Ronald John Kramer (June 24, 1935 – September 11, 2010) was a multi-sport college athlete and professional American football player.
Kramer attended the University of Michigan from 1953 to 1957, winning a total of nine varsity letters in football, basketball, and track. Playing at left end for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1954 to 1956, he was selected as a consensus first-team All-American in 1955 and a unanimous first-team All-American in 1956. His jersey (#87) was retired after Kramer's senior year, and he was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1978.
Kramer was selected by the Green Bay Packers as the fourth pick in the 1957 NFL Draft and played for the Packers for seven seasons (1957, 1959–1964). He was a key player on coach Vince Lombardi's first NFL championship teams in 1961 and 1962. Kramer was selected as a first-team All-NFL player in 1962 after catching 37 passes for 555 yards and seven touchdowns. He also played three seasons for the Detroit Lions from 1965 to 1967.
|No. 87, 88|
|Born:||June 24, 1935|
|Died:||September 11, 2010 (aged 75)|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||234 lb (106 kg)|
|High school:||East Detroit (MI)|
|NFL Draft:||1957 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Born in Girard, Kansas, Kramer moved to East Detroit, Michigan (now Eastpointe) at age five. He attended East Detroit High School where he was an all-state player in football, basketball and track in high school. He competed in the shot put and long jump in track. In December 1952, Kramer was named as an end on the United Press All-Michigan football team.
Kramer enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1953. He was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, and track) and led both the football and basketball teams in scoring for two years. Altogether, Kramer won a total of nine varsity letters in his three sports — the maximum number possible, as freshmen did not have athletic eligibility at the time.
As a 19-year-old sophomore, Kramer started all nine games at left end for the 1954 team that finished the season ranked #15 in the final AP Poll. He was the leading receiver for the Wolverines with 23 catches for 303 yards and two touchdowns. At the end of the 1954 season, he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player.
As a junior in 1955, Kramer started six games at left end and Michigan finished twelfth in the final AP Poll. Kramer set a Michigan record with three touchdown passes in a game against Missouri in 1955. For the season as a whole, he caught 12 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns, and he was selected as a consensus first-team end on the 1955 College Football All-America Team.
Kramer had his best collegiate season as a senior, starting all nine games in 1956 and the Wolverines ended at seventh in the final AP Poll. Kramer caught 18 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns in 1956. At the end of the season, Kramer was an onsensus first-team All-American.
Following Kramer's senior year, Michigan retired his jersey number 87 -- one of only five numbers in school history to be retired. In three years at Michigan, Kramer caught 53 passes for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also known as an outstanding tackler and blocker. Bennie Oosterbaan, Kramer's football coach at Michigan, described his blocking and tackling ability as his most valuable asset. Oosterbaan said this of his star player:
"To top off his marvelous physical gifts of size and speed and strength, plus an uncanny coordination, Kramer was one of the fiercest competitors I've ever seen. Nothing was impossible for him — the impossible was only a challenge."
Kramer also handled kicking and punting duties for Michigan. He handled 31 punts for a 40.6 yard average, kicked two field goals, and successfully converted 43 of 51 extra point attempts.
Kramer also excelled in basketball. He played at the center position and was selected as the basketball team's most valuable player as a junior. As basketball team captain, he was third-team All-Big Ten in 1957 after being second-team All-Big Ten in both 1955 and 1956. During his junior year, he averaged 20.4 points per game over a 22-game season and is a member of the career 1,000-point club. He held the Michigan career scoring record of 1,119 points from 1957 until it was broken by John Tidwell in 1961. He was a fifth round pick in the 1957 NBA draft (34th overall), selected by the Detroit Pistons.
Kramer was a two-sport professional athlete. He played in the Midwest Professional Basketball League for two seasons. Kramer played for the Battle Creek Warriors in 1961-1962, alongside former Michigan teammates M.C. Burton and John Tidwell.  He and Burton then played for the Toledo Tartans in 1962-1963.
Kramer was the fourth overall selection in the 1957 NFL Draft, picked by the Green Bay Packers. Kramer also received an offer in February 1957 to play with the all-star basketball team that toured with the Harlem Globetrotters; he rejected the offer to play professional football. As a rookie for the Packers in 1957, Kramer appeared in 11 games and caught 28 passes for 337 yards. He missed the entire 1958 season due to service in the U.S. Air Force, and the Packers had the worst record in the league at 1–10–1.
