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Auburn’s first national press?

Sports illustrated: An 1897 issue of Harpers Magazine features some of The Tigers earliest national press.
This article in an 1897 issue of Harper's Weekly likely represents Auburn's earliest national press coverage.

If Dr. George Petrie read the June 16, 1897 issue of Harper’s Weekly, he probably had to stop and pinch himself.

Because there, buried in the back, but stretched across almost the entire page, was a photo of the 1896 Auburn football team, including Coach John Heisman: a thousand words on Auburn football.

It was almost certainly Auburn’s first national press, and likely the result of Petrie’s tireless efforts.

According to Mike Jernigan’s recent biography of Auburn’s first football coach, Petrie, the father of the sport in Alabama, had actually asked Harper’s to cover Auburn’s first football game against Georgia in 1892. They declined but added “we would be glad to have you send… a line or two regarding your interstate football game,” and promised more coverage in the future.

Of course, if this quaint little blurb from the same issue represents their attitude toward southern football five years later … it’s no wonder that they were, as Jernigan puts it, less than accommodating at the time (click to enlarge):

Southerners: "...opposed to athletics."

Still, the yankees lived up their word, however slightly.

Anyone know anything about the “All-Alabama eleven?”

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