October 19 marks the final Homecoming football game at Floyd Casey Stadium, almost 63 years ago to the day that Baylor played its first Homecoming game at what was then known as Baylor Stadium.
On October 28, 1950, the Bears were hosting just the third game in their new stadium, following a pair of wins over Houston and Texas Tech, and only 37,000 of the total 49,000 seats in the stadium were completed at game time. (Note the construction in the background of the photo at right.)
That capacity was sufficient, however, to handle a then-record crowd of 34,000 that saw Larry Isbell (a future All-American) throw four touchdowns as Baylor upset 13th-ranked Texas A&M, 27-20. Today, legendary Texas football writer Dave Campbell, BA ’50, calls that Baylor’s best game of the 1950s.
But almost as notable, in the minds of many, were the hijinks leading up to the game. Sixteen A&M students conspired to break into Baylor’s Bear Pit and made off with the school’s two young bear mascots, Barney and Bailey, in an automobile. Within a few hours, Bailey was discovered trying to get back into his pen, and Barney was returned later “after scratching up the six Aggie Bandsmen in the raiding party.” The Aggies had wrapped Barney in burlap and taken him to College Station, where he was confined in a dorm room and “clawed his captors vigorously,” prompting his return to Waco.
Seven more Aggies spent a night in jail after they were caught painting unwelcome messages across Waco. They got as far as painting “Yea Aggies” on the sidewalk outside Pat Neff Hall, but only finished the first word (“Beat”) of a favorite phrase at the corner of 5th and Franklin downtown.
Baylor President W.R. White called the Aggie students’ pranks “just an expression of school spirit,” and told Baylor students, “The only kind of retaliation we want is that which will be shown on the scoreboard Saturday.” I’d say Baylor football got its revenge.
Sic ’em, Bears!
[This post relied heavily on Baylor Lariat reports from the week of October 28, 1950, now available online as part of the Baylor University's Texas Collection Digital Collections, and on this 2009 Baylor Homecoming history by Randy Fiedler.]