BHS Colors Red & White?!?!?!  
Thursday, November 21, 2002
By Ed Patenaude/ Webster
So I've Heard Column

While Green and White is a given in identifying Bartlett High School athletic teams, this wasn't the case when Walter "Chief" Kosnoski first played sports at the town high school.
BHS teams were spangled in red and white when he enrolled at the school in 1923, Mr. Kosnoski said some time ago when we briefly discussed BHS athletics. The color switch--red to green--took place after the 1926 Thanksgiving Day game between the red and white of Bartlett and the maroon and gray of Wells High.
"There was a thaw and the field became muddy," Mr. Kosnoski, now 94, remembered. "Guys on both teams went sliding all over the place." He was a senior and the BHS fullback. "The fans couldn't tell the players apart."
The Turkey Day clash was at Marcustry Park, now the Webster Little League complex off Lake Street. Southbridge High School, known for many years as Mary E. Wells High, changed its name but it retained its school colors.
Bartlett won the 1926 game, 25 to 7. Wells High played its home games at Gibralter Field, Mr. Kosnoski recalled. The field was somewhere near the Globe Village section of Southbridge, he believed.
Circumstances prevented a follow up with Mr. Kosnoski so I settled for a bit of research.
The weather was fair but, as Bartlett's starting fullback recalled, there had been a thaw and the thunder of cleats turned parts of the field into soft, sticky earth. Mud caked most of the uniforms on both teams as the game wore on, making gray indistinguishable from white, and mud splattered red wasn't that much different from mud splattered maroon.
The muddy session apparently caused some concerns in Southbridge, but it was the kids at BHS that agitated for change, pressing their case through a student government group. Bartlett's red was but a couple of shades from Wells' maroon, they said. Besides, another opponent, Northbridge, wore similar colors.
The school's athletic council authorized a student survey. The teen-aged board narrowed choices to Dartmouth green and white, black and white, and crimson and black. Slips of paper were distributed in homerooms the morning of Dec. 13, 1926. Students penciled their selections, and folded the papers. The votes were collected and brought to the office of Principal James A. Lobban.
Student council officers and others prepared to count the ballots but so many of them wound up green and white through the segregation process that the choice was obvious. No count was made.
Although they promised to implement the decision, the school's athletic council, with four school officers and three alumni, delayed formal acceptance, procrastinating because they had an eye vote, size of the suggested color pile, as opposed to an actual counted number.
While the council's internal debate delayed the switch a couple of weeks, formal approval was given Jan. 15, 1927, and Bartlett's basketball team came out with green and white striped jerseys before the season was over. A three sports star, Mr. Kosnoski said he had a photograph of the first hoop team to wear green and white. The stripes ran north-south, up and down the game jerseys, he said.
The BHS baseball team, with Captain Walter Kosnoski at first base, played its opening game April 26, 1927 against South High of Worcester, furnished with green and white caps. Chairman John E. Goggin of the Board of Selectmen threw out the first ball, and Chairman Herbert C. Branch represented the School Committee. Mr. Kosnoski, known for his many years of service to town teams, the Webster Little League and its umpiring crew, has always followed Bartlett sports.
He tabbed Leo Biron, the retired Shepherd Hill Regional High School teacher-coach, as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play for the Green and White. Mr. Kosnoski's observation, made some time ago, has been confirmed. Mr. Biron was in the first Bartlett High Scho
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Telegram & Gazette

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