Yellow vs. cardinal

Yesterday was Duck Day in Palo Alto — people dressed in yellow all over the place, on the occasion of a football game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Oregon Ducks (which Stanford won, 26-20). Yellow isn’t all that common a color choice for a sports team color (probably because it’s sunny rather than intense and threatening), but Oregon is really, really yellow.

From Wikipedia:

The Oregon Ducks refers to the sports teams of the University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon. The Oregon Ducks are part of the Pacific-12 Conference in the Division 1 of the NCAA. With eighteen varsity teams, the Oregon Ducks are best known for their football team and Track and Field program, which has helped to make Eugene be known as “Track Town, USA”. Oregon’s main rivalries are with the Oregon State Beavers (the Civil War) and the Washington Huskies.

Oregon teams were originally known as Webfoots, possibly as early as the 1890s. The Webfoots name originally applied to a group of fishermen from the coast of Massachusetts who had been heroes during the American Revolutionary War; their descendants had settled in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 19th century and the name stayed with them. A naming contest in 1926 won by Oregonian sports editor L. H. Gregory made the Webfoots name official, and a subsequent student vote in 1932 affirmed the nickname, chosen over other suggested nicknames such as Pioneers, Trappers, Lumberjacks, Wolves, and Yellow Jackets.

Ducks, with their webbed feet, began to be associated with the team in the 1920s, and live duck mascots were adopted to represent the team. Journalists, especially headline writers, also adopted the shorter Duck nickname, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that the image of Donald Duck, permitted via a handshake deal between Walt Disney and Oregon athletic director Leo Harris, cemented the image of the Duck as the school’s mascot. Both nicknames were still in use well into the 1970s.

You can find the Donald Duck images on the web; this is a more recent, more artistic version of the logo:

(Note: a major football game on a Thursday is a big hassle, because of traffic and parking. Much e-mail from Stanford saying, basically, STAY AWAY.)

One Response to “Yellow vs. cardinal”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    On Facebook, Terry Bartlett notes:

    The other reason yellow isn’t chosen much for sports teams is the association with cowardice. Even teams with yellow in the name (Yellow Jackets, for instance) choose a different color to go along with it. (see Georgia Tech).

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