June 24, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Ron Kramer!

Michgian Football Team 1956 | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Ron Kramer (#87) is pictured above with the 1956 Michigan Wolverine Football Team. He is standing in the middle of the second row. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today is a great day to remember the happy birthday anniversary of a Wolverine legend named Ron Kramer. Ronald John “Ron” Kramer was born on this day in 1935 in Girard, Kansas. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Kramer’s family moved to East Detroit, Michigan when he was five years old. Ron grew up to be an outstanding athlete at East Detroit High School. He earned all-state honors in football, basketball and track and field. When it came time to pick a college, Ron Kramer decided to become a Michigan Man. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ron Kramer arrived in Ann Arbor in 1953, but freshman could not play on the varsity in those days. So, he played on the freshman team and focused on getting ready for the future.

Ron Kramer TD catch 1954 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Ron Kramer burst onto the Michigan football scene with plays like this game winning TD vs Iowa in 1954. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Kramer was back on the Michigan Football Roster in 1954 and he was, in fact, ready to make an impact as a Wolverine. Ron started 9 games at left end and caught 23 passes for 303-yards and 2 touchdowns. He ran the ball 4 times for 17 yards. Kramer also punted and did some placekicking for the Maize and Blue. Oh, by the way, he was a force on the defensive side of the ball. I am certain that Ron Kramer slept well after every practice and every game in 1954. Kramer earned a letter and first team All-Big Ten recognition for his outstanding play in 1954. Yes, his Michigan football career was off to a very good start! Michigan finished with an overall record of 6 wins and 3 losses that year and posted a record of 5-2-0 in the Big Ten.

Ron Kramer’s junior year was not as productive as his sophomore season, but he still played very well on offense, defense and special teams. He started 6 more games and caught 12 more passes for 224-yards and 4 more touchdowns. Kramer led the Michigan team in scoring with 32 points. Once again, his all-around play earned him first team All-Big Ten honors. He was also named a consensus All-American in 1955. The Wolverines also had a strong season in 1955. Bennie Oosterbaan’s footballers won 7 games and lost 2. They finished third in the Big Ten Conference with a record of 5-2-0.

The talented Kramer returned for his senior season in 1956. The Wolverines posted another record of 7 wins and 2 losses and finished second in the Big Ten at 5-2-0. Ron Kramer started all 9 games at left end. He hauled in 18 more passes for 353-yards and scored two touchdowns. Once again, Kramer led the team in scoring with 36 points. Ron Kramer earned All-Big Ten recognition for the third consecutive season in 1956 and was also named a unanimous first-team All-American.

Ron Kramer finished his Michigan athletic career with 9 varsity letters. 3 each in football, basketball and track and field. He led the Michigan basketball team in scoring in his last two years. Kramer basically did it all at Michigan and he did it very well. Of course, his number was retired when he left the program in 1956.

Ron Kramer 1957 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Ron Kramer finished his UM career as a two-time All-American and a nine-time letterman (3X in football, basketball and track.) Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Ronald J. Kramer was a “one of a kind” player at Michigan. He was a force on offense, defense and special teams. He did a lot for the Wolverine football program and was the “first” to do some important things at Michigan:

·         I am 99% certain that Ron Kramer was the first Wolverine to block two punts in the same game. He accomplished this unique feat during a 33-7 victory over Michigan State on November 13, 1954.

·         Ron Kramer was the first Wolverine receiver to catch three touchdown passes in a game in 1955 against Missouri in 1955.

·         Kramer was the first “Michigan Man” to lead the football team and the basketball team in the same academic year in 1955-56. He did it again in 1956 and 1957.

·         Ron Kramer was also the first Michigan athlete to be drafted by the NFL (Green Bay packers) and the NBA (Detroit Pistons) in 1957.

·         Kramer was one of the first seven men to be inducted into the Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1978.

Sadly, Ron Kramer did on September 11, 2010 at the age of seventy-five. I could write an entire book about the great Ron Kramer, but I will shut it down right here. Bottom line, today is a great day to honor the 83rd birthday anniversary of Ron Kramer and appreciate his contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. May Ron Kramer always rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!

To read more about Ron Kramer please check out the links below:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Kramer

http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1956fbt.htm

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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