, the Buckeyes played at Ohio Field. However, because of the growing success of a Chicago born, three-time All American player named Chic Harley, the university started a fund drive to build the $1.3 million, 66,210-seat Ohio Stadium in 1920. This led to the stadium being referred to as “The House that Harley built.”

Harley, a half-back for OSU at the time, helped the team to their first Big Ten Conference championship in 1916 and was part of the 1919 football team that beat Michigan for the first time since they began playing in the late 1890’s.

“Most people would refer to Americas’ Golden Age of Sport as 1920-1930,” Carpenter said. “But because of Chic, I would back that to 1919-1930.” He said that Harley helped build a team and program that would go on to define what Ohio State and professional football would become.

“Not only was he an outstanding player that helped develop the Michigan rivalry, but his work with other players moved the sport forward,” Carpenter said. After playing college ball, Harley was asked by George Halas of Chicago to join a team that would eventually become the Chicago Bears. “Harley really worked with those players and made the Bears what they eventually became.”

Harley was also a veteran of World War I and years after his time in the military was diagnosed with dementia praecox. In 1938 he was taken to a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Illinois for the remainder of his life. He did return to Columbus in 1948 for a tribute in his name at Ohio Stadium.

He eventually passed away in 1974 from pneumonia and was buried in Columbus at Union Cemetery.

Telling Chic’s story

“His story is such a great one. He had this awful illness after a successful career, but was never abandoned by his friends,” Carpenter said. “The story of Chic Harley is really the story of friendship.”

That story so inspired Carpenter that he has worked for years on a screenplay that will hopefully make a feature film of Harley’s life. “I just don’t think it’s a story Buckeye fans — let alone other people — know and it should be told,” he said. “This man holds such a significant place in Ohio sports history and yet it was so long ago, most people don’t know it.”

Carpenter wrote the script based on two books about Harley’s life, Chic: The Extraordinary Rise of Ohio State Football and the Tragic Schoolboy Athlete Who Made it Happen by Bob Hunter and The One and Only by Harley relative, Todd Wessell.

“With the blessing of Chic’s family, I think his story would make a great film,” Carpenter said. He added that the current draft of the script, titled Chic, is his twenty-fifth revision. He added it was inspired by a combination of Rudy and It’s a Wonderful Life.

“Hopefully this helps to get Chic’s name and life’s story out there. It’s an especially good one to look at for Michigan week,” Carpenter said. “And, of course, Go Bucks!”

1st photo. OSU football historian Jack Park, left, and Plain City resident
Steve Carpenter, right, hold Carpenter’s picture of former Buckeye
Charles “Chic” Harley Monday at Sports Possessions in Dublin’s
Tuttle Mall. Carpenter was there to show off his Harley photo
collection, which includes an original photograph of Harley from
1916. Park was also there signing books ahead of Michigan week.

A photo collection of OSU football at Sports Possessions in Dublin’s Tuttle Mall.
The photos belong to Steve Carpenter, a Plain City resident and lifelong Buckeye fan.

Michael Williamson | The Madison Press
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.

YEA CHIC, YEA OHIO,

S.A. CARPENTER

PHOTOS TO BE DISPLAYED AT A LATER DATE

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SA CARPENTER

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