Ron Kramer’s passing a few weeks back prompted several nice tributes.    Many recalled his habit of bringing apples to the football team including Mark Snyder of the Freep [ed. I can't find the link!] who mentioned the tradition started before Kramer.

This caught the attention of Jean and Jerry Delay & for good reason.  After reading the piece they shot Snyder a note and Mark forwarded it my way (he knows this is my bag).   I thought I’d pass it along:

In the article you mentioned that Mr. Kramer continued a tradition which had begun with "an older man." I am pretty certain, as is my brother, that the older man you referred to was our father, Jay J. DeLay.

During Mr. Kramer’s student days, my father, who was President of Huron Valley National Bank(now Comerica-Ann Arbor), used to deliver crates of apples to the football players and to the Michigan Marching Band. My brother and I still have memories of the apple crates being tossed to the band members, who at that time, had seats in the stands. Huron Valley National Bank was known as "the apple bank." Apples were not only part of the bank’s logo; they were offered to all customers when they entered the bank’s lobby.

My father, who was passionate about Michigan football, and attended all home games until he died in 2004, at the age of 88, would have smiled had he seen your article. And he would have been very proud to know that Ron Kramer had carried on the tradition of giving apples to
the team.

Great stuff.  Now, is someone carrying on that tradition today? 

[Update 10/28:  Per James Dickson of A2.com and sometimes here, the tradition is indeed being carried on by a Mr. Gerald White and in fact, Mr. White visited the team today.  Great to hear!]

Related:
* Cool piece in the WSJ on apples

7 Comments

  1. I was in the band '96-'00 and can tell you that there never was a better apple than the ones enjoyed after halftime on a crisp fall afternoon in the Big House.

  2. The apple tradition is alive and well within the band. As far back as I can remember (my freshmen year) the band got apples in the third quarter. The apples were distributed by the band frat and sorority, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. They also gave apple to the opponent's band if they were present. It is a tradition within the Big Ten, in fact, to give apples to the other band, akin to playing each other's fight song.

    A few years back when I was president of KKY, I wondered why the funds for the apples were not on our books when someone informed me that the apples were paid for by a "generous donor". I never knew who this was though. The process involved the orchard being paid directly by the donor and then the orchard would drop the apples off at Revelli hall on Thursday. I guess this arrangement had been going on for a very long time.

    So long in fact, that the orchard only recently realized that they were not being paid for the apples anymore- for years in fact-, but had been still delivering them out of habit. I wonder if the donor was non-other than Ron Kramer. Maybe someone out there knows.

    KKY and TBS had to pay for the apples after that, but I think a new donor has stepped in to help. Can anyone confirm?

  3. Dear "Other Craig:" Very interesting piece! As a kid in the '70s, I was always aware of the apple tradition, but, unaware until now, of the history. It's stuff like the apples and the other fairly minor – but still significant – traditions, like the dogs Brandy and Whiskey chasing the ball on the field just prior to the second half, that bring back great memories of growing up in pre-Yuppie Ann Arbor, LOL. But here's a question: you referenced Big Ten traditions . . . are you saying in other conferences bands don't play opponents songs? Being a Big Ten alum, I just sort of figured everyone did it.

  4. Just realized . . . all this about the president of then-HVNB makes sense. The bank's logo featured an apple and there were almost always apples available in the lobbies of HVNB branches. Forgot all about that!

  5. Wasn't even aware of the apple tradition, so this is really cool! Also, having grown up in Georgia, I had also never heard of HVNB. Did a little searching and found that the AADL has a nice pic of the logo:
    http://www.aadl.org/gallery/pictureAnnArbor/a2sig