Here in the Bay Area, sports fans have been gearing up all week for this Saturday’s 111th installment of The Big Game, the annual football matchup between the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal.
This year’s tilt promises to be one of the most exciting in recent history, as Stanford needs a win to qualify for a postseason bowl game and Cal seeks to reclaim the Axe, the winner’s trophy, after losing it last year for the first time since 2001. The game will be held at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley and televised locally at 12:30 pm on KGO-TV (ABC).
If you’re an Old or Young Blue, bleed Cardinal Red, or just happen to be a Bay Area sports fan, you probably know all about the tradition and history, the great players involved, the memorable plays, and even the notorious Axe thefts. But whether you’re just curious to know what all the fuss is about or seek to relive some of the greatest football memories of all time, you’ll find the history of The Big Game and more in Michael Bradley’s Big Games: College Football’s Greatest Rivalries.
Here’s some of Bradley’s history of the Axe:
“The odd thing about this coveted object is that it began with no ties to football whatsoever. Before the 1899 Stanford-Cal baseball game, Stanford yell leader Billy Erb purchased the Axe (which had a 15-inch blade) to dramatize the school’s “Axe Yell.” Or at least that was his story. In 1930, E. F. Weisshaar told the Palo Alto Times that he bought the Axe for $3.50 from a San Francisco store. Not so, said Julius Peterson, who was the foreman of the Stanford forge at the turn of the century…”
Inside Big Games you can also read about Harvard-Yale, Miami-Florida State, Oklahoma-Texas, Notre Dame-Southern California, Georgia-Florida, Lafayette-Lehigh, Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, and Army-Navy. Look for it in our Nonfiction section at 796.3326 B.