Monday, September 13, 2010

R.I.P. - Ron Kramer


When I was a young boy of 8 or 10 years of age, just coming into an awareness of the greater world outside of the bosom of my family, one of those things of which I began to become aware was sports. And living in Ann Arbor, priority in that area went to college football and the mighty University of Michigan Wolverines—the Victors Valiant, the Champions of the West.

Michigan had an all-American football star in those days; his name was Ron Kramer. When I wrote a series of posts on my early heroes at this blog’s inception three years ago, Ron Kramer really should have been numero uno on my list.

Kramer was the BMOC in the mid-1950s in Ann Arbor. He loomed large on the gridiron, as well. They still played both ways in those days, and Kramer was as devastating to the opposition on defense as he was as an offensive end. After a stellar career at Michigan – where great pains were taken to keep him academically eligible, as I remember – Kramer went on to the NFL. He was an All-Pro tight end for the emergent, Bart Starr-led, Green Bay Packers.

I remember well watching the traditional Detroit Lion-Green Bay Packer Thanksgiving Day match-up, and Ron Kramer lumbering toward the Detroit goal line, cradling the pigskin in his great arms, with a hapless Lions defensive back draped around his neck like Superman’s cape.

Rest in peace, Ron Kramer – gridiron hero and Wolverine great.