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Today's Tidbit... Hope Against Hokie
Here's a recent acquisition of an RPPC with notes on the back indicating it is from the 1905 season. The front shows teammates sitting or lying on the ground, along with a handwritten comment. In the early days of postcards, the back side was reserved for the address only, so those who produced postcards often left white space on the front for messages to the recipient.
The sender of the postcard wrote:
Just after the first half in the Gallaudet. Carpenter is telling them what men are to go in for the second half. J.B.M.
A little checking tells us the pictured team is Virginia Tech, who had an excellent team in 1905. They beat Army, UNC, South Carolina, and Virginia while losing to Navy on their way to a 9-1 season. Gallaudet was their second-easiest game. In a game without a called penalty, VPI marched to a 41-0 halftime lead, leading the Hokies' captain, Hunter Carpenter, to substitute freely with only two starters heading onto the field for the second half.
Carpenter was a story all by himself since 1905 was his seventh season of varsity football. Carpenter played for Virginia Tech from 1899-1903, failing to beat Virginia in five attempts. Carpenter transferred to UNC for the 1904 season, hoping to beat the Cavaliers, but that did not happen, so he returned to Virginia Tech for one last shot.
Virginia, of course, grew tired of seeing Carpenter on the opposing team and accused him of being a professional. He refuted that idea, signed an affidavit attesting to his amateur status, and led the Hokies to an 11-0 victory over the Cavaliers.
At the end of the year, Virginia Tech's 1906 yearbook included a cartoon supporting Carpenter with the ultimate "I know you are, but what am I" vibe versus Virginia.
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