Readers respond on Jack Mildren
Jack Mildren’s death dominated the emails the last several days, with many very good points.
Jeff wrote, “Very good stuff on Jack Mildren. Not sure he was the greatest, but he certainly was the most important. Also, as a grade schooler or a middle aged fan, was there anybody cooler than Diamond Jack Mildren? Tough, smart and on the cutting edge. If only he would have been asked to pass more on 11/25/71.”
Here’s what’s crazy about Mildren’s 1971 season. Jason White won the 2003 Heisman with crazy-good numbers; 40 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, on 451 passes. That’s a TD every 11 passes or so. Mildren had 10 TD throws and two interceptions — on 68 passes. That’s a TD every 6.8 passes. Amazing.
Jeff wrote, “In honor of our Oklahoma football legend and one of our favorite adopted citizens, the management of WKY 930 should, from now through the end of June, change the stage name from JOX 930 to JAX 930. I think it would be a fitting tribute and a popular decision.”
Interesting idea. But I’ve got to tell you, I thought the Sports Animal’s all-day tribute on Friday was way too maudlin. Jack Mildren’s life warrants Boomer Sooner or Stars & Stripes Forever, not something befitting CBS’ over-the-top Masters coverage.
Another Jeff read my blog ranking OU quarterbacks and has another cause. “Love the fact that you included Jack Mitchell! Wish (they) would induct him in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Still holds two NCAA records. Great QB. Recruited Barry Switzer to Arkansas and Gale Sayers to Kansas. Incidentally, how many OU players hold NCAA records? Jack Mitchell and maybe Antonio Perkins?
Bud Wllkinson’s first quarterback certainly deserves consideration, but I would say the biggest problem with the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame is too many OU football players inducted.
Gerald chimed in, “All I can say about Mildren was that he started me on the way to becoming a Sooner fan. For a kid from western Nebraska, I figure that is enough. I just regret that he is one Sooner great that I never got to meet.”
Amazing how much respect remains from Sooners and Cornhuskers of the 1970s era. I don’t see the same thing in any current OU series. Talking about it and living up to it are two different things.
Sam wrote, “I appreciated your comments about Jack Mildren — he was both young and old. I have an impressionistic fragment to share, in which Mildren figures as a typical viewer — of my artwork. About 12 ago I displayed some stippled ink drawings at an outdoor sale in Nichols Hills Plaza. Most artists, especially ink artists, tend to draw a single image with some peripheral decoration or a few internal accents. But I like to draw a scene, not an emblem. I also like to think that my scenes are self-explanatory, even though experience has taught me that many people are confounded by them and are offended when I don’t clarify the confusion by answering their questions, something I try not to do. Well, here comes Jack Mildren. I recognized him right away. Having been lieutenant governor had kept him and the aging process in the papers, but I could still see the youthful player underneath. He looked at the picture in the center of my display. His brow furrowed, his lip twitched, his eyes narrowed, his jaw clinched, he gave me a sharp look and walked away. There was something in the picture that wasn’t right. About five minutes later, here he comes again. He turned his head slightly to the right, then slightly to the right, then he gave a small smile and gently raised his head as if to acknowledge something — maybe he saw that Notre Dame cathedral and a three-room cottage belong together, after all. He looked at me and nodded and walked away again. To me, that provides the best example of people interested in my art. At first they are put off, but the intelligent or courageous ones come back and suddenly they get it. So, to me, it’s not my art that’s particularly revealing or profound, it’s their own diligence that sets them free from the restraints of conventionality. He was old, but willing to play young.”
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