Triangles Develop into Champions
In 1916, F. B. MacNab, a patent attorney for the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO), started organizing a recreational football team from among the employees of three downtown Dayton factories. The factories were DELCO, Dayton Metal Products Company (D.M.P. Co.) and Domestic Engineering Company (DECO, later called Delco-Light). These three factories were all founded by Edward Deeds and Charles Kettering and formed an industrial triangle of plants in downtown Dayton.
Rather than recruit a complete team from the factories, MacNab got together with Carl Storck to sponsor the Dayton Cadets football team and used players recruited from the three factories to fill out the team roster. Storck had played with the Stivers High School and Cadets football teams. Thus, DELCO, D.M.P. Co. and DECO became the team’s first players as well as corporate sponsors. The Dayton Cadets became the Dayton Triangles that year. Later the Dayton Wright Airplane Company, another Deeds and Kettering venture, became a fourth corporate sponsor.
Nelson “Bud” Talbott, a Walter Camp All-American tackle and team captain at Yale University (1913-15), was brought in as coach. Team manager was Mike Redelle, who arranged the team’s playing schedule, recruited new players, handled travel arrangements for road games, etc. The team’s first secretary-treasurer was A. O. Davison.
The Triangles’ team jerseys were royal blue, with the player’s number outlined by a white triangle on the back. Later on, the jerseys had a small white triangle on the front and plain white numbers on the back.
The Triangles opened the 1916 season at Westwood Field by defeating the Cincinnati Northerns, 72-0. The Triangles went 9-1 that first season, defeating teams from Cincinnati, Detroit, Toledo and Pittsburgh. The Canton Bulldogs, with star athlete Jim Thorpe, claimed the World’s Professional Football Championship after their win over the Massillon Tigers. The Triangles challenged the Bulldogs to a game on December 10, 1916, but the game was never played.
While the team continued to play their home games at Westwood Field in 1916, Edward Deeds and Charles Kettering, founders of the three companies sponsoring the football team, purchased a tract of land from the Edward Best estate. This land was to be a park for the City of Dayton. However, during this period, the area became a recreational park for the employees of all of Deed’s and Kettering’s companies. The park was located at the confluence of the Great Miami and Stillwater Rivers and the park had triangle shape. A committee appointed to select a name for the new park picked the name Triangle Park. It is also possible that the park was named for Deed’s and Kettering’s triangle of companies.
In May of 1917, the park opened, and that Fall, the Dayton Triangles football team started to use the area as their home field. The playing field was located on Ridge Avenue where Howell Baseball Field is today.
The first season at Triangle Park was particularly successful. The team went 6-0-2 that season. Their opponents were able to score in only two games; the totals for the season showed 188 points for the Triangles to 13 for their opponents.
With manager Mike Redelle enlisting in the Army during World War I in 1918, Carl Storck took over as team manager for the Triangles. During that 1918 season, the Triangles went 8-0-0, scoring 188 points to their opponents’ 9.
Their 1919 season’s record was 4-2-1 for the Triangles.
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