Case School: The Evolving History

Sports, 1886-1900

This section is still under construction. For more information about varsity sports, see the University Archives website, Case, WRU, and CWRU Varsity Sports and Seasons, 1880-2000.


Due to the popularity of baseball at American colleges in the late nineteenth century, the baseball team in 1890 was the first varsity team at Case to receive uniforms funded by The Case Athletic Association. However, baseball never really caught on at Case, and the team dissolved shortly after World War I.


The first Case football game took place in 1887 when the Case freshman played a game against Central High School in Cleveland. Case lost 12-0.   In 1889, Case again played a game against Central High School in Cleveland, but this time they won 48-0.

Case joined intercollegiate varsity football in 1891 and the footbal rivalry with Western Researve teams started during that season. On Thanksgiving Day in 1894, a tradition was born when the freshman footbal team from Case played  and won 12-4 the game against the freshmen team from Western Reserve team. Humiliated by the loss of the freshman team, the upperclassmen at Reserve secured the services of a Harvard alumnus as a temporary football coach.  Four weeks later, the first football game between the varsity teams at Case and Reserve took place, and Reserve defeated Case 22-0. the Thanksgiving Game tradition lasted for 80 years.

In 1893, the Case football team became state champions when they defeated Oberlin 22-8. However, by 1895 the football season at Case was abandoned after two games because several players were ineligible to play, due to either injuries or academic status. The football season resumed in 1896, and Case went on to defeat Reserve in the Thanksgiving Day game.


In 1892, an undergraduate student David T. Croxton led the efforts to establish tennis as a sport at Case.


Track achieved varsity status at Case in 1896 when the first of several field days was held against Reserve.

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