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Benjamin Edward Erb


He was born on 3rd December 1892 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of 10 children to John Erb and Rosa (nee Luedke), their families originated in Germany. He was educated at Stanford University between 1908 and 1912. He came from a family of Rugby players and had lived for many years and played rugby in Vancouver , British Columbia .


Above the Stanford Freshman Rugby XV 1908 with Ben Erb Captain (holding ball)


Above the Stanford Varsity Rugby XV 1908 with Ben Erb lying at front


Ben Erb in 1910




Above San Francisco Call, Volume 108, Number 70, 9 August 1910 ó Page 13




In May 1910 he toured New Zealand and Australia with the USA against club sides.


Above the All America side that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1910. 1 Phleager (University of California), 2 Dole (Stanford), 3 Horton (Stanford), 4 Minturn (Stanford), 5 Fitting (Stanford), 6 Erb (Stanford), 7 Roth (Stanford), 8 Watts (University of California), 9 Hardy (University of California), 10 Harris (University of California), 11 Kern (Stanford), 12 Swartz (University of California), 13 Prof. OíNeil (University of California), 14 Elliot (University of California), 15 D.Burbank (Manager), 16 j.Schaeffer (Coach), 17 Cheda (Stanford), 18 Brown (Stanford), 19 L.A.Wolff (A.G.Spalding & Bros.), 20 Pauley (University of California), 21 Morris (University of California), 22 Dwiggins (University of California), Sanborn (Stanford), Allen (University of California).


The results of that tour were

Played in Australia





18th June 1910

University of Sydney



22nd June 1910

University of Sydney



25th June 1910




27th June 1910




29th June  1910




2nd July 1910

University of Sydney



6th July 1910

Orange District



9th July 1910

Sydney Metropolitan Team




Played in New Zealand





16th July 1910




20th July 1910




23rd July 1910

Christ Church



27th July 1910




30th July 1910




3rd August 1910






Above (same photo as previous) which appeared in the San Francisco Call 14th May 1910. It said of Erb ďA first class hall-back. Good man to open the game; knows the tricks of the position thoroughly; good on defence and particularly tight corners.

Above US squad to Australia and New Zealand 1910. Back Row (L-R): J.Schaeffer (Coach), T.Sanborn, M.Harris, B.Kern, D.Hardy, E.Bennett, J.Fitting, B.Schwartz, B.Erb, Howe (Coach). Middle Row: F.Brown, C.Allen, K.Dole (Vice Captain), C.Cerf (Captain), G.Cheda, C.Pauly, R.Horton. Front Row: J.Dwiggins, E.Roth, L.M.Morris, L.Leavitt, A.Elliot.




Above four teams in 1910. USA (Winged Shields), Australia (Light Shirts), New Zealand (Dark Shirts, Silver Fern), New Zealand Natives (Dark Shirts)


Above San Francisco Call 14th August 1910


Above the San Francisco Call on 10th November 1910. Erb top row third from right.



Above the 1911 Stanford rugby side. Back Row (L-R): Baumgartner, Minturn, Cheda. Second Row: ?, Presley, Sundell, Smith, Brown, Arrell, Burbank, Seated: Mitchell, Thoburn, Dole (Captain), Erb, Frank. Front Row: Reeves, Harrigan, Geissler.



Erb captained Stanford in 1911-12 when they won 10 and lost 3 matches. It was during this season that Stanford played the University of California on 12th November 1910 in front of 23,000 people. Several thousand fans, unable to get tickets, attempted to scale the fence but were beaten back by police. When the final numbers were in, both teams split a record $45,000. Cal won 25-6.


Above Ben Erb at Stanford in 1912

Above the 1911-12 Stanford side with Erb captain (holding ball)


He played once for the USA at full-back on 16th November 1912 against Australia at Berkeley . Australia won 12-8. Erb scored a penalty goal and a conversion.


Above the USA side that played Australia in 1912. Back Row (L-R) Guerin (Olympic RFC) (not used), Robert Howe Fletcher (University of California) (not used), William Norris King (University of California), Chris Martin Momson (Santa Clara University), Karl Ludwig Schaupp (Stanford University), Frank Jacob Gard (Stanford University), James Lee Arrell (Olympic RFC), Warren L. Smith (Stanford University), Chester Arthur Allen (University of California), Eugene Francis Kern (Stanford University) (not used), Glasscock (Olympic RFC) (not used), Phillip Frederick Harrigan (Stanford University). Front Row: Charles Allphin Austin (Olympic RFC), Augustus Mudge Sanborn (Stanford University), Joseph Louis McKim (University of California), Stirling Benjamin Peart (University of California), Laird Monterey Morris (University of California) (Captain), Benjamin Edward Erb (Stanford University), Ralph Matthews Noble (Stanford University), Louis Cass (Stanford University) (not used) , Bertram Risling (Stanford University) (not used).



Erb playing for the USA against Australia in 1912


He was in the squad photo for the 1913 New Zealand match but didnít play.

Above the USA side that played New Zealand in 1913. Back Row (L-R): Daniel Brendon Carroll (Stanford University), Clark Lewis Boulware (not used) (Stanford University), Haley (not used) (Stanford University), William Pettigrew Darsie (Stanford University), Herbert Rowell Stolz (replacement) (Stanford University), Brant (?) or Flemming (not used) (?), Joseph C. Urban (Stanford University), A.Knowles (replacement) (?), Charles A. Austin (Olympic), G.Voight (Santa Clara University), Frank Jacob Gard (Captain) (Stanford University), Roland Roy Blase (Stanford University), William Norris King (University of California). Front Row: Forbes (not used) (?), Stirling Benjamin Peart ( University of California ), Joseph Louis McKim ( University of California ), G.Glasscock (Olympic), E.B.Hall ( Stanford University ), Benjamin Edward Erb (not used) ( Stanford University ), Louis Cass ( Stanford University ), Mowatt Merrill Mitchell (Los Angeles Athletic Club), Quill (not used) ( Santa Clara ), J.A.Ramage ( Santa Clara University ).


Above the 1913 Stanford University side. Ben Erb  no.16. 1 Maloney (Trainer), 2 Partridge, 3 Darsie, 4 Burbank (Manager), 5 Smith, 6 Gard. 7 Urban, 8 Corbett, 9 Harrigan, 10 Hall, 11 Presley (Coach), 12 Sanborn, 13 Schaupp, 14 Cass, 15 Kern, 16 Erb, 17 Dingley, 18 Risling, 19 Noble.


Above the 1914 Leland Stanford Junior University . 1. Watkins, 2. Blase, 3. Maloney, 4. Gard, 5. Clover, 6. Wilcox, 7. Urban, 8. Wines, 9. Austin , 10. Carroll, 11. Brown, 12. Lachmund, 13. Davidson, 14. Darsie, 15. Peck, 16. Andrews, 17. Erb, 18. Hall, 19. Reeves, 20. Tilton.


Above Ben Erb, seated third left, in the 1914 Stanford Soccer side

Above the Erb brothers at Stanford in 1914. Ben seated second right and Arin back row second left.


He was drafted into the USA Army at Lewis , Washington . At the time he was working at a Saw Mill in Onalaska Lumber Co. in Onalaska , Washington .


He died on 8th June 1988 at Novato , Marin , California .


© Patrick Casey, 2011
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