Today is a great day to remember another Wolverine “Captain” named Frederick Henninger on his happy birthday anniversary. Frederick W. “Fred” Henninger was born in Cleveland, Ohio on this day in 1873. Yes, Fred was another Michigan “Pigskin Pioneer!” Henninger’s family settled in Barberton, Ohio. Fred made his way from Barberton to Ann Arbor in 1893 to matriculate at Michigan and play some football. Before we look at Fred’s Michigan football career, it’s time to look at some more Wolverine Football Trivia.
Part I. Trivia Question of the Day – February 1, 2018
What Michigan team was the first one to win eleven games in one season?
Part I. Trivia Question Answer for February 1, 2018 – Team #22
Yes, Fielding Yost’s “Point-a-Minute” team of 1901 was the first Michigan Football team to win eleven games in one season. Yost’s footballers didn’t just win, they dominated every opponent. When the season was over, Michigan outscored their opponents by a margin of 550-0! So, the average score of every game was 50-0!
Of course, this was the beginning of a five-year run that saw the Wolverines post an incredible record of 55 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Yost’s Wolverines also managed to win four National Championships during this time to go along with four Western Conference Championships. It was the greatest era in Michigan Football History.
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – February 2, 2018
Who was the first quarterback in Michigan Football History to pass for 5,000 career yards?
Part III. Wolverine of the Day – Frederick Henninger
Frederick Henninger played at a time when freshman were eligible, if they were good enough. Well, Fred Henninger was good enough to play on the offensive line as a freshman although he did not start. The 1893 team coached by Frank Barbour finished with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses.
Coach Barbour moved on after the 1893 season and Fred Henninger moved up on the depth chart under new coach William McCauley. Fred started some games at guard and tackle on the 1894 team that finished with 9 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. It was the best record in the early history of Michigan Football.
William McCauley was back for the 1895 season and so was Captain Fred Henninger! The talented Henninger started every game in 1895. His ferocious play on both sides of the ball helped lead the Wolverines to a final record of 8 wins and 1 loss. Michigan was poised to enter the Western Conference in 1896 and Frederick Henninger would be there for that historical season.
Fred Henninger came back ready and eager for his senior year. The 1896 team would be the first team in Michigan Football history to play for the Western Conference title. The Wolverines were in the hunt for the championship right up until the last game of the season against Chicago. The Maroons, under Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, won a close game in Chicago by a final score of 7-6. So, Frederick Henninger and his teammates had to settle for second place in the conference (2-1-0) with an overall record of 9 wins and 1 loss. They were so, so very close to winning the championship in year one of conference play!
Captain Fred Henninger finished his career with four varsity letters and a ton of wins. He, and his teammates, had the greatest four-year run of any team in the first seventeen years of Michigan Football History. They won 33 games, lost 6 and tied 1 during the “Henninger Years.” The Wolverines won almost eighty-four percent (.838) of their games during this period which was very impressive!
Of course, Frederick Henninger was the first man from Barberton, Ohio to play for Michigan. Yes, there would be more men that followed him to Ann Arbor, including a famous coach! He certainly played a big role in building a winning tradition at Michigan. Today is a great day to remember a true “Michigan Man” who contributed greatly to the early history of Michigan football. Frederick Henninger died on March 30, 1919 at the age of forty-six. May Frederick Henninger always rest in peace. Go Blue!