For 29 years, the large aluminum letters that spelled out “HOME OF THE 12TH MAN” along the student side of Kyle Field were a source of pride for members of the Texas A&M class of 1988.
Now, one year after the letters were replaced and updated, each of the letters (and numbers) are being auctioned off individually to raise money to support the school’s Memorial Student Center.
At four feet tall, the letters were a gift to the university in 1988, according to David Mendoza, one of the class agents of ’88. He said for members of his class, there has been a deep sense of identity wrapped in the letters, which nod to the university’s longstanding “12th Man” tradition.
“Back then, I don’t think that everyone realized how iconic it would be over the years,” Mendoza said. “It is hard to find a picture of Kyle Field without those letters appearing. So today is kind of a bittersweet end to that class gift, but ‘Home of the 12th Man’ is still everywhere.”
Mendoza said Monday afternoon that the precise origin of the idea that became the gift is unknown, though it was on the ballot for the class of 1987’s gift.
The underlined “TH” in 12th are being sold together, he said. The letters were taken down prior to the 2018 season.
Non-tax deductible bidding began Monday evening and will run through 6 p.m. Sept. 5.
The lettering, which was originally painted maroon, was repainted white before the 2006 season. The letters extended about 125 feet, Mendoza said.
According to a release, the original gift money was raised by the class of 1988 through events such as the Ring Dance, including the sale of T-shirts for those events.
“We’re trying to use the letters now for a positive purpose, so even though we’re sad to lose them, we’re happy that they’re being auctioned off for a good use,” Mendoza said.
To view or participate in the online auction, visit tx.ag/KyleLettersAuction.