One of the things I have done in my Major League Baseball Research is track down 19thcentury players to learn their complete names, so I decided to see if I could track down this player, listed by only one name. The player at issue is called “Morse”. He is listed as an 1894 back-up QB. I have checked every record of a “Morse” who was enrolled as an ND student in the 19th Century and none would fit this time frame.
The SCHOLASTIC was no help because they used no first names in the football box scores. They referred to “Morse” as both a Left Tackle and QB. Recently, I learned from Angela Kindig, in Notre Dame Archives, that “Morse” was actually a nickname for James L.D. Morrison. Morrison was not an ND student; he was the Head Coach. In fact, he was ND’s first Head Coach. Morrison had been a back-up left tackle on the 1893 University of Michigan Football Team. In their media guide, he is listed as from Morrisonville, Illinois, so we can add this to the Morrison entry in our media guide. (I’m only speculating, but I am in the process of checking, but ND’s first Head Coach may have been a descendent of James Morrison, the founder of the town where he was from.)
Prior to the hiring of Morrison, the Irish Captain functioned as the Head Coach. The rules were not quite as strict in those pre-NCAA days. Morrison was not the last ND Head Coach who played for the Irish. Frank Hering played QB for the 1896 Irish. He was also the Head Coach and a student.
Incidentally, the SCHOLASTIC has the heights and weights of the players on the 1894 team. This lineup, written up after the season, is slightly different from the first teamers listed in the Media Guide:
LE Edward E. Brennan 5’9, 160
LT Jacob Rosenthal 5/11, 226
LG George Anson 6’, 188
C Abraham Chidester 6’ 1 ½, 200
RG Dan Casey 5’11 ½, 165
RT Sidney Corby 5’10, 165
RE Charles Zeitler 5’9, 163
QB Nicholas Dinkle 5’11 ½, 170
LH Clarence Corry 5’8, 160
RH Frank Keough 5’8, 138
FB John Dempsey 5’11 ½, 160
In the Michigan Media Guide, Morrison is listed as 5’11, 170.