Kramer returned to the Packers in 1959, but caught no passes that year and only four passes during the 1960 season. Teammate Paul Hornung later described Kramer's evolution after Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959:
"[O]ne real special case was Ron Kramer. He came to us, Ron did, with an I-don't-give-a-damn attitude. He had great ability and great confidence in it but he just didn't use it. For a long time, he wasn't able to do the job. Vince got on (him) something terrible. He never let up and then one day, after nearly two years of that I guess, things just went click, click, click and Ron Kramer became a magnificent football player."
Kramer reached his stride after moving to the tight end position during the 1961 season; that year, Kramer had 35 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns. In 1962, Kramer caught 37 passes for 555 yards and seven touchdowns and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl and as a first-team All-Pro player. From 1961 to 1964, Kramer had at least 500 receiving yards every season, averaging 16 yards per reception. He became an integral part of Vince Lombardi's 1961 and 1962 teams that won the Packers' first NFL championships since 1944. In the 1961 NFL Championship Game, a 37-0 win for the Packer over the New York Giants, Kramer was the leading receiver, catching four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to his talent as a receiver, Kramer's talent as a blocker was an integral part of the famed "Packer sweep."
Kramer played out his contract option with the Packers and, as a free agent, signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions in August 1965. The Lions were required to compensate the Packers with a first-round draft choice in 1966. Kramer had asked to be traded to the Lions so he could be closer to his wife and children. Teammate Jerry Kramer recalled, "He asked Coach Lombardi to trade him because he was trying to save his marriage."
Kramer played three seasons for the Lions at the tight end position from 1965 to 1967. He appeared in 39 games for the Lions, 13 as a starter. In his first two seasons with the Lions, Kramer caught 55 passes for 638 yards and a touchdown. During the 1967 season, Kramer was slowed by injuries and caught only four passes for 40 yards in 11 games.
In July 1968, the Lions gave Kramer his unconditional release. Three weeks later, Kramer announced that, despite receiving offers to play for several other teams, he was resigning from football to assume a position as vice president of Paragon Steel Corp. in Detroit. Kramer later described his years with the Lions as "awful" and called head coach Harry Gilmer "the dumbest guy I ever met."
In 10 NFL seasons, Kramer appeared in 128 games and totaled 229 receptions for 3,272 yards and 16 touchdowns. Out of his 16 career touchdown catches, 15 came in a three-year stretch from 1961 to 1963.
After retiring as a football player, Kramer went into the steel business. In 1969, he was hired as a vice president of Paragon Steel Corp. of Detroit. He spent 22 years at Paragon before establishing Ron Kramer Industries in 1981, a company which is still in business today. He had two children, Kurtis Kramer and Cassandra Koehler.
Kramer received numerous honors and awards, including the following:
Kramer died in September 2010 at age 75.
On September 15, 2012, Kramer was recognized as a Michigan Football Legend and his jersey (#87) was unretired and given to Brandon Moore. Each player honored with the No. 87 jersey will wear a patch over the left upper chest honoring Kramer, and dress at a locker labeled with a plaque bearing his name and time of tenure at Michigan.
The 1954 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season. In its seventh year under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan compiled a 6–3 record (5–2 against conference opponents), tied for second place in the Big Ten, outscored opponents by a combined total of 139 to 87, and was ranked No. 15 in the final AP and Coaches Polls.Left guard Ted Cachey was the team captain, and fullback Fred Baer received the team's most valuable player award,Two Michigan players received All-American honors: left end Ron Kramer was selected as a first-team All-American by the Central Press Association, and left tackle Art Walker received first-team honors from the All-America Board and the Football Writers Association of America.The team's statistical leaders included quarterback Jim Maddock with 293 passing yards, Fred Baer with 439 rushing yards, and Ron Kramer with 303 receiving yards.1954–55 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team
The 1954–55 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate basketball during the 1954–55 season. The team finished the season in a tie for 6th place in the Big Ten Conference with an overall record of 11–11 and 5–9 against conference opponents.William Perigo was in his third year as the team's head coach. Sophomore Ron Kramer was the team's leading scorer with 352 points in 22 games for an average of 16.0 points per game. Paul Groffsky was the team captain. Two members of the team went on to play as a professional in sports other than basketball. Kramer played in the National Football League, and Don Eaddy played Major League Baseball.1955 Big Ten Conference football season
The 1955 Big Ten Conference football season was the 60th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1955 college football season.
