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Today's Tidbit...1957 Special Train to Philadelphia for Army-Navy
I own a few itineraries and brochures touting train travel to football games, one of which involved the 1957 Army-Navy game played in Philadelphia. Conveniently dropping its passengers at the Baltimore & Ohio station across the street from Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium, the trip had to be amazing.
The blue ink on yellow paper tells us the railroad considered Navy fans their primary audience, but it stopped in Washington and likely had a few ground pounders join them in traveling to the big game.
The highest-priced ticket was $12.42 ($130.33 in 2022 dollars), which provided access to the refreshment car offering a few items, including items that may have included alcohol.
The game was expected to be a beauty at the beginning of the year when it was among the games selected for a national television broadcast. (One or two games per weekend were chosen before the season started, allowing preseason magazines to preview the end-of-season games.)
By the end of the 1957 season, the Army-Navy matchup included two Top-10 teams. Navy would end the year 9-1-1, ranked #5 after beating Rice in the Cotton Bowl. Army ended the year 7-2 and ranked #10.
Navy, under Eddie Erdelatz, used the Jitterbug defense, one of the first college defenses of the time to regularly shift pre-snap. Army was in its 17th and second-to-last season under Red Blaik, playing solid football but not well enough for the Army alums to enjoy the train ride back to the nation's capital. Instead, Navy won 14-0 before the 101,000 watching the rain-soaked game.
Meanwhile, President Dwight Eisenhower, who played for Army in his day and usually attended the game, was at Camp David, cheering on the cadets as he recovered from a mild stroke.
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