Friday, August 10, 2012

Legends Patch Nominees: Francis, Albert, and Alvin Wistert

Since Desmond Howard became the first Michigan player to receive a Legends Patch, there has been much debate surrounding which players deserve the award as well.  In an effort to settle some of the debate, we will be breaking down a former Michigan football player that we believe should be analyzed as a nominee for a Legends Patch.  This does not mean our writers believe they should be formally nominated in some way, but only that their credentials should be reviewed. If you have an opinion please comment or contact our writers via Twitter.

Nominee: Francis, Albert, and Alvin Wistert

Francis - "First of three Wistert brothers to earn All-American tackle honors at Michigan. With Chuck Bernard, he was one of chief reasons why 1933 Wolverine lines wore impregnable. Earned three baseball letters and was the Big Ten's most valuable in that sport in 1934. He also played professional baseball for Cincinnati and assisted on the Wolverine grid staff before entering the practice of law where he attained an outstanding position in industrial relations. Named to National Football Foundation Hall of Fame." - Bentley Historical Library

Albert - "Second of the famed Wisterts, the "Ox" as he was called, had one of his greatest days as Michigan defeated Notre Dame in a thrilling 1942 battle. Most Valuable Player for Michigan that year. Played in 1943 East-West game, then played nine years for the Philadelphia Eagles, starting and earning all-pro honors. Selected to the National Football Hall of Fame. Later he became a highly successful life insurance agent, and now lives in California." - Bentley Historical Library

Alvin - "The third of the All-American Wistert brothers was one of the oldest men ever to play college football at 32 after four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. His career was even more remarkable since he did not play high school athletics but worked as a salesman until World War II. He determined, however, to follow his brothers' footsteps and after a year at Boston University, he entered Michigan to win a defensive berth at age 31 in 1947, and then became an All-American in 1948 and 1949. He entered the insurance business and later became a successful manufacturer's representative." - Bentley Historical Library

Does  Francis, Albert, and Alvin Wistert  Deserve A Legends Patch?

Thomas Beindit - Yes

Typically, I don't like "unretiring" numbers, but this is one that I think would be best served as a Legends Patch.  The feat accomplished by these three players is simply astounding.  Three All-American players in one family?  They anchored Michigan's line for over 15 years.  Their first All-American status was in 1933 and the last was in 1949.  Between the three, they had a total of four All-American awards during that period.  I think it's safe to say no single family contributed more on the field for Michigan and that's something that deserves a special distinction.  I also think they could use the jersey in several interesting ways.  For instance, what if they gave it to players that were descendants or family of former Michigan players.  For instance, Troy Woolfolk was the son of Butch Woolfolk, a former Michigan running back.  If he did well, he could earn the jersey and continue on the family legacy at Michigan.  This is just one idea, but I think this is a perfect jersey for more to wear, especially because it was worn by multiple people originally.

Tyler Fenwick - No

I hate turning this one down, but I think most people will give too much weight to the fact that these three were brothers and all achieved similar accomplishments. There's no question these were great players for the University of Michigan, and they will always be remembered because they were brothers. As far as awarding them a Legends Patch, I don't think it's appropriate. When you look at any other nominee I passed through with a "yes", it was because they gave the Unviversity of Michigan something that almost can't be replaced on top of tremendous play on the field. Obviously, Alvin Wistert served in the military four years, which is incredible, but there was nothing else, other than great play on the field, he contributed directly to Michigan. Again, his story is great, but this would almost be like giving an athlete a Grammy because they broke the world record in the mile run. It's a great award and accomplishment, but they aren't related. 

Kyle Curtiss - Yes
I know about the history and lore of the Wistert brothers. There is no denying of the impact they've left at Michigan. I know these Legend Patch jersey gimmicks are only good for one home game, and I'm fine with that. To me, that signifies the credit we've given to each player, and the number behind it. Number 11 is just that more special considering it's basically being divided between three players, all brothers, all All-Americans. Yet, if you look at it closer and really see what the numbers are (never going to have huge numbers for an offensive lineman), then you'll see they were just pretty good players, individually. I understand why the number 11 was retired, and I won't argue that point because it is valid. But that number, that jersey, is symbolic of three men. So, in the end, we'll honor those three men  for a game. When it comes time to play Northwestern we'll cheer for them. I just hope they're not mostly forgotten again after one game.


All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with     their thoughts.

No comments:

Post a Comment