Saturday, October 24, 2015

Playing For A Spitter

Michigan State and Indiana are battling for The Old Brass Spittoon:
In 1950 MSU football had just come off a 36-33 emotional victory over Notre Dame and were looking to avoid a letdown against Indiana the following week. Knowing this, junior class president Gene McDermott wanted to play his part in keeping the Spartans from falling trap to Indiana.
McDermott and class secretary Virginia O’Brien hit the town to find something that would rile up not only the football team but the student body heading into the Indiana matchup. Inspired by the Little Brown Jug, which University of Michigan and Minnesota play for, the two wandered into an antique shop in Lansing.
McDermott spotted the spittoon and thought it would be perfect for the rivalry. Inside the spittoon was a note that said the spittoon was in use during the 1800s at a trading post around what is now East Lansing. As the story goes, residents of both Michigan and Indiana would pass by the trading post and use the spittoon while hunting and fishing in Michigan, therefore becoming the basis for the reasoning behind the Old Brass Spittoon. The spittoon was cleaned up, and bought for $25 by McDermott.
However, for it to become a rivalry trophy, Indiana had to first accept the challenge of playing for it. McDermott sent a telegram to the Indiana Student Senate telling them about the new found trophy. Their reply?
“We the students of Indiana University hereby accept your challenge.”
The challenge had begun and the Old Brass Spittoon was born. Engraved on the outside of the spittoon are the words:
“ ‘The Old Brass Spittoon’ ”
Inaugurated by the students of
Michigan State College and Indiana University
November - 4 - 1950
Since then, Michigan State has kicked Indiana's ass to the tune of a 44-15-2 record.

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