The 1955 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, won the Big Ten football championship with a record of 7–2 and was ranked No. 5 in the final AP Poll. Halfback Howard Cassady was a consensus first-team All-American and won both the 1955 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the most valuable player in the Big Ten.
The 1955 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Duffy Daugherty, compiled a 9–1 record, defeated UCLA in the 1956 Rose Bowl, and was ranked No. 2 behind Oklahoma in the final AP Poll. Quarterback Earl Morrall was a consensus first-team All-American and was the first Big Ten player selected in the 1956 NFL Draft with the second overall pick. Tackle Norm Masters was also a first-team All-American.
The 1955 Michigan Wolverines football team, under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, compiled a 7–2 record and was ranked No. 12 in the final AP Poll. In the second week of the season, the Wolverines defeated Michigan State, the Spartans' only loss of the season. The Wolverines rose to No. 1 in the AP Poll after defeating Army (ranked No. 6), but after starting the season 6-0, Michigan lost to Illinois on November 5, 1955. End Ron Kramer was a consensus first-team All-American.
Iowa guard Cal Jones won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. He was the first Big Ten player to receive the award.1955 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1955 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1955 Big Ten Conference football season. In their eighth season under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, the Wolverines finished in third place in the Big Ten Conference with a record of 7–2. The team was ranked No. 12 and No. 13 in the final AP and UPI Polls. Left end Ron Kramer was selected as a first-team All-American. Kramer and right end Tom Maentz were nicknamed the "touchdown twins," became the first Michigan football players to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and were both first-team selections for the All-Big Ten team. Left halfback Terry Barr was selected as the team's most valuable player.In the second week of the season, the Wolverines defeated Michigan State, 14–7. The game was the only loss of the season for Michigan State which was ranked No. 2 in the final AP and UPI polls. The Wolverines were ranked No. 2 in the country after defeating the Spartans and rose to No. 1 after defeating the No. 6 ranked Army football team by a 26–2 score the following week. In late October 1955, quarterback Jim Maddock led a come-from-behind victory in a nationally televised game that included a 65-yard touchdown pass to Ron Kramer and a 60-yard touchdown pass to Tom Maentz. After starting the season 6-0, the team lost to Illinois on November 5, 1955. In the final game of the season, the Wolverines were favored but lost to Ohio State by a 17–0 score.1955–56 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team
The 1955–56 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate basketball during the 1955–56 season. The team finished the season in a tie for eighth place in the Big Ten Conference with an overall record of 9–13 and 4–10 against conference opponents.William Perigo was in his fourth year as the team's head coach. Junior Ron Kramer was the team's leading scorer with 448 points in 22 games for an average of 20.3 points per game. Tom Jorgensen was the team captain.1956 Big Ten Conference football season
The 1956 Big Ten Conference football season was the 61st season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1956 NCAA University Division football season.
The 1956 Iowa Hawkeyes football team, under head coach Forest Evashevski, won the Big Ten championship, compiled a 9–1 record, led the Big Ten in scoring defense (8.4 points allowed per game), was ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll and in the Coaches Poll, and defeated Oregon State, 35–19, in the 1957 Rose Bowl. Quarterback Ken Ploen received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the Big Ten and was also named the most valuable player in the Rose Bowl.
The 1956 Michigan Wolverines football team, under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, compiled a 7–2 record, handed Iowa its only defeat, and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. End Ron Kramer was a consensus first-team All-American and was the first Big Ten player selected, with the fourth overall pick, in the 1957 NFL Draft. Guard Dick Hill was selected as the team's most valuable player.
The 1956 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Duffy Daugherty, compiled a 7–2 record, was ranked No. 9 in the final AP Poll, and led the Big Ten in scoring offense with an average of 26.6 points scored per game. James Hinsley was selected as the team's most valuable player.
