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A Nod to History

Definitely better than Otto the Orange.
As any reader can plainly see, this notebook has received a mild face-lift following some unintended consequences occurring yesterday afternoon. After brief deliberation weighing the pros and cons of changing the format of the blog, I have decided to leave things as they are currently.

If you should happen to notice any problems with the appearance of the material (tables are misaligned, links are broken, etc.), please leave a note either in the comments or in a brief email message.

As for some of the specific changes, I am leaving the new header graphic as is. It is an interesting reminder that Syracuse did, at one time, have a kickass mascot, even if the mascot was unredeemingly hostile and derogatory.

The story of the Saltine Warrior is an interesting one and probably requires a background briefing to the uninitiated:
In 1931, a Native American warrior known as the "Saltine Warrior" became the athletic mascot. The name derived from an article describing an archaeological dig on campus uncovering the artifacts of a Native American warrior. The warrior was called the "Saltine Warrior" because of the abundant salt deposits in the Syracuse, New York area. The article was later revealed to be a hoax in The Syracuse Orange Peel, but the mascot remained until 1978 when banned by the University.

In the mid-1950's, the father of a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brother owned a cheerleading camp. He made a Saltine Warrior costume for his son to wear at SU football games. Thus began a nearly forty-year tradition of Lambda Chi brothers serving as SU's mascot. In 1990 however the University opened up the mascot traditions to the entire student body (Daily Orange, February 22, 1990).

In 1978, the members of a Native American student organization headed a protest against using the Saltine Warrior as an athletic mascot. Onondagan Chief Oren Lyons, a 1958 alumnus and former SU lacrosse star, explained that it's "all in the presentation . . . The thing that offended me when I was there was that guy running around like a nut. That's derogatory" (Daily Orange, March 23, 1976, p.5). The Saltine Warrior was subsequently sidelined and a contest for a successor ensued (Daily Orange, February 12, 1978).
Out of respect for Chief Bill Orange, the Class of 1951 commissioned the erection of a statute commemorating the fake Onondagan:
In 1951, the Senior Class commissioned a statue of the Saltine Warrior to be placed near the "discovery site." The students of the famous Croatian sculptor and SU faculty member, Ivan Mestrovic, competed for the honor. The winner was Louise Kaisch who arranged for a member of the Onondaga Nation to pose for her statue. The Saltine Warrior, cast in bronze, was moved several times, at last finding a resting place on the south-east corner of the quadrangle, next to the Shaffer Art Building.
And now there is Otto, the laughingstock of the college football planet.

In addition to the mascot proper, there have been a couple of songs dedicated to Bill Orange and the Saltine Warrior. They are currently exitinct, but are badass nonetheless:

Bill Orange

Bill Orange is upon the sidelines
With a megaphone and flag in hand.
He leads the crowd to cheer like demons,
All up and down the old grandstand;
And as the ball is moving goal-ward
Each yard that's gained he's marking well
It's worth while to play for Old Bill Orange
For win or lose you'll always hear him yell:
"Get in the game to win, boys,
Ev'ry blessed mother's son of you;
Stand firm along the line,boys,
Watch the ball, this time it's going through.
Last night the sun set orange,
Omen ever sure and true,
Get in the game and win , boys,
Old Syracuse, she calls to you!"

The Saltine Warrior

In the days of old, when knights were bold
Every city had its warrior man.
In the days of new, when fights are few
You will view them from a big grandstand.
In our college town one has great renown
If the game of football he should play.
With his pig-skin ball he is cheered by all,
He's the Saltine Warrior of today.

The Saltine Warrior is a bold, bad man,
And his weapon is a pigskin ball,
When on the field he takes a good, firm stand,
He's the hero of large and small.
He will rush toward the goal with might and main
His opponents all fight, but they fight in vain,
Because the Saltine Warrior is a bold, bad man,
And victorious over all.

3 Responses to “A Nod to History”

  1. # Anonymous Dave Pearson

    I could be wrong on this, but I think the Saltine Warrior was moved liked 2 years ago to the middle of the orange grove. I can't remember cause I'm always either too drunk or angry walking through the quad to or from an SU game in the dome to notice.  

  2. # Blogger Matt Glaude

    So, basically, Syracuse chooses to emphasize the derogatory nature of its previous mascots by moving it to the most prominent place on the Quad while simultaneously implementing political correctness by changing the Syracuse moniker from Orangemen to Orange.

    Makes sense to me.  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    All in Favor of going back to being the Saltine Warriors say Aye. Something a little more threatening than fruit would help all SU athletics, especially in recruiting. I have lived in Syracuse my whole life and its always amazed me how we even compete athletically and recruit at all by convincing high school seniors to become Central New York Citrus.  

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