Before there was a Longhorn, there were…Dogs, Pigs, and Billy Goats?

A Dog Named Pig:

Texas’ 1st mascot, Pig, courtesy of Jim Nicar.

It is a little known fact that Bevo, the beloved longhorn, was not the first mascot of the University of Texas. From 1914-1923 it was actually a dog with an unusual name.

Pig Bellmont, brought to the University when he was a seven-week old puppy by UT’s first athletic director L. Theo Bellmont, was a tan and white pitbull mix. Pig was known to have free reign over the University campus from the steps of the tower to under the steps of the co-op, where he slept at night. He was an instant hit and was quickly voted the official “Varsity mascot” by the students in 1914. (The first Bevo was introduced in 1920 by the alumni, and rivals Texas A&M didn’t get their Collie mascot “Revellie” until 1931).

The dog got his namesake from the team’s center Gus “Pig” Dittmar after teammates noticed they both walked bowlegged when standing next to each other on the sidelines.

“Every morning, Pig greeted students and faculty on his daily rounds,” according to Jim Nicar, Director of the UT Heritage Society. “He frequented classrooms, and on cold days even visited the library (now Battle Hall). Pig regularly attended home and out-of-town athletic events, and it was said he would snarl at the slightest mention of Texas A&M.”

Pig's funeral procession, courtesy of Jim Nicar

On New Year’s day of 1923, Pig  was struck by a car at the  intersection of 24th and  Guadalupe streets and died a  few days later. The campus was  shaken deeply, and a few days  later, hundreds turned out to  pay their respects to his casket  in front of the Co-op. At 5 p.m.,  the funeral procession, led by  the Longhorn Band marched to the old Law Building, where the Graduate School of Business now stands. The Texas Cowboys served as Pig’s pallbearers, and upon his grave laid a sign with the epitaph: “Pig’s Dead…Dog Gone.”

The University went without a mascot until 1932, nine years after Pig’s death, when Bevo II was introduced and has been a staple ever since.
Clark’s Billy Goat Hill:

From 1927-1974, the University of Texas baseball team played in what many consider one of the most unique and charismatic baseball fields in America, Clark Field.

Not to be mistaken with the multi-sport site operated by RecSports located

Billy Goat Hill seen in center field

between 21st Street and San Jacinto Boulevard today, this was a different field entirely. Located between 23rd and Red River Streets (near the LBJ library), it was nestled into the natural hills and landscape of the area. It’s most distinctive feature was the 12- to 30-foot limestone cliff ran from left-center to center field, which made playing the outfield quite an adventure. Center field was nicknamed “Billy Goat Hill” because the cliff could only be accessed via a goat path in left-center.

Some Texas center fielders even opted to play on top the hill to keep the ball in front of them, with the cover of left and right fielders playing away from the lines. However one thing remained a constant for the nearly 50 years the Longhorns played there – opposing teams had a tough time figuring the “Billy Goat” out.

Famous American Souther writer and former Daily Texan Editor, Willie Morris, wrote about the field in his book “Always Stand in Against the Curve.”

Clark Field seen with the LBJ school of Public Affairs in the background

“Directly across the street from the football stadium had been the most lovely and harmonious baseball field in the United States, the most unusual baseball diamond I have to this day ever known. It was called Clark Field, and it had been carved out of the earth from the limestone all around it. Its roofed grandstand and bleachers had a patina of time, and its entire surroundings were touched with an unhurried grace that behooved the best and most complex of all American games. I loved this field, and it came to represent for me the most enduring spot on the whole campus of the University of Texas. Indeed, to me its became the best place in all this frenetic, pulsating state. . . . Was there a finer place in God’s creation to spend a placid afternoon in the sunshine with one’s favorite coed and one’s best pals from Breckenridge Hall, watching the Longhorns in their burnt-orange and white embarass the loathsome Texas Aggies?”

The field was eventually destroyed to make way for campus development in the area. In the 1975 season, the Longhorns opened their new home UFCU Disch-Falk Field, where they still play their home games today.

Advertisements

4 responses to “Before there was a Longhorn, there were…Dogs, Pigs, and Billy Goats?

  1. Both of these were great, I didn’t know about the Pit Bull mascot or Clark Field. Are there any remnants of Clark Field that remain? That’s really cool about the limestone wall…not sure that would be able to be done anymore though, it seems like it might be a bit dangerous.

  2. Wow, I didn’t know about the majority of these things. The pit bull mascot is the coolest! I think Bevo is a better fit for us now days but imagine if “Pig the Dog” was on all of our t-shirts, hats and backpacks! I don’t know if I would mind, he looks like a pretty cute dog and I like his background story.

  3. Pingback: Before there was a Longhorn, there were…Dogs, Pigs, and Billy Goats? (Burnt Orange Living) « Kyle Carpenter's Blog

  4. Pingback: Before the University of Texas “hooked ‘em” with Bevo, the longhorn… | Bronwen Dickey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s