Friday, April 10, 2009

1948 - Detroit Lions Stage Colorful Exhibition contest before 6,842 at Hackley Stadium

by James Henderson

The Detroit Lions, led into Hackley Field by Coach Alvin (Bo) McMillin, starting his first season at the helm of a professional machine, presented a colorful spectacle for 6,842 football fans last night.

The game, which didn't mean anything even to the Detroit coach except as a medium for testing recruits, was won by the regulars who will open the season for McMillin and Detroit, 21-0.

However, the large crowd of fans received many thrills during the full length intra-squad game. McMillin didn't spare his star players, while giving everyone on the bench at least a short period on the field.

The "Grays" struck twice through the air, on passes from end to outstanding recruits, and once on the ground, with a rough and ready regular of past seasons doing his stuff to the delight of the customers.

The Muskegon "M" Club led by Co-chairmen Al Bielinski and George (Shorty) Rojan, and President John (Smitty) Vanderplow, were pleased at the turnout, which means a good sum for the treasury of the club, to be used in promoting athletics for Muskegon High.
An interesting note about the Lions' 1948 season: According to a post on, the Motor City squad wore Scarlet and White uniforms during the season, substituting an all-Black uniform with white numbers combination for big games. Based on Henderson's article, it doesn't appear that the team sported this new color scheme during their visit to Muskegon.

After posting a 2-10 mark in '48, they returned to their traditional Honolulu Blue and Silver color scheme for home games and used the Scarlet and White jerseys on the road in 1949. After the two-year experiment, they returned to their traditional Honolulu Blue and Silver for all games.

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