For Saturday’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History we take a couple trips, first back to 1994 when we retired the #48 jersey of President Gerald Ford, then down the dial to 1955 as the Wolverines took on Army in the premier match-up in the college football world.
This provided a great opportunity to remember the great Ron Kramer. On the gridiron the Michigan legend played offensive & defensive end, running back, quarterback, kicker, and receiver– sometimes all within the same game. Off the gridiron, Kramer was a 9-time letterman and set Michigan’s all-time scoring record on the hoops squad and he excelled in the high jump for the track team. Here’s more:
As always, this segment appears on 1050AM WTKA and 1330AM WTRX’s epic KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff prior to each game. During home games you can hear it live inside the Go Labatt Blue Light Victors Lounge starting 4 hours prior to kickoff. Go Blue!
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script after the jump:
October 8 is a special day in Meeechhigan football lore, as it was on this day in 1994 that the Big House welcomed someone even more famous than Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. 22 years ago today President Gerald Ford was honored and had his #48 retired. Ford played for the back-to-back national champion teams of 1932 and 1933, and was named MVP of the 1934 team.
October 8 also was the center of the college football world in 1955 as the #6 Cadets of Army took on Bennie Oosterbaan’s second-ranked Wolverines. To that point Michigan had yet to defeat the fabled squad from West Point in five previous tries.
Michigan would not be denied on this day exactly 61 years ago, as witnessed by the 97,000 who packed the Big House. Thanks in large part to Army’s acute case of fumbilitis, the Maize and Blue prevailed 26-2.
The cadets put the ball on the ground an amazing 9 times, with eight of those recovered by Michigan. An Army safety with 10 seconds to go prevented the shut-out.
The dominant win over Army was made even more surprising when you add that Michigan played nearly the entire game without All-American Ron Kramer, who was dinged up early in the game.
Kramer was the brand of athlete not seen in Ann Arbor since his coach, Bennie Oosterbaan, dazzled the athletic campus in the mid-1920s.
On the gridiron he played anywhere and everywhere including offensive & defensive end, running back, quarterback, kicker, and receiver, sometimes all within the same game. Off the gridiron, Kramer was a 9 time letterman and set Michigan’s all-time scoring record in basketball squad and he excelled in the high jump for the track team.
After leaving Michigan he served the Air Force and later joined the Green Bay Packers where he played tight end for Vince Lombardi. He was twice named All-Pro and won back-to-back titles with the Packers. While he had a fine pro football career, he is most fondly remembered for his days in Ann Arbor. Like Tom Harmon before him, Legendary equipment manager Henry Hatch retired of his #87 jersey number following his senior season.
Later Kramer continued a tradition of delivering apples to the U-M football locker room on Wednesdays during the season, and Bo Schembechler affectionately referred to him as “Kramer of Michigan”.
When Kramer passed away in September 2010, the entire Wolverine family mourned the passing of a true Michigan Man.
For more, check out WTKA.com and MVictors.com. For the Key Bank Countdown to Kick-off this is Greg Dooley.