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1925 Pottsville Maroons Game-Used Football vs. Notre Dame All-Stars-ONLY ONE IN EXISTENCE COA Family Provenance Letter & 100% Authentic TeamGo Back
Winning Bid: $6,050.00
Winning Bid: $6,050.00
Auction ends: 2020-09-12 22:00
Total price with Buyers Premium: $7,260.00
Bids count: 3
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Direct from the controversial game, is this game-used football from the Pottsville Maroons that they used against the Notre Dame All-Star squad. (Yes, the Fourhorseman touched and played football with this piece of leather.) It is the only relic known to exist from the game other than the kicker’s (Charlie Berry) shoe which was also preserved.
The Pottsville Maroons were declared the NFL World Champions in 1925 after they finished the season 10-2. The final game they played on their NFL schedule was against the Chicago Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals). Pottsville and the Chicago Cardinals were the two top teams in the league, having comparable records. At the time, the NFL Championship went to the team with the best record against other NFL teams. As such, the match-up between the two was of great importance. The Maroons met the Cardinals in late November near the end of the season for a game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, under snowy conditions. The Maroons won the game 21–7, thereby putting them ahead of the Cardinals in the championship race.
Before the season ended, however, the Maroons were suspended by NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, thus denying them the championship title. The Maroons were suspended by Carr for playing a team called the “University of Notre Dame All-Stars” in Philadelphia (winning 9–7), on the grounds that the game violated the territorial franchise rights of the Frankford Yellow Jackets (now Philadelphia Eagles). The game against the Notre Dame All-Stars had been originally devised by Frankford. It was planned as non-league exhibition game between former Notre Dame stars and the top NFL team in the east; after defeating the Maroons 20–0, Frankford had believed they would indeed be the NFL’s top eastern team. However, when they were later defeated by the Maroons in a second contest, they lost the right to play the game. Instead, Pottsville would host the All-Stars at Minersville Park, while Frankford scheduled another league game against the Cleveland Bulldogs.
Pottsville was excited to host Notre Dame, hoping it would be a huge financial windfall for the team. However, they felt that Minersville Park, a high school field with a low capacity, was too small for such a big event. Instead, they scheduled the game in Philadelphia, in the Yellow Jackets’ territory. Frankford protested to commissioner Carr, who warned the Maroons in writing that they faced suspension if they played in Philadelphia. However, the Maroons claimed that the league office verbally approved the game during a telephone call.
The game itself against Notre Dame which featured the famed Four Horsemen was memorable according to records. The writer, John P. O’Donnell from the local newspaper put it so eloquently in his game summary:
December 13, 1925 – POTTSVILLE STAGES RALLY TO BEAT FOUR HORSEMEN
Berry Kicks Field Goal in Final Minute of Contest to Give Maroons Victory Over Former Stars of Notre Dame University.
Displaying a superb line-cracking ability reminiscent of the days of Ted Coy, Tony Latone, product of the Wilkes-Barre sandlots, aided and abetted by Barney Wentz, former Penn State fullback, led the Pottsville Football team to a thrilling 9-6 victory over the Notre Dame eleven of 1924, before a crowd of 10,000 at Shibe Park yesterday afternoon.
The contest was without doubt the finest professional football game ever staged in this city, and completely confounded the critics, who had asserted that the collegian stars could not cope with their more mature rivals. In the waning moments of the fourth period, with the collegians from Indiana leading 7-6, the Maroon backfield stars shattered the Hoosier line in a series of brilliant thrusts that carried the ball 60 yards down the field without surcrease [sic]. And, when the advance had been temporarily halted 20 yards from the South Bend goal line, Charles Berry, All-American end at Lafayette, and now a member of Connie Mack’s hopefuls, dropped back to the 30-yard line and booted a pretty goal from placement, winning the contest for the Miners. It was a spectacular end to a remarkable contest.
Four Horsemen Are Brilliant. Throughout the first half the Notre Dame backfield completely outplayed the professional champions, to the great delight of the crowd, which seemed eager to see the eleven which had so completely smashed the attack of the Frankford Yellowjackets baffled by the aerial attack of the visitors.