In the final AP Poll, five Big Ten teams finished in the top 15: Iowa (#1); Michigan (#7); Michigan State (#9); Minnesota (#12); and Ohio State (#15). The conference's individual statistical leaders included Purdue quarterback Len Dawson with 856 passing yards, Purdue halfback Melvin Dillard with 873 rushing yards, and Indiana end Brad Bomba with 407 receiving yards. Ohio State guard Jim Parker won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football.1956 College Football All-America Team
The 1956 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1956. The seven selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1956 season are (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (2) the Associated Press (AP), (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (4) the International News Service (INS), (5) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (6) the Sporting News (SN), and (8) the United Press (UP).1956 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1956 Michigan Wolverines football team was an American football team that represented the University of Michigan in the 1956 Big Ten Conference football season. In their ninth year under head coach was Bennie Oosterbaan, the Wolverines compiled a 7-2 record (5-2 Big Ten), outscored opponents 233 to 123, and finished the season in second place in the Big Ten Conference and ranked #7 in the final 1956 AP poll. The team played five of its nine games against ranked opponents, losing to #2 Michigan State by a 9-0 score and #15 Minnesota by a 20-7 score, but defeating #15 Army by a 48-14 score, #7 Iowa by a 17-14 score, and #12 Ohio State by a 19-0 score.
End Ron Kramer was selected as a consensus All-American and a first team All-Big Ten player. Guard Dick Hill was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player and was named by the Associated Press (AP) as a first-team All-Big Ten player. Halfback Terry Barr averaged 6.1 yards per carry rushing and 19.7 yards per punt return and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player by the United Press (UP).1956–57 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team
The 1956–57 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1956–57 NCAA University Division men's basketball season. The team played its home games at Fielding H. Yost Field House (renamed Yost Ice Arena in 1973) on the school's campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Under the direction of head coach William Perigo, the team finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten Conference.Future College Football Hall of Famer Ron Kramer established the school career scoring record with 1,119. The record last until 1961, when John Tidwell totaled 1386. Kramer served as team captain and earned team MVP for the third year in a row.1957 Green Bay Packers season
The 1957 Green Bay Packers season was their 39th season overall and their 37th season in the National Football League. After an opening win, the club posted a 3–9 record under fourth-year head coach Lisle Blackbourn and finished last in the Western Conference. It was Blackbourn's final season at Green Bay, who was replaced by Ray McLean in January 1958 for just one year, succeeded by Vince Lombardi in 1959.
The 1957 season also marked the Packers' move from City Stadium to new City Stadium, which was opened with a win over the Chicago Bears in week one on September 29. It was renamed Lambeau Field in August 1965 in memory of Packers founder, player, and long-time head coach, Curly Lambeau, who had died two months earlier.1958 Green Bay Packers season
The 1958 Green Bay Packers season was their 40th season overall and their 38th season in the National Football League. The club posted a 1–10–1 record under first-year head coach Ray McLean for a last-place finish in the league in 1958 and the worst record ever posted by a Packers team.
In the immortal words of New York sportswriter and Green Bay native Red Smith: "they overwhelmed one opponent, under-whelmed ten, and whelmed one." The tie came in week two and the three-point win in week five; during the seven-game losing streak to end the season the Packers lost by an average margin of over 22 points and got no closer than ten. The Packers finished 1958 allowing a league-worst 382 points in the 12-game season (31.8 points per game).
