1942 Rose Bowl Trophy – Oregon State vs. Duke

I have previously posted some items and info on 1942 Rose Bowl game between Oregon State and Duke, which is most famous for being the only Rose Bowl played outside of California.  Due to concerns over WWII, the game was played in Durham, NC, where Oregon State upset a heavily favored Duke team by a score of 20-16.

While some memorabilia from this game can be found, one of the more rare items is the trophy that players and coaches were awarded from that game.  All Oregon State coaches and players received the trophies and we know at least the Duke coaches received them as well, because there was a story about a man in NC finding one of these trophies in the trash back in 2014, which had belonged to one of the Duke Coaches!

The pictures below include the trophy that was found in the trash (and later auctioned off), as well as the trophy from Oregon State player Leeland “Lee” Gustafson, who is pictured below (bottom row – far right on the team picture).  The trophy stands about 20 inches tall and is a beautiful example of the way trophies looked back when they had true character and style!

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Various Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Pennants – Oregon State University (OSU) c. 1890-1927

While I have been fortunate to come across and obtain many old Oregon State University pennants, there are still several from the school’s Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) days that I have only seen in pictures, old photographs, or even drawings.  The pennants in this specific post are not in my personal collection, but I’d obviously love to find!  They all range from roughly 1890-1927, before OAC became Oregon State College (OSC). Each is unique and I found them from number of sources, like the Benton County Historical Society, OSU’s Archives, old programs, or old online auctions.  Keep your eye out for others as I’d love to add more pennants (or even just pictures of them) to the collection and this site!

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John Biancone Trophy from Oregon State College (1934)

Despite standing a mere 5 foot 6 inches tall and 165 pounds, John “Johnny” Biancone was a highly decorated quarterback  and halfback for the Oregon State College Beavers from 1931-1934.  This trophy, I’m assuming, was given to Biancone his senior year by Oregon State to commemorate his playing days at OSC.

John graduated from Portland’s Benson High School in 1930, where he lettered three times in five different sports.  He was a member of the 1928  City Championship Team, captain of a soccer team that was undefeated all four years, and he was also a State Wrestling Champion in 1929.  He is a member of the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame.

While at Oregon State, John lettered three years in football and baseball (back then they could not play on Varsity as a Freshman so they couldn’t earn letters for that year).  On the gridiron, John played both halfback and quarterback under coaches Paul Schissler and then Lon Stiner.  It appears he switched between HB and QB during games, depending on what was working.  A 1932 news article from a rival team city said John was “a dashing, tricky open field runner.”  While he played football during 1933, it doesn’t appear he was on the field during the Beavers famous “Ironmen” game, where only 11 players played every minute on both offense and defense in a 0-0 tie against a two time National Champion USC team that suited up 80 men for the game.  While I haven’t done the research, I’m assuming Biancone was injured for that game.

After college John spent one year in 1936 playing quarterback in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers, where records indicate he played in 5 games (they played far fewer games back then).  The following preseason he broke his leg and was released by the Dodgers, ending up with the Paterson (NJ) Panthers of the American Association (more of a minor league team) for a couple years.

Fast forward to 1942, and Biancone, like many men his age, found himself in the Army stationed at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in California.  At this base, Captain Biancone was the manager of the its football and baseball teams.  It seems he was the Athletic Director for the entire base, which at the time, had many former college and pro athletes in the army stationed there.  The large army bases would put together athletic teams to compete against other military bases, college teams, and even professional teams.  Biancone’s 1943 baseball team compiled an impressive record, including a winning streak of 20 straight games behind the stellar hitting of their star centerfielder who you may have heard of… Joe DiMaggio!

This neat trophy stands about 7 inches tall and the football player and plaque are silver or silver plated.  Is I said, I presume this was given to Biancone by OSU at the end of his senior season, either because he was a team Captain, MVP, or they could have given these to all the seniors.  A cool piece of 80+ year old Oregon State history!

In the last picture below from 1932, John Biancone (far right) is standing next to his coach at OSU, Paul Schissler (center), and teammate Harold Moe (far left).

