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September 28, 1998 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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128 - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 28, 1998

.College football great Doak Walker passes away at the age of 71*

DENVER (AP) - Doak Walker, the 1948
Heisman Trophy winner who starred on two NFL
championship teams and was paralyzed in a ski-
ing accident earlier this year, died yesterday at
71.
Walker died at Routt Hospital in Steamboat
Springs, the ski resort about 100 miles from
Denver where he had lived. The hospital said the
cause of death was complications from the paral-
ysis, which he had fought with the same deter-
mination he showed on the football field.
Walker was injured Jan. 30 when he hit a
change of terrain, was thrown into the air and
slammed to they ground. The injury made it diffi-
cult for him even to talk.
He had regained some of his ability to talk
through rehabilitation, during which he received
thousands of letters and faxes from well-wishers
and fans worldwide.
"His eyes would come alive, his expression
was wonderful, he was able to talk in short phras-
es," said Rod Hanna, a family spokesperson.
The accident that robbed him of the use of his
arms and legs was especially tragic for a Hall of
Fame football player known for his breathtaking
scoring runs.
Walker, born and raised in Dallas, ended his
football career in 1956 after a legendary four
years at SMU and six years with the Detroit

Lions. He is immortalized by the annual Doak
Walker Award, which honors the nation's top col-
lege running back.
"I don't think he had any peers. He was the
last of the great single wing tailbacks," said Jim
Sid Wright, who also played at SMU in the '40s
but not with Walker. "He was the best all-around
tailback that I ever saw."
Walker did everything, playing running back,
wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back in
college and the NFL. He also punted and
returned punts and kicks.
In his very first college game, Walker scored
a touchdown against Texas and he seemed to
come up with a spectacular play every time he
walked on the field.
The moment that best summed up Walker's
college career came against Texas Christian
in1947. With the Mustangs trailing 19-13 and
1:40 to play, Walker returned a kickoff 75 yards
to set up his touchdown reception that preserved
SMU's undefeated season.
That captured the hearts of SMU fans, who
began flocking to see the Mustangs and forced
the school to move its games from Ownby
Stadium to the 47,000-seat Cotton Bowl in 1948.
By his senior season, the Cotton Bowl, then
expanded to seat 75,000, was called "The House
That Walker Built."

He remains the only SMU player to win the
Heisman.
"You just had to see him to believe what he
could do," said Raleigh Blakely of Dallas, an
SMU tight end from 1946-48.
"No one ever questioned his leadership. He'd
kneel down and say, 'OK, we've got to do this,'
and everybody would just bust their butt for
him."
Walker carried his greatness into the NFL,
where he was an All-Pro four times and helped
Detroit win two NFL championships. He was
elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986
and also is a member of the College Football Hall
of Fame.
In his spare time in college, Walker was a
substitute on the SMU basketball team and
played outfield for the baseball team.
"Other than golf, I never really tried a sport
that, inside of 30 minutes, I couldn't play pretty
good," Walker once said.
Besides being an incredible athlete, Walker
touched people with his modesty.
In 1949, he tried to turn down an All-
American selection by famed sports writer
Grantland Rice because injuries prevented him
from playing the whole season.
And Walker was always willing to help out
friends with public appearances. He once auto-

graphed photos for 10 hours to help promote a
service station that Blakely had invested in.
After his playing days, Walker took a public
relations job with a construction company and
later married Skeeter Werner, a former Olympic
skier from Steamboat Springs. Steamboat's pri-
mary peak, Mount Werner, is named after
Skeeter's brother, Buddy, who died in an
avalanche in Switzerland in 1964.
Walker's career path had been plotted from
the day he was born on Jan. 1, 1927. When his
father, Ewell Walker, was asked if he wanted his
son to grow up to be president, he said, "No. He's
going to be an All-American football player."
And he was - three times. For his college
career, he averaged 4.2 yards per carry, 16.7
yards per catch and completed more than 50 per-
cent of his passes. Walker averaged 15 yards on
punt returns and 29.1 yards on kickoff returns.
After leaving SMU, many people doubted
whether he could make it in the NFL. At 5-foot-
11 and 173 pounds, he was considered too small
and too slow. He quickly proved the critics
wrong.
As a pro, he ran for 1,520 yards, averaging
4.9 yards per carry; caught 152 passes for 2,359
yards and 21 touchdowns; averaged 39.1 yards
on punts, 15.8 yards on punt returns and 25.5
yards on kickoff returns.

What he did best was score, tallying 534
points on 34 touchdowns, 183 extra points and
49 field goals. He retired with the third most
points in NFL history.
Walker's NFL career reunited him with boy-
hood friend Bobby Layne, the Lions quarterback.
The two played together at Highland Park
high school in Dallas and both planned to play
college ball together at Texas, before Walke
decided to play for hometown SMU. L.ayne onc(
called Walker "the greatest clutch player I have
ever seen.'
In the 1952 NFL title game against
Cleveland, Walker had a 67-yard touchdown run
to give the Lions a 14-0 lead in the third quarter.
Detroit won the game 17-7. In the 1953 champi-
onship game, also against Cleveland, Walker
scored a touchdown, kicked one field goal and
two extra points in the Lions' 17-16 victory.
Walker abruptly ended his career after the
1955 season to concentrate on his business inter
ests that could make him more money thana
NFL career.
"No, I don't have any regrets about quitting
football when I did," Walker once said. "I'm not
sorry because I've got all my teeth, both knees -
and most of my faculties."
He is survived by his wife, four children and
four grandchildren.

