Today’s post is an opportunity to celebrate the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Michigan Legend named Benjamin G. Oosterbaan. The athletically gifted Oosterbaan was born on this day in 1906. Benjamin G. “Bennie” Oosterbaan came to Ann Arbor, Michigan in the fall of 1924 and he never left! He dedicated his entire adult life to The University of Michigan!’s name
Part I. Wolverine of the Day – Bennie Oosterbaan
Bennie Oosterbaan first appeared on a Michigan football roster in 1924. Freshman were not eligible to play at this time so, Bennie learned the Fielding Yost system and went to work in the classroom. He was invited to try out for the varsity football team in 1925 and played his way into the College Football Hall of fame!
The talented Oosterbaan became a favorite target of Benny Friedman in 1925. Yes, they were almost unstoppable during the 1925 and 1926 seasons. Michigan won fourteen of sixteen games and ten of eleven in the Big Ten. They won back-to-back championships in the last two years of the Yost Era. Bennie Oosterbaan’s talents did not go unnoticed. He was a two-time All-Big Ten and All-American player during his first two years on the Michigan varsity.
Michigan’s football program saw some big changes in 1927. First, Fielding Yost retired from coaching in order to dedicate more time to his athletic director duties. Specifically, he had a very BIG stadium to build and he needed every minute available to get it done on time and under budget! Former Wolverine, Tad Wieman, was selected to fill Yost’s very, very BIG shoes. It is always tough to replace a legend, but Wieman gave it his best shot. So, Not only did Michigan have a new coach in 1927, it also had a new stadium.
One thing that made Wieman’s job a little easier was the return of All-American Bennie Oosterbaan. Bennie was selected as the captain of the 1927 football team. He continued to star on the field and did everything he could to bring Michigan another conference championship. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. Wieman’s footballers finished with a record of 6 wins and 2 losses. The Wolverines finished in third place in the conference with a record of 3-2-0.
Benjamin G. Oosterbaan had another stellar season that earned him a ton of individual awards. He earned Michigan’s MVP award and was selected as all Big-Ten and All-American for the third consecutive season. Bennie also earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor for his exemplary work as a student-athlete.
In addition to starring on the football team, Bennie also excelled in basketball and baseball for Michigan. He was one busy boy when he was a student at Michigan. Benjamin G. Oosterbaan was definitely part of some good sports teams at Michigan.
Some of Bennie’s greatest accomplishments are listed below:
- First Michigan man to earn All-American honors for three consecutive seasons 1925, 1926 and 1927.
- First Michigan football player to have his jersey retired in 1927.
- First, and only man, to lead the Big Ten in scoring/hitting in three sports: football scoring (1925), basketball 1927-28) and baseball hitting (1927).
- Also, first Michigan athlete to earn All-Conference honors in three different sports (football, basketball, and baseball).
- As a coach, he is the only Michigan alum to lead a team to a national championship in his first season (Football 1948).
- First Michigan football coach to earn Coach of the Year honors in his first season from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 1948. Also, with Crisler, the first and only time that two coaches from the same school were named back-to-back coaches of the year by the AFCA.
So, today is a great day to remember the man is often called “the greatest athlete in the history of The University of Michigan.” Benjamin J. Oosterbaan was that good! It could also be said that Bennie was the greatest “Michigan Man” ever since he spent sixty-six years of his life competing for, or coaching, or promoting The University of Michigan.
There will never be another Bennie Oosterbaan at Michigan – never! So, on the 102nd anniversary of his birth, take a minute to reflect on the immense contributions of Benjamin G. Oosterbaan to his beloved university. Sadly, Bennie Oosterbaan died on October 25, 1990. May he always rest in peace. Go Blue!
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – February 2, 2018
Who is the only man in Michigan Football History to score 26 touchdowns in a single season?
Part II. Trivia Question Answer for February 2, 2018 – Albert Herrnstein
Michigan senior Albert Herrnstein scored 26 touchdowns during the 1902 Michigan Football Season. Yes, this was a lot of trips to the end zone for young Albert. He had two really BIG games against Michigan Agricultural College (7 touchdowns) and Ohio State (5 touchdowns). Herrnstein’s 26 scores were 11 more than Willie Heston’s 15 touchdowns. However, Heston is the one who earned All-Conference honors in 1902, not Herrnstein.
So, today is a good day to remember a Michigan Football great named Albert E. Herrnstein. He was an exciting player who knew how to get into the end zone. Some of his scoring records have stood for 116 years! Please take a moment to appreciate his outstanding contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. May Albert E. Herrnstein continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!
Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – February 3, 2018
Michigan has only “postponed” one home game in 138 years. Why did they re-schedule a game at Michigan Stadium in 1963?