Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Trivial Stub

This isn't exactly a shocking bit of news, but you can find some odd stuff for sale in eBay. Take this auction, for a ticket stub from a football game that was played 18 years ago; the 1988 Auburn-Alabama game.

The game itself was an unremarkable one. Auburn clinched its second straight SEC title by beating UAT 15-10, and the contest wasn't as close as the score. Bill Curry chalked up his ninth career loss to AU, on the way to a sterling 0-12 lifetime record against the Tigers. The only notable fact about that game today is that officially, it was the first "home and home" ticket split in the modern series. From 1948-1987, tickets to the season closer at Legion Field were split 50-50 between the two schools, at least on paper (Legion Field bondholders' tickets pushed the margin well over into UAT's favor). Since 1988, it's been a standard 90-10 split with the lion's share going to the home team. '88 was also the beginning of the end of the Iron Bowl at Legion Field. Auburn took its home games to Jordan-Hare Stadium beginning in 1989; UAT finally saw the light and abandoned deteriorating Legion Field by 2001.

The ticket, though, is kind of funny. It pictures UAT running back Bobby Humphrey, and is the only example I've seen of a ticket featuring an active player who didn't even dress out for that particular game. Humphrey suffered a season-ending injury early in 1988, and would never play for UAT again; he went pro at the end of the '88 season. He watched the game with his own picture on the ticket from the sidelines, in street clothes.

Humphrey's a good guy, incidentally. I met him completely by accident in the Memphis airport while we were writing "The Uncivil War," and he was as nice as he could be in agreeing to an on-the-spot interview for the book. He's more than made up for the troubles that dogged him during his pro career. He was the coach of Birmingham's arena league team for several years, and from what I gather he's a successful businessman these days.

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