February 19, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Ralph Hayes

Michigan Football Team 1894 | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Ralph Hayes is pictured above with the 1894 Michigan Football team – the first team to win 9 games in one season. Hayes is seated in the front row. He is the last man on the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today is a great day to remember a Michigan Wolverine named Ralph Hayes on his 145th birthday anniversary. Ralph Waldo Emerson Hayes was born in Stark City, Illinois on this day in 1872. Yes, he is another “Pigskin Pioneer!” According to the Wikipedia article linked below, young Hayes came to Ann Arbor from Galva, Illinois.

The first time that Ralph Hayes showed up on a Michigan Football Roster was in 1891. He was on the first team with a paid coach named Frank Crawford. Unfortunately, things did not work out too well for Mr. Crawford and his Wolverine football team in 1891. He was gone after posting a record of 4 wins and 5 losses!

Ralph Hayes came back to play in 1892 to play for a new coach named Frank Barbour. Hayes continued to play End in every game for the next two seasons. During Barbour’s tenure, the Wolverines posted 14 wins and 8 losses.

When Ralph Hayes came back for his senior season, he had another new coach named William McCauley. Ralph Hayes and his teammates played well under their new coach setting a new record for season wins. Michigan finished the 1894 football campaign with a record of 9 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie.

Cornell Victory Admission ticket | bigbluefootballhistory.com

This “Souvenir Programme & Score Card” is the first item in the Bentley Library’s Program Collection. It is symbolic of the first Wolverine victory over an Eastern Power. Michigan defeated Cornell by a score of 12-4 on November 24, 1894. Image courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

So, Ralph Hayes, and his teammates from the Class of 1895, finished with a record of 27 wins, 14 losses and 1 tie. It was the best record of a Michigan Football class to date. Of course, the best was yet to come. However, Ralph Hayes, and his fellow Wolverines, certainly raised the bar for future Michigan Football teams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Hayes played some good football for Michigan and he also was part of some interesting Michigan football “firsts.”

·         Played on the first Michigan Football Team to have a paid coach (Frank Crawford) in 1891.

·         Played on the first Michigan football team to lose 5 games in one season (1891).

·         Played on the first Michigan team to play in front of 5,000 people at Cleveland in 1891 (lost 4-8 to Cleveland Athletic Association).

·         Played on the first team that Frank Barbour coached at Michigan in 1892.

·         Played on the first Wolverine football team to win 7 games in 1892.

·         Played on the first team that William McCauley coached at Michigan in 1894.

·         Played on the first Michigan team to win 9 football games in 1894.

Please take a moment to remember Ralph Hayes who passed away on February 11, 1932 at the age of sixty. Ralph Hayes was a part of twenty-seven Wolverine football wins and he made important contributions to the great history of Michigan football. May he always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!

For more information on Ralph Hayes check out the notes in the Wikipedia article linked below.



Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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