November 8, 2000

From the Editor

A few months back Edgar "Geg" Buttenheim '44 mailed to PAW's office a copy of a program cover and a ticket from the 1930 Princeton-Yale football game. It was a nostalgic souvenir, but what was most remarkable was the price on the ticket: $5.

That's exactly the price fans pay for a game this year, 70 years later. If the cost of a ticket had kept up with inflation, a seat to watch the Tigers today in the new Princeton Stadium would be running in the neighborhood of $50.

But from PAW reports of that 1930 contest, the lucky holder of that ticket, Geg's sister Martha, got her money's worth that November day. The Yale

game was the last of an unimpressive season that saw Princeton start by beating a weak Amherst squad, then fall in succession to Brown, Cornell, and Navy before battling Chicago to a 0-0 tie. The Tigers again lost to Lehigh before facing off against the Elis.

The Yale match was head coach Bill Roper 1902's last game as coach after 17 years - years broken up by a one-year coaching stint at the University of Missouri; by a break to earn a law degree, serve in the Wilson administration, and become a Philadelphia councilman; and by the college football hiatus brought on by World War I - and his retirement was enough of an epochal event to merit two two-page tributes, including a long, thoughtful essay by legendary literature professor Christian Gauss.

Gauss's essay was followed by a five-page, breathless account of the game against Yale. Though Princeton lost, 10-7, Harpur Allen Gosnell '12 wrote, "A game was played in Palmer Stadium on November 15 which was without doubt one of the most astounding and soul-stirring in all Princeton-Yale football history. A Princeton team, beaten to pieces week after week ever since the opener, suddenly in the final crisis became a first-class football team." Before a delirious stadiumful, Princeton's defense held the superior Yale team to a single touchdown and a field goal, and the Tiger offense managed a touchdown and even threatened from as close as Yale's four-yard-line with a few minutes left, before being stopped on downs.

This year's game against Brown, played October 14, held echoes of that fall day 70 years ago. It wasn't the coach's last season, but his first. The house wasn't packed, but Princeton was a decided underdog. The Tigers thrilled their surprised fans with their inspired play and trounced the visitors, scoring more than 50 points for the first time since 1991 (or, as the freshman WPRB announcer put it, since he was in the third grade). And the seats were five bucks.