With Knute Rockne’s most famous pupils, the famous “Four Horsemen,” in the backfield the South Bend warriors proved that as a team they were well fitted to live up to their reputation, despite the fact that they have been playing together only two weeks.
Notre Dame carried a 7-0 lead into halftime. Pottsville, emerging from the dressing room after the intermission, wore the aspect of a solely chastened team. Despite the edict of the National Professional Football League that the Miners would lose their franchise for invading Frankford’s territory, if they played the contest, the Maroon coach had insisted on playing.
Now the Miners were facing expulsion from the league, and the loss of their championship emblems. They were faced with a $5000 fine. Their game with the Steam Rollers at Providence R.I. today has been called off, there was the probability of very small gate, and, worst of all, they were facing a probable defeat at the hands of the Four Horsemen.
Perhaps the tongue lashing administered by Dr. Streigel weighed a little on their consciences, but certainly it was a different team that trotted on the grid iron. The players exhibited the gentle demeanor of Hyrcanian tigers during Lent, and Notre Dame, a trifle confident owing to their fine showing in the first half, soon found that they had a bunch of wildcats to contend with.”
In the third quarter, Tony Latone took a touchdown pass from Ernst, but the conversion was missed. The Irish led, 7-6, as time ran down in what Pottsville loyalists insist should be regarded as the first Professional vs. College All-Star game. Then, in the closing seconds, Charlie Berry stepped back to the 30-yard line and placekicked a perfect field goal to give the Maroons a 9-7 win. From the Pottsville point of view, their boys had beaten the best of the pro football and the best of college football on consecutive weekends.
However, the damaging results of going against the commissioner (Carr) resulted in the team’s suspension which also prohibited the Maroons from playing a scheduled game against the Providence Steam Roller or from completing its season. The subsequent loss of Championship title following the Notre Dame game has been the subject of controversy ever since.
Direct from the controversial game, is this game used football from the Pottsville Maroons that they used against the Notre Dame All-Star squad. It is the only relic known to exist from the game other than the kicker’s (Charlie Berry) shoe which was also preserved.
The Spalding football was presented as a gift to John Ginley after the game in appreciation. Ginley was not only an alumni honory charter member of the team (he did not play in the game) but a host that let the WHOLE ENTIRE team stay at his mattress factory in Pottsville the night before the game. The team captain Chuck Berry and his wife stayed at Ginley’s house.
The ball has handwritten detailing and recapping from the team’s historic season. The writing itself is visible in some areas but obscured by age in others. One of the panels showcases the teams they played and presumably scores – 28 Bisons Buffalo – 0 Providence – Canton – Providence, 19 Columbus – 21 Akron – 2 Frankfurt – 14 Rochester – 24 Cleveland – 31 Greenberg, 49 Frankfurt and 21 Cardinals. Another panel has member of the team memorialized – Clarence Beck G. L.E., Herb Stein, Racie, Hathaway, Capt. Berry, D. Osborn. The other panel with writing mention the game itself against the Four Horsemen and their title. Also note, the football has since aged throughout and is considerably more heavy.
What’s remarkable is that this provenance was preserved in the local newspaper the Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent and recorded years later in 1963. There in the photo as a photo match Ginley is shown proudly displaying the famed game football. In the photo, Ginley is pointing to a particular spot (blemish) which happened to the ball when the Maroon’s playing-coach, Charlie Berry hit the cross-bar with an unsuccessful point-after-touchdown attempt. Berry later hit the field goal to help the team on to victory.
Years later in 1970 after the newpaper article was written, a formal request came in to the Ginley family for the football from a local Pottsville businessman who was part of preserving the memory of the team and trying to restore the title. Consequently, the football stayed with the family as the request was rejected.
Overall, this game football is an important part of the history of the NFL Championship. With it, the game in 1925 against the Notre Dame All-Stars happened and what followed as a consequence to the Pottsville Maroons losing their title still is debated to this day. This has been in the Ginley family since 1925 and includes a provenance letter from Ginley’s grandson.
Authentication: 100% Authentic Team, Newspaper Article Provenance & Family Provenance Letter.