Monday, July 9, 2012

LSU vs. University of Havana (1907)

Photo of 1907 LSU football team from the LSU Digital Archives
 
http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/LSU_UAP&CISOPTR=2586&REC=11 

On December 25, 1907, LSU's football team defeated the University of Havana by a score of 56-0 in Havana, Cuba. First year coach Edgar Wengard led the Tigers along with team captain Charles Bauer and standout athlete George "Doc" Fenton. As the score suggests, the game was pretty one-sided but the event itself was more important than the final score. This game marked the first time a football team from a North American college traveled to Cuba to play a Cuban team.



LSU vs. University of Havana
Almendares Park, Havana, Cuba
December 25, 1907
According to press coverage, the game was a social event on par with the early Thanksgiving Day games held in New York City between Princeton and Yale. On Christmas Day, the elite of Cuban society, students from the University of Havana, LSU supporters, and U.S. servicemen from two gunboats and Camp Columbia filled Almendares Park. To paraphrase one Cuban report, "There will be plenty of college spirit shown, and the Havana University students are practicing their yells, their college songs, and various forms of noise making which convey enthusiasm to the players, while the colors of the colleges will be seen on all sides" (Diario de la Marina, Dec. 25, 1907, p.12). A municipal band also added to the game-day atmosphere. Despite the result on the field, it seems the organizers and fans in Cuba were well-acquainted with the spectacle associated with this North American college game.

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