 

 

Oregon State Vintage Letterman Sweaters

In an earlier post I had some examples of felt letters that came off early sweaters or letterman jackets, usually worn by athletes at Oregon State.  History has it that letterman sweaters were first worn by the 1865 Harvard basketball team.  Typically the stripes indicated the number of years on the varsity team, while a star would indicate the player was a team captain.  If you look through archives or yearbook pictures of athletes in the early ears of Oregon State, you can see many different sweaters being worn.  However, I’m not sure when the formal “letterman sweater” became the norm at OSU.

The earliest Oregon State sweater I have dates to the late 1930’s.  It is heavy wool and the sleeve has an orange stripe but no actual letter.  I’m not sure if this sweater ever had a letter, but it doesn’t appear that it did.  Made by HL Whiting out of Seattle, here is a picture of the sweater, the tag with the player’s name, and an original advertisement from 1938.

Here are three other letterman sweaters that date from the 1940’s-1960’s which have the letters in addition to the stripe on the sleeve.  The third picture with two stripes is actually a child’s letterman sweater, made by Dehen, probably available from the team store back in the day.

Here is an example of a white OSU letterman’s sweater from 1943.

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And lastly, we can’t forget the rally squad, who also wore sweaters with letters on them!  This picture is the rally squad for the 1942 Rose Bowl bound team with “OSC” across the front.  The second sweater with a beaver on the front and “Rally” on the back is circa 1940’s-1950’s.

1965 Rose Bowl Commemorative Silver Cup/Trophy – Chrysler Corp.

On New Years Day in1965, the 8-1 Oregon State Beavers played in its third (and most recent) Rose Bowl game. This time against a 7-1 Michigan Wolverines team, ranked #4 in the country.  Michigan was an 11 point favorite, but after a scoreless first quarter, it was the Beavs who struck first going up 7-0 in the second quarter.  Unfortunately, those were the last points scored by OSU as Michigan scored 34 unanswered points, dropping OSU to 8-2 on the year.

This silver cup, about 8 inches in diameter, I’m assuming was given by the game sponsor, Chrysler Corporation, as a gift to either their employees or possibly to people who helped put the game on. Engraved at the top is “1965 Rose Bowl.”  The second line reads “Michigan – Oregon St.”  And on the bottom, “Chrysler Corporation.” I have only seen two of these cups, so I’m not sure as to their rarity.  But overall, a neat memento of OSU’s sparse Rose Bowl History!

1965 Rose Bowl Silver Bowl

Beaver “Collegiate Cologne” Decanter by the National Porcelain Co. (c. 1960’s-1970’s)

So my buddy Ryan and I were down in Corvallis for a football game a couple weeks ago and we were sitting at the bar in Flat Tail Brewing getting ready for the game. Behind the bar there was a shelf with an assortment of random things, like trophies, helmets, and some other items. I noticed a ceramic beaver figurine about 8 inches tall that I hadn’t seen before, so I looked closer and snapped a picture between drinks.

The tag on the bottom of the decanter said “Collegiate Cologne” and then 4oz.  A little internet searching pulled up some similar decanters from other schools (all unique mascots) and it looks like these were a series of cologne decanters made by the National Porcelain Co. of Great Falls Montana, either in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. I bet that was some good smelling stuff back in the day!  Nothing like a little beaver cologne to attract the ladies!

Anyway, a few school mascots can be found on ebay for reasonable prices, but I haven’t seen another Beaver… so if you see one, grab it for me!  The first picture is the Beaver decanter I took a picture of.  Next is a picture of a different mascot in the original box and then a group of them I found on the internet to show how they are all unique.

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1974 McCormick Distillery Oregon State Beavers Mascot Decanter

This neat hand painted ceramic decanter, featuring OSU’s Beaver about to smash something with a piece of tree he had just chewed off, was produced by the McCormick Distilling Co. in 1974 ad part of a collection of college mascots.  At about 12 inches high, the Beaver’s head comes off and has a cork attached to the bottom of it, which sealed whatever special liquid that came in it at the time!

Based in Missouri, McCormick has the distinction of being the longest continuously operated distillery in the United States. Over the years McCormick has produced a series of decanters which are sought after by collectors. Produced between 1968 and 1987, at least 175 decanters were released in collections, including the college mascot collection  in 1974.  Each school’s design has their mascot in all different unique poses and they can often be found on Ebay or other collectable sites for a relatively affordable price (usually $50-100).

OSU Decanter 1974 (1) OSU Decanter 1974 (2) OSU Decanter 1974 (3) OSU Decanter 1974 (4)