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The Legend of Engine #13

While digging into the legend that is rapidly becoming the Lehigh/Colgate Rivalry, I was talking with 13 (who runs The 13 Yard Line, Colgate's blog), who wanted to start "Blog Bowl I". It's a cup for the annual winner of the Lehigh/Colgate rivalry, and I agreed with him that it was a great idea! However, the only thing that was missing was the historical link; something to bond the schools on this Halloween weekend forever.

After doing a little digging in the archives, I was able to find the following document, just recently unearthed in an old dusty attic somewhere in Hellertown, and transcribed onto the internet by a little-known website called (Don't bother looking for it - just recently it's been taken down to make way for a new website about superhighways.)

Here's an excerpt of this rare, rare document:

"On a cold November day in 1922, Engine #13 of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR arrived in Binghamton with a 2-2-1 Lehigh team ready to play a 3-2 Colgate team in the first-ever meeting with the two schools. Colgate students saw that as a sign that their Indians would be able to handle Lehigh's Engineers with no problem - 13 is Colgate's lucky number, as Colgate was founded by '13 Men with 13 dollars and 13 prayers'. Colgate did indeed demolish Lehigh in their first-ever meeting, 37-6, and there's many a Colgate fan at the time who said that it was the good fortune of Lehigh coming in on Engine #13 that gave Colgate the victory.

"Legend has it after Lehigh boarded the train to return to Bethlehem after their sound defeat, Engine #13 broke down pulling out of the station in its last-ever trip, causing the Engineers to stay in Binghamton in a fierce snowstorm an extra day before catching the next train home. Lehigh coach "Tom" Keady was rumored to have said that the experience on Engine #13 rattled the players so much that they lost to Bucknell and to hated Lafayette to close the year, not scoring a single point in both games.

As a result of this experience, Lehigh didn't play Colgate again until much later, in 1960. Coach "Bill" Leckonby is rumored to have insisted on taking a bus up to Hamilton to play Colgate, not wanting to repeat the cursed experience of riding the train up to Binghamton once again.

"Sometimes, in late October, folks living along the old DL&W line have heard strange noises along the tracks. Rumor has it that it's old "Engine #13", running up the tracks on its final journey to Colgate - or is it finally making its return from Hamilton, finally with a Lehigh win?

Thus, a rivalry, and the "Engine 13 Cup", is born. Should Lehigh win, my blog will be festooned with a new cup symbolizing this new rivalry. Let's hope "Engine 13" will be returning to Lehigh this year with a Lehigh victory.

P.S. Any resemblance of these characters to actual persons or events is purely coincidental! (Also, any resemblance of this "Engine 13 Cup" to England's "FA Cup Trophy" is purely coincidental too, by the way.)


Anonymous said…
Nice story on Engine 13. I hope the rivalry continues which, I think, it will. This game has become the one to watch over the years. Good luck, too bad you won't be taking the train. We'll take help anywhere we can get it.

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