McLean was the top assistant on the coaching staff in 1957 and was given a one-year contract as head coach after Lisle Blackbourn was fired in early January 1958 with a year remaining ($25,000) on a five-year contract. Following the final game of the 1958 season, McLean resigned on December 17, which paved the way for the historic hiring of Vince Lombardi in January 1959.The underachieving 1958 team was loaded with talent, with future hall of famers Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, and Jerry Kramer, as well as future All-Pros Ron Kramer, Max McGee, Bill Forester, and Dan Currie.1961 NFL Championship Game
The 1961 National Football League Championship Game was the 29th title game. It was played at "New" City Stadium, later known as Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, Wisconsin on December 31, with an attendance of 39,029.The game was a match-up of the Eastern Conference champion New York Giants (10–3–1) and the Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers (11–3). The home team Packers were a 3⅓-point favorite.Packers Ray Nitschke, Boyd Dowler, and Paul Hornung, were on leave from the U.S. Army. Hornung scored 19 points (a touchdown, three field goals, and four extra points) for the Packers and was named the MVP of the game, and awarded a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from Sport magazine.The victory was the first of five NFL titles won in a seven-season span by the Packers and their head coach, Vince Lombardi. It was the Packers' seventh league title and their first in 17 years.Bob Ufer
Robert Pormann Ufer (April 1, 1920 – October 26, 1981) was an American track and field athlete and radio broadcaster. As an athlete, he set the world indoor record of 48.1 seconds in the indoor 440-yard (quarter mile) run and was selected as an All-American in 1943. As a broadcaster, he served as the lead broadcaster for the Michigan Wolverines football team for 36 years, starting in 1945. He was in the first group inducted in 1978 into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor along with Gerald Ford, Bill Freehan, Tom Harmon, Ron Kramer, Bennie Oosterbaan, and Cazzie Russell.Don Chandler
Donald Gene "Babe" Chandler (September 5, 1934 – August 11, 2011) was a professional American football player who was a punter and placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons in the 1950s and 1960s. Chandler played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Oosterbaan years
The History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Oosterbaan years covers the history of the University of Michigan Wolverines football program during the period from the promotion of Bennie Oosterbaan as head coach in 1948 through his firing after the 1958 season. Michigan was a member of the Big Ten Conference during the Oosterbaan years and played its home games at Michigan Stadium.
During the 11 years in which Oosterbaan served as head football coach, Michigan compiled a record of 63–33–4 (.650). In Oosterbaan's first year as head coach, the 1948 team compiled a perfect 9–0 and won a national championship. The team won Big Ten Conference championships in each of Oosterbaan's first three years as head coach. In 1950, Michigan defeated Ohio State 9 to 3 in the legendary Snow Bowl game and went on to defeat California by a 14 to 6 score in the 1951 Rose Bowl.
After compiling a 2–6–1 record (1–5–1 Big Ten) record in 1958, and finishing in eighth place in the Big Ten, Oosterbaan was fired and replaced by Bump Elliott. Three players from the Oosterbaan years have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Pete Elliott, Alvin Wistert, and Ron Kramer.Jim Maddock
James Andrew 'Mad Dog' Maddock (December 23, 1934 – July 20, 2011) was an American football player. He played at the quarterback position for the University of Michigan from 1954 to 1956. He appeared in all 127 games for the Wolverines during his sophomore, junior and senior years, and led the teams to final Associated Press rankings of No. 15 in 1954, No. 12 in 1955, and No. 19 in 1956.Mickey Walker (American football)
George Michael Walker (October 14, 1939 - July 19, 2014) is a former American football offensive lineman and linebacker in the National Football League. He played five seasons for the New York Giants (1961–1965) getting to the championship game and losing twice. Walker ended his career after getting injured in the pre-season for the Detroit Lions.
Walker attended East Detroit High School in Eastpointe, Michigan. While there he played football on a team that included Gary Ballman and Ron Kramer. He is famous for a play where an opposing team's player broke his nose and he returned into the game the next play and broke that player's leg. Walker is in the hall of fame at East Detroit High School for football. Walker played college football for Michigan State University where he is in the hall of fame for football.
After professional football, Walker went on to be a physical education teacher at Anchor Bay Elementary School and Anchor Bay Junior High School in New Baltimore, Michigan in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He also purchased the Little Country Club in Pearl Beach, Michigan and changed the name of the 9-hole golf course to Mickey Walker's Little Country Club.Ronald Kramer (business)
Ronald J. "Ron" Kramer (born 1958) is an American business executive. He is the Chairman and CEO of Griffon Corporation, a conglomerate holding company headquartered in New York, New York.Tom Maentz
Tom Maentz (born c. 1934) is a former American football player who played end for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1954-1956. Maentz played on offense and defense and also served as the punter for the Michigan football team. Maentz and Ron Kramer became known as Michigan's "touchdown twins" and were the first University of Michigan athletes to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Maentz was a second-team All-American in 1955 and captain of the 1956 football team. In 1994, he was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.
Ron Kramer—championships, awards, and honors