I U I

Sosa's city weathers Georges to root him on *

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SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS, Dominican
Republic (AP) - Christian Vallenilla picked up a
wooden stick, then smacked his third home run of
the day in the stadium where Sammy Sosa used to
play.
"This one's for Sammy," the 11-year-old boy
said. Hurricane Georges nearly destroyed the stadi-
um in Sosa's hometown of San Pedro de Macoris.
Light towers twisted to the ground and girders
stretched skyward where a roof used to be. In the
bleachers, soiled laundry dried.
Still, the town that watched Sosa grow up some-
how kept up as its favorite slugger tried for the
home-run record and a postseason berth.
No matter that Sosa, the Chicago Cubs' slugger,
failed to homer in the Cubs' 4-3 loss to Houston
Sunday, even as St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire
raised his home-run record to 70.
Sosa's hurricane-ravaged hometown of San
Pedro de Macoris celebrated his remarkable season,
one that has produced 66 home runs.
"We can't ask for any more, because he's done
a lot already. He's broken a lot of records," said
Arizmendi Nunez, a 22-year-old bartender. "I feel
proud because now our flag is raised high."
Hundreds in this baseball-crazed city scrambled
to find places to hear Sosa's final regular-season
game on radio.
It wasn't easy. The lone TV station broadcasting
in the Dominican Republic had a movie about a
hurricane on, and without batteries to power their
radios, most residents didn't catch the game. -
Men craned their necks into taxis stopped at
street corners for radio updates. Some crowded into
sports betting parlors around the city.
The only place in San Pedro where the game

was televised was a bar, where a group TV net-
works covering fan reaction set up a live satellite
feed.
Drinking plenty of Presidente beer, the crowd of
100 people jumped up and down and chanted,
"Sammy! Sammy!" every time Sosa batted.
Sosa still has at least one more game, a playoff
woith San Francisco tonight, to decide the National
League wild card. The Giants lost to Colorado 9-8
minutes after the Astros beat Chicago.
The children playing a pickup game in the sta-
dium outfield all lived in houses heavily damaged
by Georges. But they still found time to play, giving
Sosa's trademark two-fingered salute.
Sosa's seven-bedroom house had little damage
- a few broken windows and a toppled yard fence.
His kid brother Carlos, 21, said the Sosa family
was thinking about those less fortunate. The storm
killed more than 200 Dominicans and made thou-
sands homeless.
"I know what the poor masses are. I was one of
the poor masses and I know what it is to have a
house one day and the next not have anything,"
Carlos said.
Sammy, he added, felt the same way and
planned to help San Pedro get back on its feet.
Georges' eye passed over this city about 40
miles east of Santo Domingo, and most homes sus-
tained moderate to severe damage.
Eduardo Torreano, 32, said he used to shine
shoes and wash cars with Sosa when they were
kids. Torreano, who lost his home to Georges, still
does.
"We are his people. He hasn't forgotten us,"
Torreano said of Sosa. "Sammy will come back
soon, and he will help."

I

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AP PHOTO
Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa must try to concen-
trate on baseball, despite the fact that his hometown was
ravaged by Hurricane Georges.

i

OCTOBER 15.
FACEOFF HITS THE STANDS.

The UM School of Music
1998 HALLOWEEN CONCERTS
Sunday, October 25 at Hill Auditorium
4:30 PM & 8:00 PM
I Number your preferences (from 1 to 6) so if your first choice is unavailable, we can fill
your order with your next choice. If you do NOT indicate any other choices, your check
will Be returned to you if your first choice is not available. All ticket requests will be filled
in order of receipt. Limit 10 tickets per order.
2 Make your check payable to the University ofMichigan. One check or money order per
order, please. Sorry, no credit card orders.
3 Include a self-addressed STAMPED envelope so we can mail your tickets to you. If both
concerts are sold out, we will use the envelope to return your check to you.
4 Mail your order form, payment, and self-addressed stamped envelope to: Halloween

0

ai

Tickets, League Ticket Office, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1265. ONLY
mail orders will be accepted.
Please allow TWO WEEKS to process your order.

5

9

C In-person sales for any remaining tickets will begin on Monday, October 19 at 10 AM at
the League Ticket Office. Orders will not be accepted by phone.
7 All tickets are reserved seating. No one will be admitted without a ticket, including all
children, regardless of age!
1998 Halloween Concerts Mail Order Form
Mail Orders will be accepted September 28 through October 9!

i

Name

Phone

1 1Qiii\.

I aafjL

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(-)

Please send me ESPN The Magazine at the special student rate
of 26 issue for 13.- (Wow. that's only 50 cents an Issue!)

I -
E

LIMIT 10 TICKETS PER ORDER FORM!
PERFORMANCE LOCATION number in order of reference # TICKETS $ TOTAL
SUNDAY Main Floor o$7.00
MATINEE - 1in

f

...

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